The State of Washington has become the first state to file a consumer protection suite involving crowd funding. In October 2012, Nashville, TN based Altius Management raised more than $25,000 on Kickstarter for Alysium – a card based game designed by a Serbian artist. The expected delivery date for the game was December 2012. That date came and went, and no one received their cards. Backers took to the product’s Kickstarter page to voice their displeasure at having not received the goods they were promised. Atlius Management’s President Ed Nash is nowhere to be found. The company’s website is blank, though Ed’s Facebook and Instagram accounts are apparently still active.
As of this month, the Attorney General’s office has filed a suite against Ed Nash and Atlius Management, seeking restitution to the tune of $2,000 per violation of the Consumer Protection Act, and money to defray the states cost in legal fees. At the time of this writing Kickstarter has not commented about the issue, though there is very plain language that every Kickstarter creator sees when creating a campaign that outlines their responsibilities to their customers. Unfortunately this is the sort of thing that puts a bad face on things like Kickstarter or Indiegogo by confirming the fears some have as to the safety of giving money to a person or company before a product is available. It will be interesting to see what, if any, effect this suite has on Kickstarter and similar sites going forward.