I’ve backed several crowdsourcing campaigns over the last few years with mixed results. I’ve invested in successful campaigns, failed campaigns, one where the creator unfortunately passed away and then there’s the non-delivery think-I’ve-been-scammed ones.
Of the latter category, in January 2013 I backed the “GCW Zero” (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gcw/gcw-zero-open-source-gaming-handheld) for about $150 AUD. This was successfully funded for $238,000 USD of about a $130,000 USD goal.
My biggest concern however, was in May 2016 I backed the “13.3 Inch E-Reader” (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/13-3-android-e-reader) for $1,066 AUD. This was also successfully funded, at $369,00 USD of a goal around $110,000 USD.
I thought the E-Reader was a safe-ish bet as the product already existed and the campaigner already had a working unit and needed a certain number ordered in order to get a viable production run.
To date, I have received neither of these items. In both cases the campaigners post updates promising that they will be “shipping soon” before ceasing updates altogether. It’s not like they ship nothing, many backers do receive their products (my guess would be around 50% for both campaigns) but that also leaves a lot of people out of pocket.
Dozens of comments on the funding pages get ignored and eventually the campaigner seems to disappear completely.
Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo make it clear that only the campaign owner is responsible for fulfilment of pledges and that they are unable to provide any sort of guarantee or refund.
To add insult to injury, both of these items have become available to buy through third parties online while the original backers who helped make these items a reality end up empty handed.
At this stage, I don’t really want either item. After waiting this long the tech has moved on and there are better options available. I would, however, really like to be refunded at least some of the money.
I’m not sure if there is any recourse for those of us without the products we paid for. The campaigns were located in the USA and Canada and I have no idea how to chase up these people. Is there anything that can be done to recover these funds, or is it viable to look into joining with the other unfulfilled backers in some sort of international class-action to recover some of the funds?