With any luck, this company, and the shady individuals behind it, will now be sued into oblivion.
Yesterday's county court ruling that Indiegogo's Ts&Cs weren’t wholly relevant to the question "does a crowdfunding-backed company form a contract of sale with its customers?" won't quite open the floodgates for people who feel they've been ripped off. The decision by District Judge Clarke in the Luton County Court, England, …
IndieGogo and KickStarter etc. are essentially just advertising platforms. Trying to go after them because a project fails is as ludicrous as going after your local paper because the second hand car you bought via the classifieds turns out to be nicked. If you really want a secondary target, pay by credit card and then invoke S. 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 to get a refund from VISA et. al.
I think you could argue that KickStarter is more than that because it requires a working prototype to be demonstrated, as a vetting service it extends. It therefore voluntarily assumes some sort of duty. Clearly a huge distance less than a shop, but not nothing.
In this case though, it sounds like the judge considered the contractual terms to flow from the advertisement that RCL sent to previous backers, and the wording of their response once money had been handed over. So, yeah, IndieGogo's relevant participation was just as the advertising platform — the details of this purchaser were known to RCL from a previous campaign and an ordinary contract of sale was established between the two. All the IndieGogo terms did is make it explicit that calling something a 'perk' doesn't obviate the intention to form an enforceable relationship.
"requires a working prototype to be demonstrated"
Right, and if I'm correct, the promise of a payout in the form of a product is usually "only if the project gets funded". I don't know if they have a mediation thingy set up for people who fail to get even THAT far, but like any investment, you COULD lose it ALL.
And that's the point.
Any shady deals are the responsibility of whomever it was that got the money. THEY are the ones who should be sued/prosecuted/etc.
But sometimes you don't get that chance because dum-dum LLC has no value, and so cannot pay out for any lawsuits [nor even defend against them properly].
I've considered kickstarter etc. before, so I looked into it seriously. It's no guarantee of funds. You have to convince thousands of people to give you a little bit of money. How easy is *THAT* ???
If IndieGogo does NOT require a prototype, then potential investors should consider that before handing over any cash.
[incidentally I _do_ have working prototypes for a few things, and not-quite-working prototypes for other things, but it's the "convince thousands of people" part I get stuck on...]
This was a case strictly between RCL and one of its "backers" (or customers as they are more normally known). It did involve Indigogo's Ts&Cs, but only in as much as a small part of them formed part of the contract between RCL and it's customers.
I mean that's maybe the underlying ethos of these platforms, and as has been covered on these boards several times, most on here see it as a gamble of sorts; don't back projects if you can't afford to lose the cash as it were.
The problem with this saga is it just dragged on and on with 'updates' and activity which only served to string people along, which served to get folk's backs up and encourage more tenacity than if they just simply tried and failed to produce it. Then there's the sideshows such as the ex-staffers claims, the faked online posts etc. It again just makes backers feel they have been mugged.
Finally the fact a judge disagrees with you kind of suggests there was merit in the claim, despite your viewpoint to the contrary, which also is incorrect in terms of the credit card payment (the bill is less than £100 for starters, not to mention Visa aren't the lenders but the payment processors).
Still wouldn't see me back anything with money i couldn't afford to risk losing!
And as crowdfunding goes ,those are words to live by.
I have bought into 4 campaigns similar to this. Two panned out and delivered a first round of product, and subsequently failed a month or two later, and two others never delivered anything. The value that I received from the two delivered items was exceptional. The problem was that they should have charged more and accepted fewer orders and they might have made it as a business. But they charged too little, were overcome with orders, and the projects that initially delivered subsequently failed.
"as ludicrous as going after your local paper because the second hand car you bought via the classifieds turns out to be nicked."
you mean if the local paper was one page long, and that lone page was the car ad, and the paper itself took a percentage cut of whatever money you handed over for the car? ...not that ludicrous tbh.
crowdfunding platforms should absolutely be responsible for regulating and monitoring every stage of the investment campaigns they facilitate, in order to nip scams like this one in the bud. otherwise they're really no better than the bad guys.
All this fuss over something that's- essentially- just a bloody *emulator* (#) running on some arbitrary generic low-powered hardware. That's it.
Some would argue that's what makes it pointless; it doesn't offer any more than almost anyone has been able to do themselves for years! Regardless, that means it is- or should be- a solved problem.
(#) i.e. not a hardware reimplementation of the original circuitry, unlike the proposed Spectrum Next, or that C64-in-a-joystick from around a decade back.
I don't know the details but think you are probably correct - there is no radical new tech here. So, if it is so simple to make, why didn't they just do it? Rather than take a load of money off willing punters, and then string them along, with no product (ever) in sight. Even if not intended at first offering, this debacle now has SCAM printed all over it.
Can't be doing things too quickly, producing computers is like the game of Chess with hidden depths and strategies too brilliant for the simple plebs to contemplate or comprehend.
It's not how long it takes to win, it's only the final winning that counts.
Mines a large Brandy please!!
Backed my first Indiegogo project last year and the buttons say you are claiming a perk for that amount now. So Indiegogo has already got around that issue and rubs it's hands clean of having to help it's site users again.
That might be why Indiegogo seem happy to let people use it's platform to fleece customers of their money.
After being five Months late and hardly any updates or communication, the campaign director of the project I backed has only sent a few of the backers the item, even though he now sells the same item on his website which you can buy and get straight away. Obviously he will get more selling them through his website than the original Indiegogo campaign so has decided to sell them there instead of giving them to the backers.
Try getting Indigegogo involved to get some communication or action taken and they just don't want to know. Would not touch Indiegogo with a barge pole in future.
Oh and their whole refund system, does not work. Plenty of people asking for refunds for the same project but because the project is overdue, Indiegogo say you have to get it back from the campaign manager. When the campaign manager refuses to answer any emails about anything, let alone delivery or refunds, Indiegogo do not care will not help in any way whatsoever. If you try and progress things they just don't reply either.
Sham of a company IMO. /Rant
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