Failed Kickstarter campaigns

What happens if Kickstarter project doesn’t deliver?

We are all familiar with how Kickstarter works – the crowd funds the projects/campaigns. However, since there are rewards to be sent, what happens if a Kickstarter project fails to deliver? Does that mean that everyone who funded the project will get a refund?

Since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter has seen nearly 30,000 successfully funded projects, by more than 2 million people. These projects include tech gadgets, cool and innovative product design, boardgames, apparel and so much more. The number of creative and successful projects that have been funded on this platform is simply enormous, and many wouldn’t even exist without it.

However, not every project goes smoothly or perfectly. There are delays, of course, especially if the projects are more complicated. Even creators can sometimes get in over their heads while dealing with the whole process that is new to them.

In order to cover themselves, Kickstarter has published the details about Kickstarter’s and the creator’s accountability on their platform. The accountability page says that they do screen all the projects before they are funded and that creators are obliged to keep backers in the loop on what is going on with their projects and to mention all the bumps, delays or anything that could potential result in a failed project.

On the other hand, even though Kickstarter issues no refunds nor is accountable for the failed projects, there are still ways to find out what happens if a Kickstarter project fails to deliver.

So let’s say a certain campaign had a goal of $100,000 and it didn’t reach it in time. You have backed the campaign, and if it clearly didn’t reach the goal, as a backer you get your money back – you won’t be charged. Basically, if the goal for a certain project isn’t met, the customer won’t have to pay for it because Kickstarter doesn’t charge for failed projects.

On the other hand, if it happens that a project reaches its desired funding goal, and you don’t receive the item, but you paid, then things are a bit more complex. As we said, Kickstarter won’t refund your money, because once the project has reached its goal, Kickstarter has nothing else to do with it and assumes no responsibility. It was just there for collecting funds. Then, it is all down to the campaign owner and you have to take it up with them.

Some of them might even offer to refund your money themselves via PayPal or you can come to an agreement for a date of the item delivery. If however none of this happens, you can complain – for example, leave a message in the comment section of the campaign, contact the company or the owner directly or even start a legal action if it’s about a larger amount of money and many people got affected.

This is exactly why Kickstarter asks the creators to keep the backers in the loop to potentially avoid failures and legal actions.

Basically, you can never know for certain if a project is going to be 100% successful. If you’ve backed someone who is updating their backers on every step of the way, chances are that it’s going to be successful and you can have some confidence that they will make good on their word. But, if they fail to collect enough money, your credit card won’t be charged. Lastly, it all comes down to the owners themselves and how ready they are to respect the backers, give them refunds if necessary or get them the promised reward.