Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson today filed the first consumer protection lawsuit against Altius Management company for failing to deliver the promised rewards of its successfully-Kickstarted Asylum Playing Cards.
The Asylum Playing Cards campaign raised $25,146 from 810 backers, including at least 31 from Washington state in 2012. The campaign involved a project to print and market a deck of cards and other items featuring artwork created by a Serbian artist.
Project backers were promised the playing cards and other rewards with an estimated delivery date of December 2012. To date, the project has not been completed and none of the backers have received any of the promised items or any refunds. Additionally, the company has not communicated with its backers since July 2013.
In the lawsuit, the Attorney General is seeking restitution for consumers, the state's costs and attorneys' fees and as much as $2,000 per violation of the Consumer Protection Act in civil penalties.
"This lawsuit sends a clear message to people seeking the public's money: Washington state will not tolerate crowdfunding theft," affirmed Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson . "The Attorney General's Office will hold those accountable who don't play by the rules."
It is generally accepted that crowdfunding involves a certain amount of risk as projects might get delayed, under-deliver or fail to deliver at all. For better or worse, this lawsuit might end up changing the rules for everybody.