Please find some FAQs and our response here.
As for the case of Triggertrap Ada the answer is quite easy: yes, they are. But before we answer this question in detail, please keep in mind that Kickstartes changed their Terms of Service and removed most of the parts that state very clearly that project creators are responsible to deliver rewards.
When Triggertrap Ada was funded, Kickstarter still had their “old” ToS in affect, so those are the only ones that apply for Triggertrap. Those Kickstarter Oct. 2012 ToS contain:
Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.
To make this even clearer, Kickstarter published a blog post about liability. The most important part there is:
Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their project?
So even Kickstarter claims that creators are legally required to fulfill all rewards.
Triggertrap responded to this with in their FAQ: Doesn’t the Kickstarter Terms of Service say you must give a full refund? (PDF, 16.03.2015)
No, definitely not. Triggertrap lets the backers shoulder all the costs of their failure. That’s not the idea behind a Kickstarter campaign and simply not fair. I think we could all accept the failure if we would see that Triggertrap takes their fair amount and does everything to fulfil their promises. Sadly, they made it very clear, that they don’t want to support their backers (supporters) as it could harm their business and would down hundreds of thousands of other customers. So they decided to let us down.
Triggertrap took a reasonable amount of kickstarter money to pay their own wages and development costs. We paid for their Ada related expenses, so with the 80% of kickstarer money, they basically had a risk free R&D – and they did a terrible job, judging by the outcome.
In the end, only the backers had to pay. Triggertrap did not account a single cent from their own money for their failure. Backers offered payback plans, but Triggertrap made it very clear, that they’re not planning to pay back any more than the leftover money.
The 50% store credit offer is especially offensive, as they basically offer backers to pay again for things many of them already paid for. E.g. the mobile dongle is part of many backer levels and is one of the few articles available in the shop.
They try their best to let backers think that they’re right. They even state that they were advised by Kickstarter (but refuse to give proof for this. Kickstarter also won’t comment on this issue).
But no, the ToS of Kickstarter and a blog post from Kickstarter makes it very clear, that Triggertrap has to deliver or offer a refund (no word about partial refunds or remaining funds – see other FAQ on this).
Basically, their argument is, that as it only says “refund” it does not mean “full refund”. It’s not hard to see, that this is quite an impressive interpretation. It should be clear, that a case that impacts one party so significantly, would have to be stated clearly in the contract. One rule of contract interpretation is, that if a part is unclear, it will be interpreted in a way more positive for the party that did NOT setup the contract. In this case Triggertrap/Kickstarter made the ToS, so the interpretation that “refund” could also mean only remaining funds, is only positive for them. Contradicting this very basic rule of interpretation.
One reason for this interpretation could be, that the new ToS of Kickstarter are way better for project creators. They are way more clear and Triggertraps ways could be valid under those new ToS. We think that they simply did not realise that these new ToS won’t apply to them until backers told them, that they linked and cited (in their FAQs and comments) the wrong ToS. They then had to base their actions on the new ToS (as they did not plan to change their mind) and came up with this – to put it nicely – “open” interpretation.
Triggertrap for now only offers a 20% refund (or 50% shop credit you can use to buy things you already have paid for). We collected some of the options other backers reported that helped them:
- European consumer centre network: For EU (and not UK) citizens only, but this is the easiest way to get legal help. The european consumer centre is available in all EU countries. You can find the centre in your country here: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/solving_consumer_disputes/non-judicial_redress/ecc-net/index_en.htm
The best way to approach this is to simply state that Triggertrap declines to deliver and also won’t refund the money, although the ToS (which are part of your contract with Triggertrap) require them to do so. You can cite the relevant sections from the other FAQ here. Triggertrap’s legal/contact information can be found here. Please also state that you’re not the only one that wrote them – they will forward your request to the UK centre which already is aware of the case (the european consumer centre is quite interested in it – great!).
If you’re a EU citizen, you should take the 10 minutes and file a case with them! It’s free and the more backers get in contact with them, the better our chances!
- Credit card chargeback: Get in contact with your bank or credit card company and request a charge back of the transaction. Yes, it’s over a year old, but the fact that they won’t deliver just recently came up (but keep in mind that you have to act fast!). Triggertrap moved the shipping date multiple times, the final shipping date was May 2015, so this is the only date relevant. Multiple backers reported that they successfully got their money back! So give it a try!
- Report fraud online: The UK police offers a way to report a fraud case online. If you think that this applies here, you can do so here: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk
- UK small claims court: You can make court claims for small amounts online here: https://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money/overview. It will cost 25 GBP and we don’t have any feedback yet it this is a doable way. Keep in mind that Triggertrap most likely will decline the request and to further proceed you have to go to court – which will cost more court fees.
- Contact a lawyer: Triggertrap is located in the UK and if you’re not a UK citizen, things will get complicated. But to get proper legal advise (which we can’t provide here), you should see a lawyer.
Please contact us if you have any other ideas (describe them in some short sentences) or if you have any experiences to share!