If A Project Funded By Online Backers Never Takes Off, Should Everyone Get A Refund?

As is the case with many emerging Internet trends, we’re all learning as we go with online funding sites like Kickstarter. Kickstarter allows small business owners with big dreams, artists without the cash to create and other entrepreneurs to raise money by pitching to the Internet community. But what happens if the project never becomes realized — should backers get a refund or chalk it up to an unfortunate outcome?

CNN notes that Kickstarter has mostly excused itself from being responsible when projects go awry. In response to an NPR piece this week, Kickstarter stated on its blog that it’s all up to those donating the money in the first place and those responsible for the projects.

“Kickstarter does not investigate a creator’s ability to complete their project,” a team of Kickstarter’s top officers said in the post. “Backers ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it.”

While Kickstarter does make sure projects meet all its various guidelines before they’re published on the site, it’s up to donors to decide whether or not to ultimately fork over cash. Some backers are fine with delays or projects that never become realized, but others might demand refunds instead of simply throwing away their money.

Kickstarter seems to be more in the camp of those patient backers who see themselves as helping someone out.

“The number of creative projects that have been funded and produced on Kickstarter in the past three years is enormous. Many could not exist otherwise,” reads the blog post. “But of course not every project goes perfectly. Delays do occur, especially with more complicated projects. Some creators get in over their heads dealing with processes that are new to them. Most backers support projects because they want to see something happen and they’d like to be a part of it. Creators who are honest and transparent will usually find backers to be understanding.”

Okay, folks — what’s it going to be?

Kickstarter to users: Backer beware [CNN]
When A Kickstarter Campaign Fails, Does Anyone Get The Money Back? [NPR]