One of the most disappointing truths about supporting Kickstarter campaigns is that, inevitably, some aren’t going to turn out well. Things can go awry for any number of reasons. Maybe the money is mismanaged or doesn’t stretch as far as a project’s creators thought it would. Or maybe the people running the project aren’t experienced enough and make unfortunate mistakes. Whatever reason Kickstaters might fail, one thing that most have been able to agree on is that the site itself hasn’t outlined its policy on failures as well as it should.
It’s a problem that the company now hopes to solve with recent updates to its terms of service aimed at providing a simpler, clearer picture of what backers should expect and what creators need to deliver. Key to this new clarity will be an expanded description of “How Projects Work.” According to the text of the new terms, creators whose Kickstarters succeed are obligated to “complete the project and fulfill each [backer] reward. They also state that “backers must understand that when they back a project, they’re helping to create something new – not ordering something that already exists.” In turn, they should be prepared to accept potential “changes or delays,” as well as the chance that “something could happen that prevents the creators from being able to finish the project as promised.”
That said, the new terms also affirmed that creators have an obligation to do everything they can to complete their project, provide evidence as to where the funds went and, if necessary, communicate to backers why they failed to deliver the end product. Backers who didn’t receive their promised rewards will, in turn, be eligible for a refund drawn from whatever funds remain from the Kickstarter proportional to their contribution. The terms would continue by affirming that “the creator is solely responsible for fulfilling the promises made in their project,” and that backers may only pursue legal action if the creator is “unable to satisfy” these terms.