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Kickstarter Project Creators Beware!

Moderator: VaporStarter

by Bryanography » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:48 pm

Hi all,

This is directed towards Project Creators/Managers. While this may seem like an attempt to bad-mouth a person, we have no intentions of doing so and are only trying to help you out and prevent any problems down the road.

A particular backer by the name of Encik Farhan pledged high amounts to projects only to have the payment declined. In worse cases, the payments were even disputed months after the funds have been used, making project creators refund money that has already been used for their projects!

Many of the project creators have come together and we've learned a lot from each other, and we seem to have the the same or similar problems. As this is a group problem, I've created this forum for those affected to discuss/share their experiences and to keep others in the loop.

If you have been affected, or even if you haven't been yet, please post below. Anything would help. I suggest we all get together and contact Amazon and/or Kickstarter and demand for them to reveal the true identity of this individual(who has apparently gone with different names/locations).

If this problem persists, I may even go to the extreme and suggest taking matters to the Interpol, since this has become an International crime.

Thank you, and I wish you all the best with your projects.

Note to Forum Mod: I kindly ask that you do not delete this post or please redirect it to the proper place as it has become a big problem and needs to be resolved right away. I think this information can also help future project creators who may run into this individual down the road.
Last edited by Bryanography on Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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by zak » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:09 pm

So basically if we get "backing" from this person beware the cash will not follow somehow?
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by Bryanography » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:28 pm

zak wrote:So basically if we get "backing" from this person beware the cash will not follow somehow?


Well, how it went so far with the others is that he either pledges a high amount(to the excitement of the project creator, of course) and the payment never goes through at the end of the campaign when Amazon Payments starts to take money from the backers. Even worse, sometimes the payment DOES go through and the creators use the funds for their projects and this individual then demands the money back! How can you refund something you already spent? This is our problem.
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by dsimpson » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:40 pm

This is a big problem. The same individual backed over 150 projects. We have been in communication with a number of project owners, all of whom have been duped out of money by this scammer. This scam has been going on for months; one project backer lost over $5000, and my team lost $1200. Here's the sticking point: Amazon / Kickstarter is penalizing the project founders for the problem, but it's not the fault of the project founders. If a scam routine goes on for months and affects over 150 people for an estimated $100K or more, then we have something bigger than simple credit card fraud going on, and I propose that the funding provider has some intrinsic responsibility to address the problem. Why should the project founders have to pay money back that they've already spent in good faith on the rewards their backers asked for? The project founders had NO WAY OF KNOWING, since all responsibility for the card transactions is handled by Amazon.

Remember, we're getting hit nearly double the amount of the scam. Consider: the scammer pledges $1000 to my campaign. I use that money to build the items he pledged for. Then I ship those items. Later, Amazon wants the money back, so if it cost me $750 to make/ship the items, then I am actually losing $1750.

My recommendation is that before we talk to KS/Amazon, we all get organized. We need a consolidated list of every project founder that has been affected by this scammer, when they were affected, how much they lost, etc. As individuals, we don't stand a chance. As a group, there is a story here that can hardly be overlooked.
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by Lester Smith » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:56 pm

I did contact Kickstarter immediately with a question about this user. They're already investigating the situation. My first message from them was "here's how to cancel the pledge; Amazon will refund its fees, but we do not." Their second message (after I wrote them about this sort of abuse being a potentially huge embarrassment for Kickstarter) was a personal assurance that they're investigating it thoroughly.
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by spiritdesigns » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:25 pm

We got an email back from Amazon that seemed pretty generic at the onset, but once I copied all the responses from everybody and told them we would consider legal action as a "group", the response went to a more personal level that they were looking into it right away.

On another note, I do have one question for the group. If his credit card was charged, you pulled the $$$ out of your amazon account and used it, why are you forced to "pay it back"? What leverage does Amazon have over us to get that money back from us and refund this scammers credit card?
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by d12 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:54 pm

I want to thank you guys for starting this thread. This is great and we should share as much info as possible so Amazon/Kickstarter will fix the situation including getting our payments and have Encik Farhan investigated by the cops.

He contributed $1000 to my campaign at the last minute. At first his credit card was denied but he updated his info and the transaction cleared.

A week or two later the total funds were released to my account. I then transferred the funds to my personal bank account.

Then on Monday, I had a chargeback dispute for $1020. I already sent him the rewards before this incident happened to an address in Malaysia.

What I find troubling is that Amazon Payment is suppose to take care of all these fraudulent activities before the funds is released to us.

As Kickstarter creators, we did everything on our end to fulfill our end of the deal and that includes providing legit bank accounts and verifying our addresses and identities. Amazon should fix this issue and give us back all of the funds that Encik Farhan pledged to us because they already "verified" his account before giving us the funds in the first place.

As for the question regarding the negative balance on your account:
If there's a negative balance on your account and you don't pay it, they'll send your info to a collection agency and there's a chance your credit will be ruined if you don't follow it up - based on Paypal incidents on google.

Let's stick together and see how Kickstarter/Amazon deals with this and I suggest no one pay back the disputed amount. I'm sure Kickstarter/Amazon will solve this. I'm ready to let the press know about this issue if Amazon isn't pro active.
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by cordvision » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:03 am

He also pledged to our project ($1000). At the very least, we should insist that kickstarter also re-funds their fees. It's not fair that the project funder has to foot the bill. I'm surprised that that this has been going on for so long and nothing happened. If there's not going to be a resolution soon, we should see if we can get some media attention (this might speed things up).
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by Bryanography » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:27 pm

So apparently his profile page has been deleted, and you can no longer access it. Anybody still having problems?
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by d12 » Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:12 am

I got the message too stating that Kickstarter is aware of the issue and they're solving it as fast as possible.

They also told me to forward all of the Amazon Payment dispute payments to them.

This problem will continue until all of the creators gets their funds back.
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