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Oregon authorities are investigating Kickstarter darling Coolest
As you can imagine, this isn't sitting well with the backers who didn't have the rolling party cooler in hand for the summer months this year -- or last year for that matter. The Oregonian reports that the Oregon Justice Department is investigating the Portland-based company following 315 complaints over the course of the last year. Those complaints claim that not only did the company fail to deliver the promised rewards, but that it also didn't fulfill requests for refunds. Kickstarter guidelines at the time required a project to deliver the stated rewards or refund the pledges. Unfortunately, there isn't a mandatory timeline for either those things to happen.
Coolest set that Kickstarter record in August 2014 and promised backers that it would deliver coolers in February 2015. In August of this year, creator Ryan Grepper explained the product was going on sale at "a national chain" in addition to other retailers. "The faster we can place more Coolest Coolers in more retail stores the faster we can generate the revenue to ship even more Rewards to more Backers," Grepper said in a Kickstarter update for the project's supporters.
Pledging money for a Kickstarter project is always a risk, but this is a unique case since the product is actually for sale elsewhere even though some people who committed funds still haven't received theirs. It would be much different had the cooler not been made. Coolest has said that retail sales allow it to finance those backer orders, perhaps as a way of making up the difference from misjudging the production costs. Kickstarter backers were offered a $185 price tag while the cooler is now selling for more than double on the company's website now.
After The Oregonian report last week, the company posted an update for backers to Kickstarter. Unlike previous posts, this weekend's information is for backer's only and can't be viewed without logging in. We've reached out for a comment on the matter and we'll update this post when and if we hear back from Coolest.