What are your thoughts on issuing refunds after the campaign ends?
Hello everyone. I tried looking for a similar question but could not find one in the system. I would appreciate your opinions on this subject.
Backer X pledged on July 12, 2016 and our project was successfully funded on July 31. Our funds were disbursed in the early hours of August 15. A few hours after we received notification from Kickstarter that our funds had been sent to the bank, we received an e-mail from Backer X asking us to refund his $55 pledge. He stated that his son had pledged on his behalf and that he no longer that the money to help fund us.
My initial reaction was to simply cut ties with Backer X and offer a refund of the pledge minus the Kickstarter fees. In the end, one individual pledge isn't going to make or break the success of this project, and I don't need a disgruntled backer potentially posting negative content on social media over $55.
That being said, there is certainly a matter of principle here. Backer X had 9 days to cancel his pledge before being charged, and still could have reached out for a couple weeks after his card had been charged and we would have gladly refunded his pledge. However, now that the funding has been disbursed, refunding the money sets an extremely dangerous precedent and puts us in a bad position should other backers get cold feet.
Here are my thoughts based on what I have done in the past...
As far as I am aware you are not legally obliged to refund (certainly true for UK) a KS pledge in this way. But, if someone is claiming financial hardship, I would refund it anyway. What I have done in the past (in some cases) is explain that you lose about 10% in KS and transaction fees and deduct that from the refund. People have been OK with this.
The harsh reality is that if you completely refuse a refund, it could backfire on you quite badly. You might make an enemy, and that enemy can comment on your campaign and all its updates. It's really not worth the hassle, and it doesn't really set a precedent. Try to keep the discussion private and it won't become "infectious".
I'd go with your instinctive reaction. I've done exactly that before and it works out fine.