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Mumsnet verdict needed: is this morally wrong?

(123 Posts)
00100001 Wed 23-Sep-20 19:24:49

A friend of mine has done this, is it it morals wrong? Some details slightly changed.

He has run a kickstarter to raise money for a board game he has designed. You can back at different levels etc. He has raised £2,500.
He is now going to only produce the amount of copies needed to send to backers, and Is keeping the rest to pay off his personal credit card debt

For those of you who are unaware, most backers fund these project s it is implied at the news essential money is used to make additionally copies to sell, rpay for advertising or other costs, or perhaps towards the next project.

I feel it is wrong, akin to the PTA fundraising for playground equipment, raising £2500, spending £1000, and the head of the PTA us ingredients the leftover £1500 to pay off their credit card.

What is the verdict?

OP’s posts: |
CheshireCats Wed 23-Sep-20 19:29:09

Sounds like fraud to me

Sexnotgender Wed 23-Sep-20 19:30:23

That’s dodgy as fuck.

Perro Wed 23-Sep-20 19:30:34

Fraud, he needs to be reported if he goes through with this plan.

OwlBasket Wed 23-Sep-20 19:33:35

Yy morally wrong.

It’s also actual fraud.

NameChange9824 Wed 23-Sep-20 19:35:51

I thought it worked a bit like an online shop. You pay the price that the creator sets, and some of that is their profit/wage, much like if you were buying a board game in a shop you'd expect to also be paying money that goes towards the shop's electricity, or to pay the shop keeper's wages that he uses to pay his credit card bill off.

Kickstarter isn't there to just cover the direct cost of production. It's there for creators to make money out of their creative work.

Straven123 Wed 23-Sep-20 19:38:06

It must be a very simple game if he can produce several copies and get a lot of change from 2,500.

CoffeeRunner Wed 23-Sep-20 19:38:20

It definitely sounds morally wrong. How much profit will he be making?

00100001 Wed 23-Sep-20 19:38:32

NameChange9824

I thought it worked a bit like an online shop. You pay the price that the creator sets, and some of that is their profit/wage, much like if you were buying a board game in a shop you'd expect to also be paying money that goes towards the shop's electricity, or to pay the shop keeper's wages that he uses to pay his credit card bill off.

Kickstarter isn't there to just cover the direct cost of production. It's there for creators to make money out of their creative work.

They can do that, there’s nothing stopping them technically. But, I doubt if he’d put on the page, “all profits of KS project will go directly to me” that he would have got his project funded.

OP’s posts: |
NoIDontWatchLoveIsland Wed 23-Sep-20 19:38:56

Yes in my opinion this is not right. Kickstarter etc should have accountability. Not to mention - is this a tax dodge too?

I would report to kickstarter.

00100001 Wed 23-Sep-20 19:39:28

Straven123

It must be a very simple game if he can produce several copies and get a lot of change from 2,500.

It is a card game. So not high costs.

OP’s posts: |
limpingparrot Wed 23-Sep-20 19:40:21

He deserves to be paid for his work designing the game. So he should take some of the profit and pay himself. What he chooses to spend is up to him as long as it is declared and taxed appropriately.

Havaiana Wed 23-Sep-20 19:44:52

Yep, it's wrong binary. Money corrupts many.

ThePlantsitter Wed 23-Sep-20 19:45:23

Well effectively it is paying towards the next project isn't it, because if he can't pay his debt off he won't have any to invest in whatever he does next. Or to put it another way, it's paid his expenses while he's been making the game.

I absolutely don't see the problem with this. Crowdfunder isn't an investment thing is it?

ThePlantsitter Wed 23-Sep-20 19:46:01

Kickstarter I mean

00100001 Wed 23-Sep-20 19:46:11

ThePlantsitter

Well effectively it is paying towards the next project isn't it, because if he can't pay his debt off he won't have any to invest in whatever he does next. Or to put it another way, it's paid his expenses while he's been making the game.

I absolutely don't see the problem with this. Crowdfunder isn't an investment thing is it?

His CC debt is nothing to with the game, it pre dates the game.

OP’s posts: |
00100001 Wed 23-Sep-20 19:47:40

ThePlantsitter

Kickstarter I mean

So would you have problem with the PTA example then?

If they said we’re raising money for playground equipment, and never said how much they were planning on spending? And then just kept the profit for themselves?

OP’s posts: |
SebastianTheCrab Wed 23-Sep-20 19:49:25

It's not wrong at all. That's how most manufacturers make profit.

It's up to him if he doesn't want to invest it in his business.

But I will say LOL to being able to create enough games for £1k. I know someone on Kickstarter who raised 100 times that much for a board game and still couldn't fulfill.

peakotter Wed 23-Sep-20 19:51:54

Depends. Sounds legal and possibly morally ok to me, as long as it’s because it hasn’t worked out as well as he hoped, rather than being the plan all along. The money he keeps may be classed as his wages. The backers get what they were promised and no more.

Not all products on Kickstarter even get made - things can change and the Kickstarter small print is clear for any investors. If he wasn’t going to fulfil their rewards and instead just pay his designer (aka himself) then that would be worse but still possible under the terms.

It says “We do ask that if a creator is absolutely unable to complete the project and fulfill rewards, they must make every reasonable effort to find another way of bringing the project to a satisfying conclusion for their backers.”

If he’s always planned this then it’s not morally ok though.

FatBottomedGurl Wed 23-Sep-20 19:52:41

ThePlantsitter

Well effectively it is paying towards the next project isn't it, because if he can't pay his debt off he won't have any to invest in whatever he does next. Or to put it another way, it's paid his expenses while he's been making the game.

I absolutely don't see the problem with this. Crowdfunder isn't an investment thing is it?

Agree 100%. Its a kickstarter, not a business investment. The people who contributed were not anticipating any interest back on their donation

He got donations, made the game and distributed to people who donated. Perhaps word of mouth will be enough to get it off the ground. Perhaps not. But that's his business decision to make.

Him opting to pay himself a sum of money (for creative input, design, manufacturing and distribution) is not fraud.

I'm not saying its good business acumen but it certainly isn't fraud, or morally wrong.

BooFuckingHoo2 Wed 23-Sep-20 19:52:43

Playing devil’s advocate, he’s entitled to be paid for his time, what he does with the money is up to him. Or are you suggesting he should work for nothing until it’s reached an acceptable level? Who sets the level?

It’s a completely different scenario to the PTA situation you’ve described.

lyralalala Wed 23-Sep-20 19:56:13

The PTA isn't a remotely good comparison. People donating to the PTA donate either for specific things or to the PTA funds in general. The chair of the PTA paying off their private credit card would be theft.

People donating to Kickstarters know they are donating to a person. That person might not even complete the project - that's one of the risks you take. It's also known they may use money to effectively pay themselves a wage or profit.

RB68 Wed 23-Sep-20 19:57:07

PTA is different as that is charitable (usually) and about raising funds for the school.

Kickstarter is backing someone to bring a product to market. Its him as a business or a self employed person that they are backing, they back in return for x copies of the game - effectively its up front sales, so to then produce the game and send out and keep the difference is legal, as he is self employed he can use that money to pay what he likes including personal debt whether acrrued as part of development of the product or not. if he has no other income and or keeps it below the taxable levels he is also legal - just fills in a tax return etc. It may be diffrent if he already has a salary that uses up the tax allowance - there is a 1K allowance for a side gig after that its taxed etc.

However he is taking the money out of the product at early stage - so he could be forfitting a bigger gain down the line, so if he took the money and used it for marketing the game to game manufacturers for christmas (prob next yr now) he could make a lot more....

Morally - no its fine - he is not claiming its for charity etc - he is the business owner, he has retained ownership and he hasn't promised anything regarding how he is taking the business forward so no issues. If he had set himself up as a chairty (say like a PTA would) its a different story

NastyBlouse Wed 23-Sep-20 19:59:24

I think your PTA example draws a false equivalency. A PTA isn’t a business or an individual operating as a business, whereas your friend is. He’s entitled to cover his costs and provided the backers/investors get what they paid for, any implied contracts are satisfied I’d say.

Also, there’s no way he’s going to have much change if he’s getting stuff — presumably cardboard and/or plastic engineering of some kind — manufactured. I know someone who did this, producing the physical game cost thousands. Design and print isn’t cheap.

CrazyToast Wed 23-Sep-20 19:59:43

I'd be furious if I donated to a specific project and was actually funding someone's credit card!

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