BOSTON (CBS) – “My favorite feature, besides the blender, is the Bluetooth speaker,” said Jay Colbert while describing his souped-up cooler that does a lot more than just keep the drinks cold.
But the North Reading customer had to wait a long time to get his hands on the Coolest Cooler, a Kickstarter product.
“I felt like I was being patient. It was a very big product,” he told WBZ-TV.
The Coolest Cooler is one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever. More than 60,000 backers contributed $13 million to help make the cooler a reality.
Colbert was among the first backers two years ago. Many paid $200 and were told that contribution would get them a cooler once production began.
“I don’t think he was really up front with us,” Colbert said of the cooler’s creator Ryan Grepper. “It was more and more excuses.”
Two years later, thousands of Kickstarter backers still don’t have the cooler. But it’s been for sale on Amazon for months.
“He basically took our money to build something for us and then he goes and tries to sell it retail at Amazon to make money,” Colbert said.
Coolest Cooler offered a new promise with a price tag this past spring. For another $100, Jay and other backers were guaranteed delivery by the 4th of July. Jay paid it.
“It totally felt like ransom,” he said.
“It’s always buyer beware,” said Andrew Dix, CEO and Founder of CrowdfundInsider.com. Dix told WBZ people should be cautious about which campaigns to back. “Delivering a product like that, at scale, manufacturing in China, is a very difficult thing to do.”
Kickstarter also has a warning for potential investors. They remind everyone their platform “is not a store.” They also said “the creator of Coolest Cooler has been keeping backers in the loop” about unforeseen production delays.
Colbert may finally have the cooler but he’s now cool to the idea of backing another crowdfunding project.
“At this point in time I think I’m all set with Kickstarter,” he said.
Nearly 300 formal complaints have been filed against Coolest Cooler in Oregon where the company is based. And Oregon’s Department of Justice told WBZ they are investigating. Our repeated attempts to contact Coolest Cooler went unanswered.