Canadians feel ripped off by firm aided via Kickstarter

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CBC News | July 17, 2013

153 people paid for Windowfarms product they never received

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Shannon Fraser of Urchin Art Supply in St. John's paid $300 to Windowfarms but says she has yet to receive anything for her money. (Vik Adhopia/CBC)

Crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter have become a popular way for artists and entrepreneurs to raise money, but some Canadians who backed an American company through Kickstarter say they've been ripped off.

New York-based Kickstarter succeeded in launching a unique hydroponic growing system called Windowfarms that became one of its most popular projects.

More than 1,500 people across the globe pre-ordered Windowfarms units, giving the U.S. company more than $250,000 in start-up money.

The units started shipping within the United States last fall, but people outside the country are still waiting. Shannon Fraser, who runs Urchin Art Supply in St. John's, says she paid $300 to Windowfarms, but has yet to see anything for it.

Fraser says the company stopped responding to her inquiries in January.

"One of the comments from one of the Canadians online is it's really hard to make Canadians angry, and you've made Canadians angry,” Fraser told CBC News.

“While we're a small group, it speaks to what the ethics of the larger project are. And that's too bad, and that's why there's so much disappointment."

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