UNIVERSAL FAN CON - Not A Field of Dreams, Just A Big Mess

A few hours ago, an official announcement was put forth by the organizer(s) of Universal Fan Con stating that their Con, which was slated to commence in Baltimore, MD next weekend, had been "postponed." The announcement can be read here.

This notice comes very late after the fact that news had already begun to spread earlier in the day that the Con had been cancelled, yet no official notice had been put out by the organizer(s). The situation surrounding this cancellation will likely get ugly due to money being involved - a lot of money, in fact. At best, what is involved is naivete about organizing a Con, and at worst, a lack of good faith coupled with financial mismanagement.

Despite claims that the Con is "postponed," it is very likely cancelled. By using the term "postponed" it provides the organizer(s) with some potential cover to avoid providing refunds. Originally the product of a Kickstarter, contributors to the Con are unfortunately not able not look to Kickstarter for help in securing a return on their investments. Don't believe me? Well, Kickstarter is careful not to be on the hook itself when a project that secures funding is not actually implemented. Under Section 4 of their "Terms of Service" they are careful to state that:

Kickstarter is not a part of this contract — the contract is a direct legal agreement between creators and their backers.

If a creator is unable to complete their project and fulfill rewards, they’ve failed to live up to the basic obligations of this agreement. To right this, they must make every reasonable effort to find another way of bringing the project to the best possible conclusion for backers.

A creator in this position has only remedied the situation and met their obligations to backers if:

  • they post an update that explains what work has been done, how funds were used, and what prevents them from finishing the project as planned;

  • they work diligently and in good faith to bring the project to the best possible conclusion in a timeframe that’s communicated to backers;

  • they’re able to demonstrate that they’ve used funds appropriately and made every reasonable effort to complete the project as promised;

  • they’ve been honest, and have made no material misrepresentations in their communication to backers; and

  • they offer to return any remaining funds to backers who have not received their reward (in proportion to the amounts pledged), or else explain how those funds will be used to complete the project in some alternate form.

The creator is solely responsible for fulfilling the promises made in their project. If they’re unable to satisfy the terms of this agreement, they may be subject to legal action by backers.

Organizer(s) are claiming that all funds from the Kickstarter have been spent. Stating that: