Looking back, one of the most controversial startup stories of 2017 is the one by pet startup Poopy Cat. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier on the 18th of April, 2016, which initially turned out to be a success. The project was backed by 787 pledgers, raising a total amount of €49.397. However, when it came down to actually shipping the product to the backers, the project hit a wall. The overseas shipping costs allegedly turned out to be 2.5 times more than anticipated, making overseas shipment impossible. Now, with a new owner, backers are aiming to take legal action. “I feel like I was duped.”
Rondi Costello is one of those unlucky pledgers that feels like she has been duped by Poopy Cat. Costello is the owner of three cats, Kassy, Willow and Jaspurr, and two rabbits, Mango and Finn. She decided to support Poopy Cat’s campaign, as she wanted to provide variety to the environment of her pets. Subsequently, Costello pledged €99,- for three landmarks at the “Triple deal” level, resulting in a total cost of €119,- including shipping to her home in Toronto. The estimated date of delivery was July 2016. Costello patiently awaited and followed Poopy Cat’s updates. To this date, she still has not received her reward promise.
Costello isn’t the only one though. A lot of other pledgers still haven’t received their landmarks or any form of a refund. At the moment, some of them have even started investigating possibilities to take legal action. One of these backers is Rozzie Sanders. “Poopy Cat’s last update was sent on July 18th, 2017, saying they had miscalculated how much it would cost to ship and they couldn’t offer any refunds. The only options we had were to wait for them to find another solution or pay an additional shipping charge.”
This additional payment could range between 65 and 150 dollars, depending on the number of landmarks that were pledged for.
All things aside, the cardboard landmark itself is a nice product. Based on famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower or the White House, the cardboard landmark offers animals a safe space to play, chill and sleep. The product seems to be an especially good choice for cat owners, as cats generally love cardboard hideouts. Also other pets like rabbits, hamsters, and even small dogs should be able to appreciate the privacy that these landmarks offer.
Pets Place and Ijsvogel Groep
Complicating matters further, Poopy Pets, the startup that owns the Poopy Cat brand, has recently been acquired by IJsvogel Groep. This company is the market leader in the Dutch pet trade and holds two retail chains, Pets Place and Boerenbond. These chains consist of approximately 200 different stores across the Netherlands. Furthermore, it was stated by IJsvogel Groep that Pets Place would be the main retailer of Poopy Cat’s products. Of course, this came to the attention of the Kickstarter campaign backers as well. They reached out to Pets Place, leading to them saying that it is not their obligation to fulfill Poopy Cat’s Kickstarter campaign reward promises.
Frustrated and disappointed
Costello was among those pledgers who contacted Pets Place. The retail chain send her an e-mail:
“Pets Place only uses assets from Poopy Pets and is not responsible for these deliveries. It’s best to go to the Kickstarter platform and they will have a look at this.”
This, in turn, infuriated Costello. “I am frustrated and very disappointed with how all of this turned out. I feel like I was duped and that Poopy Cat engaged in fraud to raise funds, delivering to only local backers and ultimately selling their company.”
Time will have to tell
Since Poopy Cat did not deliver the rewards or give refunds to the pledgers, according to Kickstarter’s terms and conditions, they are now allowed to take legal action. Sanders has now contacted three different lawyers and is gathering evidence against Poopy Cat and Pets Place to resolve the problem, although she is still not quite sure about what is going on. Sanders: “Some people think it was a scam. I’m skeptical right now. I just want everyone else who has lost money to this to have some form of justice.”
Editor’s note: we have reached out to the original founder of Poopy Cat for comment, according to his Facebook he is abroad without access to a phone.
IJsvogel Groep declined further comment, stressing they merely took over the brand name “Poopy Cat and not the company behind it.
“This means we didn’t take over the BV (limited) and all of its obligations.”
Whether these unlucky pledgers will get justice is not sure for now. Unfortunately, it seems like Kassy, Willow, Jaspurr, Mango and Finn will have to wait a little while longer and make do with a standard cardboard box.