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Cool cooler kickstarter investors are left feeling hot

KUTV invest coolest cooler 070517.JPG
Cool cooler kickstarter investors are left feeling hot (Photo: KUTV)

MIDVALE, Utah (KUTV) Greg Despain was among the thousands of people who were enticed by an offer they found on Kickstarter.com back in 2014. An inventor was trying to raise money to build and sell something called The Coolest Cooler.

"It is like nothing I've ever seen,” he said. “For only $200, you can get on the list to get them first so I jumped on there and got one right away."

The Coolest Cooler comes with a blender, Bluetooth speakers, a bottle opener, and USB charger. Then Despain waited for his cooler to arrive. And waited. And waited.

Three years later, Despain is still waiting.

Worse, he says communications from owners of The Coolest Cooler have become grimmer.

"Basically we've run out of money, so a lot of our backers aren't going to get coolers," Despain said. “I want my cooler! It is so awesome!"

The Coolest Cooler made a lot of money through Kickstarter. It is the second-most popular campaign in the website's history, having raised more than $13 million, according to Kickstarter.

Emails from Get Gephardt to The Coolest Cooler were not responded to.

Complaints against the company are numerous.

The Oregon Department of Justice has heard 533 complaints and opened an investigation into the company's dealings. The Coolest Cooler recently reached an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with Oregon’s DOJ. The document shows that of the 60,439 backers, only about 2/3rds have received their product.

The agreement outlines that for the 21,021 backers who did not file a complaint with the DOJ. Coolest Cooler must immediately take 10% of all retail sales and put them into a "backer fund" so folks like Despain can get their promised coolers.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the company has three more years to make him and others whole. If people don't buy the coolers, he may never get anything.

"If they don't get retail money, I'll never get my cooler," he said.

Kickstarter's website claims they do not guarantee projects or investigate the creator's ability to complete the project. It's up to the backers to ultimately decide whether or not to invest.