Greeley Company settles refund policy dispute with State AG – Loveland Reporter-Herald
Colorado’s attorney general brokered a settlement with a Greeley company that developed a crowd-funded antiviral face mask that it says “cleans the air while you breathe,” then reneged on its refund policy.
Measure Inc., registered with the Colorado Secretary of State at 1130 Seventh Ave. in Greeley, and affiliated with an entity called UM Systems, will, as part of the settlement, offer refunds to Coloradans who have supported crowdfunding campaigns and requested refunds as part of the company. “100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.”
Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a press release that the company funded both Kickstarter and Indiegogo under the UM Systems name. Both campaigns ended with Kickstarter reporting that 14,404 backers contributed $3.02 million as of August 29, 2021, and Indiegogo claiming its campaign raised $4.19 million from 19,662 backers.
The company developed what it called a UVMask, which, while not FDA-cleared for medical use, was intended for non-medical, consumer use.
The company described the mask on LinkedIn as “the world’s first antiviral face mask with patented Sterile-Vortex active UC-C sterilization that cleans the air as you breathe.” He said UM Systems is “a Colorado-based optical science and biotechnology startup” and listed Broomfield as its headquarters.
The company’s website only lists the first names of its officers, but the Secretary of State’s initial filing listed Xiaojuan Li as a registered agent, later replaced as a registered agent by Panfeng Xiang in 2020, which was later replaced by a business depository entity. LinkedIn listed Kirill Rostovsky as a co-founder. He is identified as Kir on the company’s website.
The company billed the crowdfunding campaigns as among the most funded campaigns in crowdfunding history, according to the attorney general’s statement. On LinkedIn, the company said the campaigns “ranked in the top 100 out of 363,300 campaigns in Kickstarter history.”
While originally offering 100% money back, “Measure later limited its Money Back and Satisfaction Guarantee, but pledged to honor the previous policy for people who supported the company before the policy changed. When those same backers tried to return their masks, however, Measure changed the terms of the warranty and refused to provide full refunds — instead, it only offered consumers who returned the credit of the mask store,” Weiser said.
“Colorado consumers made vulnerable by fear in the midst of a global pandemic bought an experimental mask product, thinking it would protect them, in some cases investing hundreds of dollars,” Weiser said. “This company neglected to honor its promises to consumers who wanted their money back. This settlement will ensure that the company keeps its promise and that customers who are not satisfied with the product will get their money back. »
In the settlement, Measure agreed to email 425 Colorado backers so they could submit a claim form to request reimbursement. Claimants will not be required to return the product. Refunds will be made via Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
As of this writing, the UM Systems Support Portal on the company’s website was “not currently accessible.”
Weiser said the company will also pay a $100,000 fine to the state and an additional $50,000 if it fails to follow the refund process.
Larry Coleman, the company’s chief operating officer, responded to BizWest’s request for comment with an email stating that Kickstarter has clear refund policies – essentially saying that investors are at risk and that refunds are not guaranteed.
“However, since our marketing partner unfortunately provided language on the page regarding the satisfaction guarantee, we have agreed to a settlement to help protect the interests of our backers. Please note that this settlement was not not an admission of wrongdoing, but an agreement in good faith,” Coleman wrote.
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