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Helms Deep: 50% off sale


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Turbine put forth a TP sale - advertising the sale as "Get ready for ROI".

 

They also told players that ROI would be available for turbine points. The truth was actually that it would not be available as a bundle for TP  for several months, but you could buy it for $60 worth of TP in pieces. They withheld this information, and many players bought the $50 package of TP in order to buy the expansion - as they had been told they would be able to. Turbine left out that buying ROI with TP would be an incredibly bad deal, almost 2x as expensive as buying it for cash.

 

Honestly, it is nothing like you are saying Brrokk - that people just guessed and were unhappy that ROI cost more than they expected. Players were misled into buying TP in order to buy the expansion, and then were not able to without paying a ridiculously high amount of TP for the expansion.

 

Lastly, I personally would have been quite upset if I spent $50 on TP to buy the expansion, and then had to spend another $30 to buy it in cash (or waste so many TP on it, or just not play for a few months). Some of us just don't have that much extra cash - or don't like being tricked into paying more than necessary. Those players would have just waited and bought ROI for $30 instead. I get that you (from your posts) and many people don't mind paying extra money and it's not a big deal - but not everyone is financially that well off. Yes, many people are - and many people are not.

 

I feel like people are just making up versions of what happened (saying things like "it's all vague and confusing on the timing of what they said" which is of course not true). It is all exactly documented on the forum what happened. At a minimum, Turbine took advantage of players. They caused players to spend more money to buy the expansion than they needed to by 1) withholding information 2) being deceptive in advertising the TP sale as "for ROI".

 

And Turbine will simply explain it away as, "We meant 'get ready for RoI' as in 'get some TP to buy XP accelerators and LI boosts,' not 'get ready to buy RoI'".

 

Is that what many - or even any - players thought was meant by 'get ready for RoI'?  Is that what a reasonable person would have interpreted it as?  Probably not.  It was just deceptive marketing speak; sleazy, misleading, but not criminal.

 

Is it something that we should just roll over and accept, though?  No.  Scummy marketing tricks should be outed for what they are, and the ones responsible should be castigated.

 

It's stuff like that that caused me to add the following Bill Hicks quote to my official forum sig a few years ago:

 

"If you're in advertising or marketing - kill yourself."

 

He may have said that over 20 years ago, but I think it's still really good advice.

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And to be 100% clear, they are breaking the law by refusing to give a refund to anyone who asks for it when the buyer buys under a 30-day money back guarantee in the US

 

Oh my, as soon as I saw a wiki link I knew it was time to do at least minimal research somewhere somewhat reputable....

 

 

Returns and Refunds: Federal Law

Most retailers allow customers to return goods if they change their minds or receive an unwanted item as a gift simply because it makes good business sense. But they are not required to do unless there is an obvious defect with the product. Merchants also may require a receipt in order to accept returns, which helps prevent return fraud (see discussion of this below).

Legally, it is a matter of contract law: If the merchant's policy (or sales contract) clearly states "all sales final" in a way that is not confusing to customers, then it is not required to accept returns on otherwise salable goods.

Federal law governing refunds is fairly simple and straigtforward, applying to online as well as in-store sales. Merchants do not have to provide a full refund on returned goods unless one of the following conditions is true:

 

 

The blanket statement they broke the law because I asked for it so they have too, is false, on a federal level. It is not some US all encompassing law, it is, I believe, a law in some states, but not every state for sure.

...

 

It's stuff like that that caused me to add the following Bill Hicks quote to my official forum sig a few years ago:

 

"If you're in advertising or marketing - kill yourself."

 

He may have said that over 20 years ago, but I think it's still really good advice.

 

 Man I miss Bill Hicks, and that routine is one of my favorites.

 

"Oh, I see what he's doing, he's targeting the Angry Dollar. Big market, huge.

 

This isn't a joke, I mean it, kill yourself, now!"

 

Thanks for the smile

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It kind of seems like you think ultimately the blame is on the buyer. Too bad if they get tricked and are not careful enough - if I am reading you right. It doesn't matter what the company does.

 

To answer you:

There is clear evidence that Turbine illegally refused to give refunds when they sold a product with a 30-day money back guarantee. I don't know if the deceptive practices around ROI were illegal or not - and in what countries. You can still be unethical (aka crappy) without breaking the law though.

 

But of course it comes down to this: why would anyone spend many hours and possibly more money to try to take Turbine to court? Turbine can do what they want - and break the law - confident that they have all the power in the relationship. It is just shady, slightly illegal business practices.

 

And to be 100% clear, they are breaking the law by refusing to give a refund to anyone who asks for it when the buyer buys under a 30-day money back guarantee in the US. (linked in case you are not familiar with this term). They refused to give many players a refund (and apparently gave other players a refund). And they threatened some players who asked for a refund with a permanent ban from the game. The actual email where they did this should still be on this forum site.

 

Ultimately, I would rather deal with a company that values and treats it's customers much better than Turbine does. They should have just done the right thing and offered the refunds instead of making sure they did not lose that $30 or $40 dollars.

Let's also point out that by banning a player for asking for a refund, they actually invalidate all the previous sales at the same time which they "at least it seems to me" are obligated to uphold. Prevent a player from playing SoA when that product was paid for just for a refund for a later update is pretty dirty and should have been challenged in a court.

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How wrong can you be Spiteful?

 

If you advertise with this statement "30 day money back guarantee" THEN you are required to give a refund - if asked within 30 days, of course. I don't see what your quote has to do with anything. Did you actually read the Wiki article, and did you see the federal references in it?

 

Who ever said every business needs to give a refund if asked? Maybe you were just tired or didn't read what I wrote carefully?

 

You are in way over your head on this one, I think.  Here:

 

US LAW 

CFR §239.3    

Code of Federal Regulations

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2005-title16-vol1/pdf/CFR-2005-title16-vol1-sec239-2.pdf

 

(a) A seller or manufacturer should use the terms ‘‘Satisfaction Guar- antee,’’ ‘‘Money Back Guarantee,’’ ‘‘Free Trial Offer,’’ or similar represen- tations in advertising only if the seller or manufacturer, as the case may be, refunds the full purchase price of the advertised product at the purchaser’s request. 

 

And here from the US Federal Trade Commission:

"If your ad uses phrases like "satisfaction guaranteed" or "money-back guarantee," you must be willing to give full refunds for any reason. You also must tell the consumer the terms of the offer.

See Guides for the Advertising of Warranties and GuaranteesA Businessperson’s Guide to Federal Warranty Law, andConsumer Product Warranties."

This is from a webpage of the US federal government (FTC) that talks about online marketing:

http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus28-advertising-and-marketing-internet-rules-road

 

This is the law in the US:

If your ad uses phrases like "satisfaction guaranteed" or "money-back guarantee," you must be willing to give full refunds for any reason.

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How wrong can you be Spiteful?

 

If you advertise with this statement "30 day money back guarantee" THEN you are required to give a refund - within 30 days, of course. I don't see what your quote has to do with anything. Did you actually read the Wiki article, and did you see the federal references in it?

 

Who ever said every business needs to give a refund if asked? Maybe you were just tired or didn't read what I wrote carefully?

 

Turbine's ad had the phrase 30 day money back guarantee? Possibly I missed that somewhere?

 

EDIT: Going back I see where you said it was a statement at the PoS. I didn't buy the package so didn't have first hand knowledge of that. If the guarantee was at the PoS wasn't the seller Digital River at that time?

 

If so that would make DR responsible for the refunds not Turbine. In a way the reverse of  trying to get a manufacturers warranty covered by the seller. You have to seek the relief from the correct place.

 

Again, that doesn't mitigate Turbines hand in all of that mess. And indeed if it was a Digital River guarantee, Turbine not dealing with the customers seeking a refund, pointing them in the right direction, even on an individual basis, is just another screw up of theirs. 

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Yes they broke federal law - meaning it applies in every state in the US. In Mass. also. This is clear very evident illegal activity - but of course pretty minor. You just need someone who actually cares to pay attention to this. Like a US States Attorney or State agency.

 

Of course Turbine has been hoping it would all just go away and no one would question their bullying of customers. Maybe we need a class action suit.

 

 

@spiteful

 

When you purchased the expansion through Digital River (or some online system - but you could for a while clearly see the notice of guarantee), the words were right there. After a while - months later - they removed the words. When most players bought the expansion through the online store - they read these words of the guarantee.

 

Just Turbine did not honor it and refused to give the required refunds.

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Going back up to your edited other post and my edit, who offered the guarantee? Was it in Turbines Ad or was it at Digital River's PoS?

 

I can't go to Ford Mfg. and demand a refund on a guarantee that was initiated by Don Jones Ford of California. Well I could but Ford would be under no obligation to give me a refund.

 

Your using Ad and PoS interchangeably when two different companies are involved and so you're making it unclear who is really responsible.

 

As per your edit;

 

 "if the seller or manufacturer, as the case may be"

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I guess my question is, why are people angry at Turbine for not granting a refund that they neither advertised or were under any obligation to provide, yet have nothing to say about Digital River who did advertise a refund then didn't honor it? It's a rightful and understandable anger, it just seems very misplaced.

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I guess my question is, why are people angry at Turbine for not granting a refund that they neither advertised or were under any obligation to provide, yet have nothing to say about Digital River who did advertise a refund then didn't honor it? It's a rightful and understandable anger, it just seems very misplaced.

 

 

It is Turbine's product. It is Turbine's text with a guarantee that you can ask for your money back. It has not been established at all that Turbine was not responsible for the refund. It is a nice idea - if you want to make Turbine blameless - but it is just wishful thinking to say that Turbine was not responsible for selling ROI with the 30-day money back guarantee.

 

BTW, what is your motivation for trying to make it look like Turbine is blameless?

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Yea, communication is not a strong suit for Turbine, even from Dept's who's main function is communicating.

 

"Turbine can't say anything because people will always accuse it later of lying," is a very weak position.

It's not. It is getting right to the core of the issue.

By now Turbine ruined it's reputation (when it comes to statements they make) to the point where they have lost complete control over the reader's perception. That is nobody's fault but their own.

In the specific case of DigitalRiver offering a refund that couldn't or wouldn't be honored, it is up to Turbine, who is DR's contract partner, to force them to not commit fraud on the customer, even if DR thinks it's fine. What Turbine did instead of help DR cover it up, or more specifically Sapience did. And you seriously saying that Turbine had no part in this mess?

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It is Turbine's product. It is Turbine's text with a guarantee that you can ask for your money back. It has not been established at all that Turbine was not responsible for the refund. It is a nice idea - if you want to make Turbine blameless - but it is just wishful thinking to say that Turbine was not responsible for selling ROI with the 30-day money back guarantee.

 

BTW, what is your motivation for trying to make it look like Turbine is blameless?

 

 

Jesus Christ, really? I'm still waiting for you to clarify if the guarantee was on Turbine's Ad or Digital River's PoS site. You said:

 

 

 

How about when they refused to give refunds after stating at the point of sale that there is a "30 day money back guarantee".

 

That makes it a Digital River issue.

 

Then you said:

 

 

 

There is clear evidence that Turbine illegally refused to give refunds when they sold a product with a 30-day money back guarantee.

 

What clear evidence? Here is what is clear, if the guarantee was at DR's PoS then DR is guilty, if the guarantee was on Turbine's ad, then Turbine is guilty? 

 

Then you say:

 

 

 

When you purchased the expansion through Digital River (or some online system - but you could for a while clearly see the notice of guarantee), the words were right there.

 

Then say:

 

 

 

 

It is Turbine's text with a guarantee that you can ask for your money back.

 

 You say the guarantee is at Digital River's end then say it's at Turbine's end. So yea, taking what you're saying at face value, it's very unclear who's responsible.

 

I'm willing to be mad at someone, but I want to know I'm mad at the right entity,

 

And really making them look blameless? 

 

 

 

Again, that doesn't mitigate Turbines hand in all of that mess. And indeed if it was a Digital River guarantee, Turbine not dealing with the customers seeking a refund, pointing them in the right direction, even on an individual basis, is just another screw up of theirs. 

 

 

Or do you mean if I don't just accept and join in with blindly accusing them of everything without question that means I don't question and criticize them? And wishful thinking has nothing to do with it, I just don't play mob mentality for either team.

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It's not. It is getting right to the core of the issue.

By now Turbine ruined it's reputation (when it comes to statements they make) to the point where they have lost complete control over the reader's perception. That is nobody's fault but their own.

In the specific case of DigitalRiver offering a refund that couldn't or wouldn't be honored, it is up to Turbine, who is DR's contract partner, to force them to not commit fraud on the customer, even if DR thinks it's fine. What Turbine did instead of help DR cover it up, or more specifically Sapience did. And you seriously saying that Turbine had no part in this mess?

 

Are you saying that the defense of Turbine not communicating clearly with the phrase "Turbine can't say anything because people will always accuse it later of lying," is not a weak position for those that use it? That's cool, I think is, I don't see Turbine as saying "We better not say this or someone will say we're lying." I find it a cheap excuse by people who want to defend Turbine blindly.

 

 

Oh course Turbine is to blame. They created the situation and rarely take the steps to fix the current crisis or avoid similar things in the future. Mob mentalities on both sides, defending and attacking just serve to make it worse.

 

Now Turbine applying pressure to DR for honoring the guarantee, there's something I can agree with, assuming it wasn't Turbine's guarantee. I don't know if they did or didn't apply such pressure, but chances are they didn't. In theory all losses from refunds should have been DR's if the scenario is correct so there was little reason not to push DR to honoring the guarantee, and it would have went a long way with the player base. Another example in the list of poor handling of the situation by Turbine. I don't know how much recourse they really would have had but an attempt would have looked good for them.

 

Please point out where I said they had no hand in this... Please.

 

or at least explain how you take this

 

 

 

Again, that doesn't mitigate Turbines hand in all of that mess. And indeed if it was a Digital River guarantee, Turbine not dealing with the customers seeking a refund, pointing them in the right direction, even on an individual basis, is just another screw up of theirs. 

 

and come up with I said Turbine had no part in the mess. Is it just that I didn't blame them outright for something they may not have done, so other things I said they had a hand in don't count, did I not jump up and down high enough, or hold my breath until my face was red enough?

 

To answer your question.

 

No, what I seriously said, was I'd like to be sure that it was Turbine who offered a guarantee and then refused to provide a refund, and even if they didn't do that and it was all Digital Rivers doing then Turbine still played a part in the mess. That's what I seriously said.

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I saw that triple bonus.  First time I've seen that, though I remember back when I bought TP during Isengard for Christmas presents for my family that played that double points bonuses seemed....bigger?  Did they scale down the initial bonus so triple looks bigger?  Anyone remember what the sales used to be?

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First time they've done a triple bonus point sale, right? If so:

1. Turbine start selling Lifetime accounts again.

2. Turbine have a massive Store sale.

3. Turbine sell TP packages with massive sales.

4. Turbine start trying to sell updates to VIPs.

5. Turbine announce and then release a buggy, half-finished, end-gameless 'expansion' for a huge amount.

6. Turbine give some announcement that they're doing better than ever (actually lying or deceptive).

7. Turbine add loads of items from in-game to the Store at once.

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I saw that triple bonus.  First time I've seen that, though I remember back when I bought TP during Isengard for Christmas presents for my family that played that double points bonuses seemed....bigger?  Did they scale down the initial bonus so triple looks bigger?  Anyone remember what the sales used to be?

 

CSTM used to post about the TP sales and analyze the bundle that was the best value.  Those posts might still be around.

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First time they've done a triple bonus point sale, right? If so:

1. Turbine start selling Lifetime accounts again.

2. Turbine have a massive Store sale.

3. Turbine sell TP packages with massive sales.

4. Turbine start trying to sell updates to VIPs.

5. Turbine announce and then release a buggy, half-finished, end-gameless 'expansion' for a huge amount.

6. Turbine give some announcement that they're doing better than ever (actually lying or deceptive).

7. Turbine add loads of items from in-game to the Store at once.

I love tracking this list. I would put on there, or add to #1, major changes in the subscription options (beyond lifetime access re-offered).

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As I recall, this was part of the reason that ended up sending Hajile to Coventry!

 

Indeed it was! When I went to their website to ask them a few things regarding the enforcement of their refunds policy and false advertising, it was to Coventry with me. I was never impolite, but was very persistent. It seems that Turbine do not like it when you ask uncomfortable questions and try to keep their customers informed of their rights.

 

I can't vouch for the letter of US law, but I did my homework and Turbine refusing refunds was in violation of at least two UK laws and one EU regulation, all of which put their actions firmly in the realms of the criminal. Their false advertising of free features as part of a paid product also put them in for fraud, too. There is a summary of the points I raised in my letter of complaint on this forum somewhere if anyone wants to look into it.

 

Digital RIver, Paypal, Consumer Direct and the Office of Fair Trading all agreed with me. The only ones that didn't agree were Turbine themselves, presumably because they have never bothered to look into whether what they do is illegal or not in their second-largest territory. Which is either staggering incompetence or breathtaking arrogance.

 

Thinking about it, now they are in the middle of a legal battle, perhaps I should forward my letter to the Estate. It might make for additional ammunition for them.

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Indeed it was! When I went to their website to ask them a few things regarding the enforcement of their refunds policy and false advertising, it was to Coventry with me. I was never impolite, but was very persistent. It seems that Turbine do not like it when you ask uncomfortable questions and try to keep their customers informed of their rights.

 

I can't vouch for the letter of US law, but I did my homework and Turbine refusing refunds was in violation of at least two UK laws and one EU regulation, all of which put their actions firmly in the realms of the criminal. Their false advertising of free features as part of a paid product also put them in for fraud, too. There is a summary of the points I raised in my letter of complaint on this forum somewhere if anyone wants to look into it.

 

Digital RIver, Paypal, Consumer Direct and the Office of Fair Trading all agreed with me. The only ones that didn't agree were Turbine themselves, presumably because they have never bothered to look into whether what they do is illegal or not in their second-largest territory. Which is either staggering incompetence or breathtaking arrogance.

 

Thinking about it, now they are in the middle of a legal battle, perhaps I should forward my letter to the Estate. It might make for additional ammunition for them.

 

Well. The Estate aren't exactly saints either.

The whole sending Cease and Desist demands to the makers of Storm over Gondolin doesn't sit well with me.

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Well. The Estate aren't exactly saints either.

The whole sending Cease and Desist demands to the makers of Storm over Gondolin doesn't sit well with me.

 

Different circumstances. And considering the legal wranglings concerning LOTR and The Hobbit, I can hardly blame the Estate for being overprotective of the rights that they still hold.

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Ultimately, it doesn't matter if it was DR or Turbine's site that made a guarantee.  It is Turbine's product.  DR only cares about Turbine as its customer.  Turbine has to care about all of the players.  If DR screwed up, it's incumbent upon Turbine to do whatever is necessary to satisfy customers.  It might not be 'illegal' if they don't, but it is to their detriment.  The services of Digital River was a part of the product they put forward to us.  Not standing behind your product and doing right by the customer is just a bad move.

 

The threat to permanently ban someone's account for asking for a refund within 30 days is a bad step, but at the same time Turbine does need to protect themselves in some way.  A bit more open communication would help.  Something like 'If you ask for a refund of a purchased expansion, there is a cost involved.  We assume, with regret, that you will no longer be playing the game and will thus close your account indefinitely until you notify us you wish to start playing again.  At that time, we'll ask that you make the purchase of this expansion again to re-open your account.'  I'm not a businessperson so I don't know how viable something like that is but if they put it into the user agreement ahead of time and communicate the reality of the situation to the customer, it's better than an out of the blue 'You'll be banned forever if you go through with this.'


Different circumstances. And considering the legal wranglings concerning LOTR and The Hobbit, I can hardly blame the Estate for being overprotective of the rights that they still hold.

You must have heard about the Tolkien Estate asking for a share of the profits from WB for the LOTR movies and being told by WB lawyers that the movie made no profit?

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