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Helms Deep: 50% off sale


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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.'

That's a ridiculous compromise. 'Sure, you can have a refund but we'll ban you for doing so'. If a customer wants a refund, and their country has the sense to put laws in place to protect them, they should get it without threats of being banned. There is absolutely no need for Turbine to ban an account simply for asking for a refund. There is no 'covering' involved. They get the refund and they can keep playing.

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Banning the account after a refund is completely within their TOS. The only arbitration offered under the TOS is then through JAMZ.

 

But refusing the refund is another matter entirely. I don't know if DR or Turbine is liable from what was posted. But I note that Turbine fostered yet more criticism for what can't have amounted to much monetarially, instead of making lemonade and quietly assisting the refunders.

 

The best positive publicity is when you have taken the high road from the outset without trumpeting your own position. When the dust finally settles people nominate you for king and stuff like that ;) 

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That's a ridiculous compromise. 'Sure, you can have a refund but we'll ban you for doing so'. If a customer wants a refund, and their country has the sense to put laws in place to protect them, they should get it without threats of being banned. There is absolutely no need for Turbine to ban an account simply for asking for a refund. There is no 'covering' involved. They get the refund and they can keep playing.

How do other games handle it?  The MMO/Expansion industry is hard to compare to other purchases you make from stores or businesses with a 30 day policy.  Do Blizzard, Trion, Bioware, Cryptic and others have a similar policy?

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That's a ridiculous compromise. 'Sure, you can have a refund but we'll ban you for doing so'. If a customer wants a refund, and their country has the sense to put laws in place to protect them, they should get it without threats of being banned. There is absolutely no need for Turbine to ban an account simply for asking for a refund. There is no 'covering' involved. They get the refund and they can keep playing.

 

Exactly. An expansion purchase through DR is just a flag on your account, and flags can both be added and removed. So if I purchased an expansion, and it was listed as having a "30 day money-back guarantee", then within that timeframe I should be able to get my money back, for any reason. Maybe I didn't like the color of the leaves in a forest in the new section of the game, I don't care, for any reason means exactly that. At the same time, though, the company running the game has the right, and really the responsibility to remove the expansion flag from my account if I demand a refund. This includes rolling back any characters that received goods or advancement that I could only have earned through ownership of said expansion.

 

The issue here isn't whether the customer has the right to get a refund on an add-on product like an expansion, which is advertised as having such a refund policy in place, but why Turbine failed to live up to this expectation they themselves (with their partner DR) placed upon themselves. The expansion could just have easily said "ALL PURCHASES ARE FINAL, NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN", but that wasn't the case with RoI, SoM, or MoM for that matter. Each of them listed a money-back guarantee, as I recall, and when Turbine got called on that, they threatened to ban player accounts if they exercised their consumer rights. Turbine could have edited their accounts by hand to remove the expansion flag, or created a new flag which suppressed usage of the already-applied purchase flag until such time as another purchase was made, but instead they just chose to be bullies about it.

How do other games handle it?  The MMO/Expansion industry is hard to compare to other purchases you make from stores or businesses with a 30 day policy.  Do Blizzard, Trion, Bioware, Cryptic and others have a similar policy?

 

To my knowledge, other MMO companies don't offer money-back guarantees on their expansions. Turbine should have told DR they would not have a money-back guarantee, and DR should have not listed that as an option for a player during purchase.

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To my knowledge, other MMO companies don't offer money-back guarantees on their expansions.

 

Other MMO companies don't mis-sell their expansions, either. They have the good sense to be up front about what the customer is paying for so they don't fall foul of any potential refund-enabling laws or regulations.

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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?

 

If the accountants at movie studios are to be believed, not a single movie in the history of Hollywood has made a profit.

 

The movie studios do some pretty slick/fancy/probably illegal accounting, and when someone brings a lawsuit alleging that he's owed money (usually due to some sort of "percentage of the profit" deal), the studio claims, "but we didn't make a profit!".  When a judge says, "Okay, then let me and opposing counsel see your books so that you prove your lack of profit," the studio suddenly decides to stop fighting the suit and negotiates a settlement.

 

If a movie studio is ever careless enough to allow outsiders to look at their books, I imagine that we'll see accounting tricks that would put the slimeballs on Wall Street and in some of the major corporations to shame.

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Not idea about foreign laws and and just marginally familiar with US law for stuff like this.

 

The reason there's a difference at least in the US is that there are manufacturers guarantees/warranties and there are seller guarantees/warranties.

 

As an illustration:

 

For example take a Kirby Vacuum that I purchase at Sears. Kirby offers a 5 yr. warranty on parts and labor, and Sears has a 30 day return policy. So I get the vacuum home, use it and the drive belt breaks. Since I'm with in the 30 Days, I can return it to Sears, who may or may not take it back depending on any restrictions but likely will even though they may not have too. They will deal with Kirby usually because it will generate customer good will. Or I could contact Kirby and follow their procedure and get the belt fixed, which I might choose to do because it's a discontinued item at Sears or it will take less time dealing with Kirby or whatever.

 

Lets say I instead get it home and find I don't like this vacuum for some reason, the color, doesn't handle easily, there's a different model on sale, anything. It's still with in the 30 Days, Sears will take it back, but I can talk to Kirby all I want, I can threaten lawsuits, whatever, they are not going to take it back. They are under no obligation to do so and simply aren't going to honor a sellers guarantee no matter what.

 

If it's after 30 days but within the 5 yrs and I take it to Sears, they aren't going to fix it, nor if I decided I don't like it are they going to honor Kirbys guarantee. Now they might have a deal with Kirby to go ahead and honor the parts and labor and bill Kirby. Some sellers and manufactures do have such agreements and some don't. But just because Kirby covers it in no way makes Sears liable.

 

Each party has it's own guarantees and are only liable for their specific guarantees. In example 2 above, let's say Sears just refused to honor their guarantee, and of course Kirby won't because the guarantee isn't theirs. Should I be angry, yes without a doubt, AT SEARS. Being angry at Kirby is just stupid because they haven't broken any contract with me or refused to honor anything I'm entitled to.

 

Now to take it a bit farther, if I contact Kirby about this it's an almost certainty that they'll let me know who to contact about getting my refund, why, because they want me to stay happy with their product. If I explain to them the difficulties I'm having they may even get more involved or give me a higher level contact with Sears so I can escalate my issue. In some cases they might even offer to exchange models for me. They are under no obligation to do any of this, but they want a happy customer with their product. I might never buy from Sears again, but I'll probably become a Kirby buyer for life.

 

That's why I wonder who's guarantee it was, why it matters. And if it was DR, that still does not excuse Turbine for not helping customers receive what they were entitled to or excuse them from using scare tactics against customers. If it was Turbines guarantee then that's where the anger belongs. Partners or not each is allowed to offer it's own guarantees and is not bound by offered guarantees of the other.

 

So yea Turbine did a piss poor job of helping customers, there's little doubt there, they down right sucked at customer relations and deserve to be called on it. It's a point of anger on my part even though it didn't effect me that kind of service could at some point effect me. The entire banning thing is beyond the pale, someone should have lost a job over that, or at the very least a sever reprimand with reinstatement and compensation as well as an apology.

 

As far as I can tell, either DR or Turbine likely broke some law, not a lawyer but it seems likely. The problem is, no one who was involved seems to be able to clearly say "it was this entity's guarantee". So even though I'd like to know, so I know which one to watch future dealings with, I personally am not going to place the blame at eithers feet unless I know who is at fault. But I will snicker at those who blame one or the other yet can't seem to say who's truly at fault for not providing a refund they offered.

 

I know, that means I'm holding Turbine blameless and totally and blindly supporting them, to some people, so be it. :)

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Did they ever refuse to refund anyone's money? Only then did they violate the sales agreement. If they did so and closed accounts, then they were within the letter of the sales agreement considering the ToS allows this.

 

This isn't a defense of their actions, just a comment on their ethics. Hell, I would have not only cheerfully refunded people's money but given them a coupon code for something simple should they change their mind and later want to try it again. Or just sent them a free gift for trying it if they complete a simple 2 minute survey on why they didn't find it worthwhile. Maybe offer them the opportunity to convert their purchase into an extended VIP experience.

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As far as I can tell, either DR or Turbine likely broke some law, not a lawyer but it seems likely. The problem is, no one who was involved seems to be able to clearly say "it was this entity's guarantee". So even though I'd like to know, so I know which one to watch future dealings with, I personally am not going to place the blame at eithers feet unless I know who is at fault. But I will snicker at those who blame one or the other yet can't seem to say who's truly at fault for not providing a refund they offered.

 

DR entered the equation due to an agreement with Turbine.  I believe you and others have said Turbine should have applied pressure on DR or made right by the customer regardless.  They didn't.  In the case of LOTRO, the buck stops at Turbine's desk.  Legally?  Dunno.  As far as customer confidence and loyalty?  Absolutely.

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Did they ever refuse to refund anyone's money? Only then did they violate the sales agreement. If they did so and closed accounts, then they were within the letter of the sales agreement considering the ToS allows this.

 

This isn't a defense of their actions, just a comment on their ethics. Hell, I would have not only cheerfully refunded people's money but given them a coupon code for something simple should they change their mind and later want to try it again. Or just sent them a free gift for trying it if they complete a simple 2 minute survey on why they didn't find it worthwhile. Maybe offer them the opportunity to convert their purchase into an extended VIP experience.

 

One problem with that: A ToS does not override consumer protection laws.

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You can't sell something with a 30-day money back guarantee and then refuse to honor that. You are required by US law to give a refund for any reason within the 30 days. Turbine should have given the refund or told the customer that DR would refund them. Something is seriously wrong with Turbine doing neither of these things.

 

It doesn't matter if it was technically legal or not. I don't care. It is all about how Turbine treats its customers. It is pretty clear Turbine needed to tell the customer how to get the refund. Instead they threatened some players with a lifetime ban to scare them into dropping it. Pretty awful. Maybe anyone who wants to spend a few more weeks debating who was legally required to give the refund can just PM spiteful or anyone else who want to debate this. An expert could figure it out - but either way Turbine looks pretty bad here.

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I don't think anyone disagrees that Turbine acted horrible here. But if one is going to spout off that someone broke the law and lawsuits and such should be looked into, it doesn't seem unreasonable to ask who actually made the guarantee, at least to me. But then again when I was younger I got caught up in some false allegations. Plus I've had to deal with rumors and false information as a business owner. It isn't cool, at all, actually it down right sucks. Keep in mind the question would be the same if it was DR that was being accused. It's fucked up to say "these people cheated me" or "these people broke the law", when one isn't sure that their naming the correct entity. But apparently some don't see it that way.

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There's another side to this which has been carefully not mentioned so far. There were people on this forum saying that you could pay for the expansion and then use the terms to get a refund via DR, knowing that Turbine would be unable to remove access to the content. (I remember the debate about it here; people were defending the idea by saying it was morally acceptable to scam Turbine since they were bad themselves). Thus, you could have the content without paying for it. If Turbine had reason to think that was someone's motivation I wouldn't be surprised at them not wanting such a customer. The pot and the kettle were both black.

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There's another side to this which has been carefully not mentioned so far. There were people on this forum saying that you could pay for the expansion and then use the terms to get a refund via DR, knowing that Turbine would be unable to remove access to the content. (I remember the debate about it here; people were defending the idea by saying it was morally acceptable to scam Turbine since they were bad themselves). Thus, you could have the content without paying for it. If Turbine had reason to think that was someone's motivation I wouldn't be surprised at them not wanting such a customer. The pot and the kettle were both black.

That does not take anything away from those who wanted their money back and not abuse the system.

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There's another side to this which has been carefully not mentioned so far. There were people on this forum saying that you could pay for the expansion and then use the terms to get a refund via DR, knowing that Turbine would be unable to remove access to the content. (I remember the debate about it here; people were defending the idea by saying it was morally acceptable to scam Turbine since they were bad themselves). Thus, you could have the content without paying for it. If Turbine had reason to think that was someone's motivation I wouldn't be surprised at them not wanting such a customer. The pot and the kettle were both black.

 

That would be me you're referring to. And I still stand by it. If Turbine are going to try to use their incompetence (being unable to remove an expansion from an account) and threats to prevent customers from getting refunds when they legitimately should be given, then I am all for people abusing the system. It's Turbine's fault they're too lazy to fix a problem. It's Turbine's fault they falsely advertise. It's Turbine's fault that they use such shady tactics to get money out of people. So it's on their shoulders if people would use their consumer rights to their advantage, as they should.

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Well, any kind of intentional abuse inflicts you negative karma points. You can't fight evil with evil, you have to consume evil and kill it inside of yourself ;)

 

They just used the precedent of previous Xmas sales to actually get some revenue. Any kind of purchase is a gamble nowadays, you will never know what marketing and sales "gurus" will come up with to reach out to wallets. It's not exclusive to this company, just look... anywhere... or rather everywhere. That's the reality. What is of note here - if you have a good product - you need less "exquisite" and questionable sales strategies, as word of mouth is the best strategy.

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There's another side to this which has been carefully not mentioned so far. There were people on this forum saying that you could pay for the expansion and then use the terms to get a refund via DR, knowing that Turbine would be unable to remove access to the content. (I remember the debate about it here; people were defending the idea by saying it was morally acceptable to scam Turbine since they were bad themselves). Thus, you could have the content without paying for it. If Turbine had reason to think that was someone's motivation I wouldn't be surprised at them not wanting such a customer. The pot and the kettle were both black.

 

I never did understand why Turbine couldn't remove an xpac token from an account, it just doesn't seem like it would be that hard. I suppose there could be some back-end issue where doing so could corrupt a character but I really don't know. I suppose in the days of gaining the 10 lvls and associated rep etc. within days or weeks it would require individual "roll backs" on characters, which I thought was possible, but maybe not.

 

In the situation you describe that's actually a crime in and of itself, Fraud, or at least it is in the "hard goods" market.

 

A basic sxample often cited is;

 

A store has 2 customers. Both buy clothes regularly and are constantly returning them.

 

Customer 1 is terrible at picking sizes or colors or what ever. This is legitimate customer returns.

 

Customer 2 buys clothes, wears them one night and returns them. This is Fraud.

 

 

Here's a couple articles that, while about clothing, shows that return fraud is becoming a greater issue with retailers and they are tightening the reigns.

 

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-09-26/return-fraud-clothing-and-electronics-retailers-fight-back

 

http://retailingtoday.com/article/nrf-weighs-holiday-return-fraud

 

While your scenario has nothing to do with the TP package and not being able to exercise an explicit refund policy, buying a product and using it then returning or attempting to get a refund for it is a criminal act. And it's not just an issue in the US, according to this

 

http://www.popcenter.org/problems/credit_card_fraud/PDFs/HomeOfficePCF.pdf

 

 

 

 

Well, any kind of intentional abuse inflicts you negative karma points. You can't fight evil with evil, you have to consume evil and kill it inside of yourself  ;)

 

They just used the precedent of previous Xmas sales to actually get some revenue. Any kind of purchase is a gamble nowadays, you will never know what marketing and sales "gurus" will come up with to reach out to wallets. It's not exclusive to this company, just look... anywhere... or rather everywhere. That's the reality. What is of note here - if you have a good product - you need less "exquisite" and questionable sales strategies, as word of mouth is the best strategy.

 

Well said and very true.

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I finally broke down and bought the Base Edition of HD, despite my own better judgement and the prevailing sentiments of this forum. I've spent the last week or so on the fence about doing so. They're definitely running a fire sale out of sheer desperation, and I held out long enough to give myself the illusion that withholding my $20 as long as I did helped to keep that fear alive. But I know perfectly well that in reality, they don't give a shit.

 

I probably wouldn't have bought it at all if it weren't for the extra 1000 TP it included. I'm assuming that the quarterly updates will have a TP price comparable to Wildermore or Great River, so I thought I'd stock up a bit. Of course, "quarterly updates" will be late, buggy and likely to be complete letdowns. I find that LotRO is a better game when you temper your expectations. It's less heartbreaking that way.

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I finally broke down and bought the Base Edition of HD, despite my own better judgement and the prevailing sentiments of this forum. I've spent the last week or so on the fence about doing so. They're definitely running a fire sale out of sheer desperation, and I held out long enough to give myself the illusion that withholding my $20 as long as I did helped to keep that fear alive. But I know perfectly well that in reality, they don't give a shit.

 

I probably wouldn't have bought it at all if it weren't for the extra 1000 TP it included. I'm assuming that the quarterly updates will have a TP price comparable to Wildermore or Great River, so I thought I'd stock up a bit. Of course, "quarterly updates" will be late, buggy and likely to be complete letdowns. I find that LotRO is a better game when you temper your expectations. It's less heartbreaking that way.

tumblr_lz6x7oanC11qju7t7o1_250.gif

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tumblr_lz6x7oanC11qju7t7o1_250.gif

 

Really, why?

 

'I finally broke down and bought the Base Edition of HD...'

Need I say more?

 

Being rude to new posters -- or anyone else -- over something as trivial as an MMO purchase is just beyond me. We see that sort of thing on the censored forum. Sad to see it here though.  

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I finally broke down and bought the Base Edition of HD, despite my own better judgement and the prevailing sentiments of this forum. I've spent the last week or so on the fence about doing so. They're definitely running a fire sale out of sheer desperation, and I held out long enough to give myself the illusion that withholding my $20 as long as I did helped to keep that fear alive. But I know perfectly well that in reality, they don't give a shit.

 

I probably wouldn't have bought it at all if it weren't for the extra 1000 TP it included. I'm assuming that the quarterly updates will have a TP price comparable to Wildermore or Great River, so I thought I'd stock up a bit. Of course, "quarterly updates" will be late, buggy and likely to be complete letdowns. I find that LotRO is a better game when you temper your expectations. It's less heartbreaking that way.

Have fun storming the castle!

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tumblr_lz6x7oanC11qju7t7o1_250.gif

 

Yeah, about what I expected.

 

Being rude to new posters -- or anyone else -- over something as trivial as an MMO purchase is just beyond me. We see that sort of thing on the censored forum. Sad to see it here though.  

 

And to think that I usually get indignant when they claim that we don't know what sarcasm is on this side of the Atlantic. _O-

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