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Hajile

My Turbine complaints department saga

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I've seen some assumptions about the Epic Story, Lvl Cap raise and the new crafting tier being available for all, without purchase of RoI needed, but in all honesty, I don't believe they will be.

RoI's pre-order page lists the raised level cap as one of the features, so I'd say, it's not likely that it will be available for those that haven't bought it.

And lets be honest, looking at the other expansions of LOTRO, you needed those to get the raise in level cap and crafting tier.(not to mention epic story and other quests)

I know it changed with f2p, but initially, after f2p, you needed to still buy the expansions to get the level cap raise and the epic story. It only changed with update 2, I think.

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And lets be honest, looking at the other expansions of LOTRO, you needed those to get the raise in level cap and crafting tier.(not to mention epic story and other quests)

I know it changed with f2p, but initially, after f2p, you needed to still buy the expansions to get the level cap raise and the epic story. It only changed with update 2, I think.

This is indeed true, one thing though that is also true is that in the run up to Moria when people asked "Do we need to buy Moria to level past 50?" Turbine answered "Yes you do need to buy Moria to level past 50" very quickly. This time round though they are ignoring all questions regarding this, one thing I have found is that when Turbine ignore something its because they are worried it will be taken badly so put off the answer until they absolutely have to announce it.

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Thanks for starting this thread Hajile.

In light of the recent announcement regarding the new instance cluster and update 5 I am looking for some insight / feedback on the following, particularly from a legal perspective whether UK, EU or US. I know logic and law are not always in step with each other.

As far as I am aware, VIP subscribers are entitled to have access to all in game content and quest packs with the exception of expansions and so far this has included all major updates e.g. Enedwaith. Sapience has said on the official forums that the instances coming with Update 5 will be free to those who have purchased RoI via pre-order or who purchase it via the lotro web store (cash not TP) following release. While it has not been clarified, it implies that when RoI is available via the in-game store (for TP) that it may not include the instance cluster so that will probably be available as a separate TP purchase in some shape or form.

As I understand it, the only difference between buying RoI and not buying RoI for a VIP account (pre-order goodies aside) would be;

- RoI quests

- 24 man raid

(I have read that we can level to 75, access tier 7 crafting, follow epic quests etc without buying RoI but haven't seen this stated by a blue name so if any one can confirm or contradict (referencing blue name posts or equivilent) these points it would be appreciated).

Based on the above being accurate, RoI would be a quest pack that is released at the same time as other new stuff (crafting, level cap increase, class changes etc.) If all of this were combined together and only available to those who bought ROI I would consider it an expansion (particularly since it includes the update 5 instance cluster). However, if everything is available to everyone with the exception of RoI quests and a 24 man raid then it isn't an expansion, its a quest pack! Make sense? If RoI is later sold via the in game store (for TP) as a quest pack similar to how Moria and Mirkwood are currently available, then it would prove my case.

Update 5 should theoretically be free to VIPs as updates are meant to be. Access to quests and land is also supposed to be free to VIPs as VIPS should only have to pay for 'expansions'.

So from a legal position do Turbine currently have the right to charge VIP subscribers for RoI? Do they have legal grounds to label a quest pack an 'expansion' so arbitarily? Are they not at the very least in mirky waters on this point?

It seems that the F2P model and the VIP model is currently in conflict - they want to keep as much as possible open for the free player and still charge VIPs for the new content by labelling it an expansion.

Just one last note to say I have no problems with paying Turbine for content in principle (they are a business after all) and my family has handed over plenty of money over past 4 years, however I am concerned about the direction their marketing is heading and I don't like the way they are treating their consumer base. I love playing in Middle Earth and have no plans to 'bring Turbine down' even if the legal grounds were there to do so, but I would like them to clean up their marketing and start being a little more transparent and 'honest' with their customers.

I wouldn't assume that anything from RoI will be available free to VIPs or anyone else. Turbine may decide to leave the areas open to everyone/let everyone level to 75/let everyone do Epic quests, but they could also decide to keep it restricted to people who have bought RoI at first.

I'm pretty sure that the tier 7 crafting will only be open to people who buy RoI or unlock the crafting tier from the store. Even if you are VIP, you still need to buy Moria to unlock tier 6 crafting.

When it appears in the store, RoI will probably be split into the different parts, a quest pack for each area, the instances (either separately or in one bundle), the crafting tier, anything else they can split off. It may or may not also appear as one big bundle including everything. I'm guessing this based on the way they split Moria up when it was added to the store.

By doing this, they can call RoI an expansion which means everyone, including VIPs, has to pay for it. As the instances coming with Update 5 are part of the expansion, they don't need to give them to VIPs for free. They haven't said that Update 5 will only include these instances, so it could include something else that VIPs get for free as well as the instances which are part of the expansion just being delivered later on.

As other people have also noted, there isn't a definition of expansion or update. Some updates have been really big, some expansions have been smaller. Turbine are pretty much free to call it what they want, and charge for what they want. They could release an "expansion" every couple of months and only release bugfixes as updates. They don't have to release free updates, so they aren't breaking any agreement. (Obviously if they did this, they would really annoy most of their players, no one would be VIP and lots of people would leave, but they could if they wanted to.)

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As other people have also noted, there isn't a definition of expansion or update. Some updates have been really big, some expansions have been smaller. Turbine are pretty much free to call it what they want, and charge for what they want. They could release an "expansion" every couple of months and only release bugfixes as updates. They don't have to release free updates, so they aren't breaking any agreement. (Obviously if they did this, they would really annoy most of their players, no one would be VIP and lots of people would leave, but they could if they wanted to.)

This is exactly what I am questioning though. Turbine has not outlined what subscribers can expect in return for their subscription and just because Turbine want to make up the rules as they go along doesn't mean they are doing so within the law (that much I know). For example, an employer can include in an employee contract that the employee cannot leave the company to go work for a competitor, however the employer cannot normally hold the employee to such a clause as the law does not support it. So big companies and even governments will often say and do things that are outside the law because people tend to believe if it says something in the contract then it is law which is not necessarily the case.

So my question is from a legal perspective can Turbine make the rules and change the rules as they go along as to what VIPs can expect in return from their subscription. I am guessing not, but have not the resources to find out the legal position on this.

So far there has never been a content update that has not been free to subscribers. So if Turbine were to charge subscribers for Update 5 then it would be going against reasonable expectations of subscribers.

To quote from their own FAQ and VIP comparison chart (text at the top)

"And for a monthly fee, LOTRO's VIP program offers the best value and the most options for players who like the convenience of having unlimited access to all of LOTRO's game content and features."

They are basically claiming in the above comment that by paying a subscription we have unlimited access to the game... in which case by charging us for ROI (or even Update 5) they are charging us a second time.

Again, I have every intention of contiuing to play lotro and it certainly isn't my intention to troll or stir up trouble, my point is simply that I am sure there must be some legal basis for us as customers to have the right to clear information about what our subscription entitles us to.

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OK guys, the letters are going this weekend, so I shall post the running highlights of it here. It might take a few posts, and it's not going to be all of the letter - as previously stated, it's a wall of text and some of it is concerning other matters. For the record, the following is taken from the copy sent to Middle-earth Enterprises. The content of WB's letter is essentially the same. I might give some notes as I go:

I feel it has become necessary to make a formal complaint about the conduct of one of your licensees, that being the above named Turbine, Inc. and express my concerns regarding the extent of their customer care, the quality of their work and their handling of the licence granted to them by yourselves for the persistent online game "The Lord of the Rings Online." I believe that the content of this letter and the nature of these complaints are worthy of your attention, and I hope that you will consider them serious enough to take action to address the issues contained herein.

I should also advise that I am making a similar complaint to Warner Interactive, Turbine's parent company, as I do not believe that they would knowingly tolerate in one of their subsidiary developers the kind of behaviour exhibited by Turbine. I will be asking them to make the appropriate enquiries, and should it become necessary, address the matter with Turbine directly in an effort to resolve the cause for complaint.

Fairly basic and straightforward - it makes it clear that what I'm asking for is a request for an investigation, not for them to retract the license outright.

There has always been controversy surrounding the nature of Turbine's public statements and press releases... ...a campaign of habitual misinformation against their own customers.

Abbreviated for brevity, included here specifically for the wording - 'campaign of misinformation' sounds about right to me. However, I thought it appropriate to note at this point that as the following examples

occurred before Turbine acquired direct responsibility for dealing with their European customers. They are more likely to be susceptible to US law only, of which I am not well acquainted. However, while their legality may not be in dispute, they demonstrate Turbine's tendency to make incorrect or misleading statements in order to give their customers an erroneous impression of the future of the product. I would invite you to examine these cases to evaluate whether you believe this to be conduct becoming of a licensee.

I then go on to make mention of, in chronological order: The furore surrounding the initial F2P move and the trouble it caused Codemasters at the time, detailing their strained relationship with Turbine at the end of their partnership; the reassurances given about the VIP experience not changing; the "convenience and not advantage" debacle, which I went on to say

gives us a clear indication of Turbine's duplicity in dealing with their customers, but also their attitude towards honesty and customer care.

At the PAX Expo in March 2011, during the keynote speech of Fernando Paiz; a Turbine Executive Producer; Mr. Paiz openly declared Turbine's intention to sell "advantage" items on their cash shops as a way of increasing revenue, despite their previous promises not to do so. He also readily acknowledged their past promise, but brushed the issue aside as if it were irrelevant.

At this event, a Turbine spokesperson freely admitted in a public forum that they have made factually incorrect statements to their customers that they do not intend to honour as it pertains to the content of their micro-transaction store. In short, Turbine have publicly confessed that they have lied to their customers in pursuit of profit.

Naturally, this duplicity did not escape the notice of their customers, who queried the matter with Turbine in an attempt to obtain a satisfactory explanation. Turbine's response was to begin a policy of systematically disappearing any statement that they had made in the past that they would not sell "advantage" items, and prohibited their customers from discussing the matter on their forums, thus closing their customers' main avenue of enquiry.

Of this I made a big deal out of, because that keynote speech laid bare much of Turbine's business practices, and essentially exposed them for the bunch of lying, duplicitous money-grabbing douchebags they are.

I then go on to detail my Isengard troubles.

On the withdrawal of their partnership, and on the adoption of Codemasters' former territories and customers, Turbine became responsible for honouring the original agreement between Codemasters and their customers in those overseas territories. More than that, the moment they entered the global market and began providing their service directly to European and British customers, they became legally obliged to adhere to the legislation, laws and regulations of those territories.

Through either machination or a lack of adequate provision; and in maintaining their course of poor customer care in these new territories; Turbine have regrettably violated several UK statutes concerning consumer rights.

I then detail the particular acts of which I'm holding them in violation.

that if there are imminent changes or additions to the product or service, the customer must be notified of those changes in full in advance of the transaction, thus providing them with an opportunity to make an informed decision, and if they are not a refund must be given.

Essentially, I make it clear that if a company can be found to have not provided adequate information about; or fully identified; a product or service in order for the customer to be fully informed, then if that customer requests a refund it is unlawful for that company to refuse to do so.

Basically, if there is any information not given that could influence the customers' decision to buy or not buy, if that customer wants his money back the company has to give it. There's no ground for error - the onus and responsibility is entirely on the company to fully identify the product or service to the customer pre-purchase. If they fail, the avenue to apply for and grant refunds MUST exist.

I make mention of the tidbit

Although their EULA advises that the "game experience may change," this does not absolve them of adhering to the legislation detailed within these Acts, which supercede any private contract the customer may have with Turbine. The Acts advise that changes must be specifically declared before the transaction can be allowed to take place.

I then mention their refusal to refund, and go on to say

a refund can be demanded in these circumstances at any time up to six years after the transaction takes place. If demanded, that refund must be given. If Turbine do not have the ability to remove product keys from accounts, that is a failure of their own internal systems and has little to do with the customer's rights. The refund is still due, even if Turbine are unable to take the product back from the customer. Short-comings or inadequacies in their customer account management tools do not absolve them of their responsibility to adhere to the relevant consumer rights laws. The lack of measures in place in their accounts tools to make provisions for those consumer rights speaks volumes about how unprepared they were - and remain - for dealing with the requirements and demands of these overseas territories.

A fairly reasonable statement, I feel - that their account management tools are, basically, not fit for task.

To summarise, their violations are threefold - the first is their failure or refusal to adequately declare upcoming changes to the product/service before the transaction of sale was allowed to take place; the second and third are for refusing the refund requested on the grounds of the first violation.

Turbine, it seems, have been misrepresenting the nature of their product for an extended period of time, which is continuing at present as evident in the sheer amount of controversy surrounding the promotional material for their 'Isengard' expansion. It has presumably only now been brought to your attention because now they are providing their service directly to European customers who are covered by different legislation, they are now guilty of violating customer service laws in the region.

A summary and a statement identifying that while their actions before dealing direct with Europe may have simply been a bit shady and unfair, they have now crossed the line into illegal.

This here is a very important statement to make:

I eventually received my refund from Digital River UK, the electronic vendor acting on Turbine's behalf, who agreed that the product was "not as sold."

Ooh, it seems that their UK partner is on my side! I guess they are more aware of the law than Turbine. :)

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I then summarise again the most relevant points, and I try to be as reasonable as possible under the circumstances:

As highlighted above, they have shown a disappointing lack of foresight in their hurry to take Codemasters' customer base on themselves. They did not build adequate customer account management tools to accommodate the laws of their new territories, nor did they adjust the manner of their customer care to adhere to the laws of these new regions.

Perhaps they made the erroneous assumption that there was little difference in the nature of their new markets and the customers contained therein compared to their existing ones. That would be a heinous error - clearly they should have made themselves more aware of the consumer rights of the territories that they were taking over, and made provisions to their service to allow those rights to be enforceable. If they had done so, they would have known my rights as a customer and provided my refund immediately.

As it stands, I was forced to issue threats of further action in order to obtain that to which I was legally entitled. This implies that Turbine may have a lack of knowledge of; or lack of regard for; the laws and regulations of the UK. This could be indicative of a wider problem within Turbine. Regrettably, they have demonstrated a pattern of inattention for customer care and overseas law that strongly suggests at best carelessness, and at worst contempt.

It is my hope that this is a mere oversight on Turbine's part. I would sincerely like to give them the benefit of the doubt and attribute this to inattention and sloppiness rather than deliberate design, as the latter would imply that Turbine's problems run deeper than mere customer service issues. Either way, it seems obvious that a thorough investigation into this matter is required to determine where the error lies. These violations show a failure to properly prepare themselves to adhere to the laws of each of their overseas territories, and demonstrate Turbine's fundamental inability to operate internationally with competence.

I then try to draw all of my points together:

urbine have treated the laws and legislation of their new markets with flippancy and a lack of due care and attention [and] have habitually taken advantage of the good faith of their customers and resorted to unlawful activity and misrepresentation of their product to grow their business at the expense of customer care. They have also repeatedly refused to accept any responsibility for their actions, despite being given every opportunity to do so.

I then say that

They should be given an opportunity to address these complaints and both pledge to ensure that they do not repeat these offences and make amends for those mistakes already made. Should any at Turbine refuse to do so, perhaps it would be advisable to have them removed from the project and replaced with someone who will.

A bit strong, maybe, but I make it clear that Turbine should be given the opportunity to clean up the mess they have made before anything else is considered. I also mention that

it is my hope that having heard the precise details of the complaint you would get involved yourselves. If Turbine were to make no effort to reverse their past offences and show appropriate contrition, perhaps an alternative developer for their license should be considered - one who would exhibit less disreputable behaviour.

Again, it is mentioned only as a very last resort, only after Turbine would have been given all reasonable opportunities to redress the matter themselves. For those who were concerned about my motives, this should reassure you that I'm not just a vindictive jerk out to cause the game harm. IN case it's not clear enough:

Please note that I have no desire to see the future of 'The Lord of the Rings Online' put in jeopardy, as were that to occur its many thousands of customers would be unduly penalised due to Turbine's transgressions. However, I choose to trust that if Turbine themselves do not voluntarily resolve these issues, either yourselves or Warner Interactive will take whatever steps are necessary to do so on their behalf, and on the behalf of their customers.

Finally in closing, I mention that

The issues detailed in this letter are only some of a long list of complaints, but they are sufficient for the message to be clear.

I say that many of their customers

feel cheated and deceived by them, which means that there is little if any trust or faith left in Turbine.

I also say that

by conducting themselves in such a way they serve to not only bring themselves into disrepute, but also Warner Interactive and Middle-earth Enterprises, on whom it reflects badly to have allowed this conduct to have continued for so long.

And sign off.

That's the gist of it, folks. Hopefully nothing that anyone can find objectionable in there. I've given Turbine the opportunity to paint themselves as bumbling ninnies who were simply unaware that they were doing anything wrong, so no-one can claim I'm baying for their blood or anything. :)

Basically I rattle off a list of things they are doing wrong, ask that they be given a chance to sort it all out, and only should they refuse should it start costing people their jobs, and only if Turbine show contemptible arrogance and refuse to address anything should further penalties even be considered.

Hope that makes it all clear.

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[whisper]Sapience ... er, Blister ... er, Pimple, this is your cue.[/whisper]

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Well done, Hajile. I hope someone notices and cares.

Turbine is kind of between a rock and a hard place over this. They want to hype their new content as much as possible to generate interest and sales, yet they seem to be unable to follow through most of the time on what they promise. It's kind of sad to watch, really.

I think that's probably because the PR people have too much power within their structure. As someone mentioned in a post on fellowships over at the official forums, "less talky, more fighty." Seems like good advice.

IMHO

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That's the gist of it, folks.

Ouch. That's a gist? 7(8)7 Not only way too many words, as I opined before, but far too many emotionally coloured adjectives & adverbs. Heinous? Really? Ummm.... Oh well, it's your letter and, as you know, I'm broadly on your side. ;) It'll be interesting to see what reply you get from the various parties.

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Very interested to hear what, if anything, comes of these letters. I'm hoping with a positive mind that this cannot be brushed aside, and that it will take notice in games media as well.

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One exceptionally long complaint from one customer about something that has already been corrected by the refund occuring. My money's on half a page being read before it's binned and that's from the optimist in me.

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One exceptionally long complaint from one customer about something that has already been corrected by the refund occuring. My money's on half a page being read before it's binned and that's from the optimist in me.

I get that you don't agree with me and want to try to trivialise this complaint, for whatever reason. But when doing so I would suggest that you at least make an effort to understand what I've written. From your response I can see that it's a good thing you don't speak on behalf of WB or ME. Thankfully their complaints departments don't have the luxury of skim-reading anything or being dismissive of things they don't like. :)

You seem to be stuck on believing that my complaint is exclusively about my own refund, which I thought I had adequately demonstrated is not the case. It is addressing wider problems that probably have not been brought to their attention before, so obviously it hasn't "already been corrected" as the problems are ongoing. If you need further clarification of this by all means ask instead of leaping to conclusions.

Having some experience with complaints departments in a professional capacity I know how they operate, and I can inform you with authority that the length of a complaint letter is irrelevant, so "it's too long" is not a valid excuse to disregard it. Lengthy complaints get dealt with just as thoroughly as short ones. The length of the letter is indicative of the scope of the complaint, and they will presumably understand and acquaint themselves with the full breadth of its contents.

Had I been complaining through a more dialogue-based avenue, via email for example, the initial complaint notice would indeed have been shorter as I would have had the facility to further elaborate on certain points on request. However, as this is not a back-and-forth discussion and only one item of correspondence is being sent, the entirety of the complaint must be detailed in that one letter and if anything was missed off in order to make it shorter, chances are it would not be included in whatever follow-up they do. The length of the letter was not a concern, so I chose to make it as detailed and as thorough as possible in order to bring as many issues to their attention as I could in one go. They can deal with its contents as their internal policies demand, but deal with them they must.

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I get that you don't agree with me and want to try to trivialise this complaint, for whatever reason. But when doing so I would suggest that you at least make an effort to understand what I've written. From your response I can see that it's a good thing you don't speak on behalf of WB or ME. Thankfully their complaints departments don't have the luxury of skim-reading anything or being dismissive of things they don't like. :)

You seem to be stuck on believing that my complaint is exclusively about my own refund, which I thought I had adequately demonstrated is not the case. It is addressing wider problems that probably have not been brought to their attention before, so obviously it hasn't "already been corrected" as the problems are ongoing. If you need further clarification of this by all means ask instead of leaping to conclusions.

Having some experience with complaints departments in a professional capacity I know how they operate, and I can inform you with authority that the length of a complaint letter is irrelevant, so "it's too long" is not a valid excuse to disregard it. Lengthy complaints get dealt with just as thoroughly as short ones. The length of the letter is indicative of the scope of the complaint, and they will presumably understand and acquaint themselves with the full breadth of its contents.

Had I been complaining through a more dialogue-based avenue, via email for example, the initial complaint notice would indeed have been shorter as I would have had the facility to further elaborate on certain points on request. However, as this is not a back-and-forth discussion and only one item of correspondence is being sent, the entirety of the complaint must be detailed in that one letter and if anything was missed off in order to make it shorter, chances are it would not be included in whatever follow-up they do. The length of the letter was not a concern, so I chose to make it as detailed and as thorough as possible in order to bring as many issues to their attention as I could in one go. They can deal with its contents as their internal policies demand, but deal with them they must.

Just let me know when nothing happens about it. I've worked in a complaints department and we just lobbed anything longer than a page away. Not like anything would happen about it, since we're the ones the complaints go through. What are they going to do, send a complaint about the complaints department to the complaints department? Off to the bin with that too.

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Just let me know when nothing happens about it. I've worked in a complaints department and we just lobbed anything longer than a page away. Not like anything would happen about it, since we're the ones the complaints go through. What are they going to do, send a complaint about the complaints department to the complaints department? Off to the bin with that too.

They could write to the director of the company, and let you explain why you were binning complaints to him directly. That sort of conduct would make your complaints department the worst complaints department in the world. That's the kind of conduct that gets people fired when the higher-ups find out. I doubt that WB and ME are that badly run.

Although it's nice to see that you've chosen to dispense with simply being dismissive and have become sneering and condescending. If all you can do is pour scorn there's no point in engaging with you further and I can save my responses for other people. Well done.

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They could write to the director of the company, and let you explain why you were binning complaints to him directly. That sort of conduct would make your complaints department the worst complaints department in the world. That's the kind of conduct that gets people fired when the higher-ups find out. I doubt that WB and ME are that badly run.

Although it's nice to see that you've chosen to dispense with simply being dismissive and have become sneering and condescending. If all you can do is pour scorn there's no point in engaging with you further and I can save my responses for other people. Well done.

I do love when people respond to somebody in a sneering and condescending way and then turn around and have to point out a counter post for doing the same thing. You don't want condescension then don't include it in your own posts.

I just can't see how a single person giving an essay of daily-mail-reader style complaint will do anything, especially since the complaint is something so trivial (no matter how much you seem to think otherwise, what with your 'boohoo they I bought something knowing full well the details on it weren't released then had to send two emails for my money back') and can be easily glossed over.

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Modbreak: Can we get back on topic?

If you want to discuss the contents of Hajile's complaint, please do so in a civil manner without resorting to stereotyping.

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I just can't see how a single person giving an essay of daily-mail-reader style complaint will do anything, especially since the complaint is something so trivial (no matter how much you seem to think otherwise, what with your 'boohoo they I bought something knowing full well the details on it weren't released then had to send two emails for my money back') and can be easily glossed over.

Not a big fan of consumer protection laws, I see.

Personally, I find it disheartening when companies ignore the law unless you hold their feet to the fire, which is in essence what Hajile did in order to obtain his refund. Pointing this out to the parties concerned is appropriate and laudable in my personal opinion.

You don't think it's a big deal. That's fine. But, these laws have been put in place in order to give the little guy (consumer) at least a semblance of power in obtaining equitable treatment in their transactions with vendors, many of whom are large and very powerful corporations who don't answer to concerns of fairness and just dealings. A large segment of the population apparently gives that a significantly higher priority than you do, hence the laws were passed.

You certainly have the right to a different opinion, however, I would suggest that your previous behavior in complaint departments is not something you should be bragging about. It tends to tarnish rather than burnish, if you know what I mean.

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Not a big fan of consumer protection laws, I see.

Huge fan of them, actually. At no point did I say otherwise.

Personally, I find it disheartening when companies ignore the law unless you hold their feet to the fire, which is in essence what Hajile did in order to obtain his refund. Pointing this out to the parties concerned is appropriate and laudable in my personal opinion.

Companies often do this. They understand the majority of people do not know their own rights and will take advantage of that. A complaint is lodged for a refund, the company says they can't give it and the customer takes it as law. The few, such as Hajile, who know to push further are the ones companies give into because they already know their rights. I wouldn't say it's so much as ignoring the law, it's more relying on the ignorance of the person complaining.

The parties won't do anything about it though, since the law hasn't actually been broken on this occasion. Had the refund not actually been given, even after Hajile had pointed out all the appropriate laws that were on his side, then that is definitely grounds for WB and ME to sort things out. Since that didn't happen, it won't be taken seriously.

You don't think it's a big deal. That's fine. But, these laws have been put in place in order to give the little guy (consumer) at least a semblance of power in obtaining equitable treatment in their transactions with vendors, many of whom are large and very powerful corporations who don't answer to concerns of fairness and just dealings. A large segment of the population apparently gives that a significantly higher priority than you do, hence the laws were passed.

I think it's a big deal for an individual. He felt ripped off or something, I can't remember what since it was so flimsy, and he got his money back after having to threaten legal action. That's something I love to see, even if in this instance it seemed to be the removal of a straw that broke the camel's back.

What I also realise is that it isn't a big deal for any of the companies this complaint has gone to. Turbine didn't care and I'm sure as hell ME or WB don't care either. It's not like they're completely ignorant of what Turbine do, what with being a company and all and being legally involved with them. I can't even see where they've broken any laws so far, so there's no way they'll bother with this.

You certainly have the right to a different opinion, however, I would suggest that your previous behavior in complaint departments is not something you should be bragging about. It tends to tarnish rather than burnish, if you know what I mean.

I was just telling it how it is. Complaints are only really important to a company when lots of people start to make them (and I mean proper complaints, not the forum ones people are giving lately). When it's an individual they don't tend to care.

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What I also realise is that it isn't a big deal for any of the companies this complaint has gone to. Turbine didn't care and I'm sure as hell ME or WB don't care either. It's not like they're completely ignorant of what Turbine do, what with being a company and all and being legally involved with them. I can't even see where they've broken any laws so far, so there's no way they'll bother with this.

Actually Turbine have broken the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act which prohibits unfair and deceptive acts and practices.

In promoting their ROI Product they emphasised the following;

- Level up to 75

- Explore three new regions

They also mentioned in their promotion that there were all-new epic quests and skills.

As the above are all available irrespective of whether players buy the ROI product they are not part of the product but part of a free update which means that at best Turbine are guilty of deceptive advertising - by suggesting the above are part of a paid for product.

(Massachusetts is the state in America where Turbine are based and so they are accountable to its laws. They may have also broken other laws that are local to the countries (e.g. UK) that they offer the lotro game to - their terms of service for the UK (for example) say that any dispute will be subject to UK law etc).

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It should be noted that the precedent has been set for obtaining refunds, regardless of Turbine's "all sales are final" spiel, which shows what a load of rubbish that particular declaration is. I've been privately speaking to several other dissatisfied customers who have also managed to obtain refunds through similar means, so all that means is that this is yet another lie from Turbine and an attempt to avoid their legal responsibilities. I won't mention those customer's names - I'm sure that they will come forward if they want to. But considering the tone of some responses I've had regarding my own complaint I wouldn't blame them if they did not want to make their actions known. However, I would wholeheartedly recommend that anyone who feels justified in asking for a refund go through the same avenues to obtain one. It can only become easier for customers to be refunded from now on.

It should be noted that it has now been readily accepted by everyone who has looked at the situation that Turbine are not operating ethically or within the law. Everyone from Consumer Direct to Digital River - Turbine's own partners - have accepted that fact, and it seems that only Turbine themselves and a few of their staunchest forum defenders don't seem to be able to accept it. I think it's time we stopped speaking of their unlawful conduct as if it's something hypothetical that can be argued against - It's only a matter of time now that Turbine accept that their conduct has been deplorable.

Now, it's an established and demonstrable fact. Turbine have been very, very naughty.

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I honestly don't see what your problem is with the whole thing. So Turbine broke the law, most American companies conduct illegal activities anyhow, It's not like WB is going to open up their mailboxes and immediently be on the phone to their legal department.

I'm all for protecting your rights and claiming a refund should you find significant evidence to back you up, but I fear that this will just give Turbine and excuse to hush away the little 'mess' they've made..

Unless you threaten them with legal action then the liklihood of them making any significant changes is very unlikely which is unfortunate because I had a similar situation not but a month ago, I had my previous employer taken to court for Unfair Dismissal!

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I honestly don't see what your problem is with the whole thing. So Turbine broke the law

Bingo! Answered your own question there. In case you forgot, breaking the law is illegal. :)

And for once we can take them to task and make them answerable. I can't see any circumstance where someone customer-side would have a problem with that, and so the responses I've received from some fellow customers astonish me. They argue against the attempted enforcement of consumer rights, and that's about the most counterproductive, illogical thing a consumer can do. I really don't understand why any other customer would try to trivialise or dismiss the matter. Some people act they don't actually want better customer service or statutory rights.

Acting like the complaint will never go anywhere and using that as an excuse to never bother raising it is complacency of the highest order. Not only that it's apathetic, irresponsible consumerism and it's at the root of why companies like Turbine get away with it for as long as they do - they bank on people not knowing their rights and when they do know their rights on them creating their own deterrent by doubting the likelihood of their success.

Unfortunately for Turbine, they've left legal holes in their own argument you could back a truck through, and they also have customers who are prepared to shout loudly about them. If you genuinely 'don't see what the problem is' that's fair enough. However, whether you see it is neither here nor there - the law sees it and I'm going to be banging bin lids outside Turbine's offices until someone resolves the matter.

The absolute last thing I will say in defence of my position is this:

I've already got my legally entitled refund. I could quite happily leave it there and call it a success. But I'm not going to, because Turbine are still resorting to unlawful business practices. Their offences run so deep it's beyond reason or justification. If there's anything that can be done to get them to change, I think it's worth the effort.

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I've already got my legally entitled refund. I could quite happily leave it there and call it a success. But I'm not going to, because Turbine are still resorting to unlawful business practices. Their offences run so deep it's beyond reason or justification. If there's anything that can be done to get them to change, I think it's worth the effort.

I totally agree with you. If more people stood up to companies they would think twice before taking liberties. Yes one person alone may not make a huge difference, but the way I see is that it is the same as voting. One person's vote may not make a difference in itself when electing a government, but that's no excuse not to turn out and vote. If everyone had the same determination you had when a company broke the law, companies simply wouldn't do it because of the storm of conflict it would cause. If everyone thinks, "it won't make any difference what I say / do because I'm just one person, so I'll just ignore it", of course they will continue to break the law/take liberties, because they know they can get away with it.

The people that follow things through, instead of taking it and walking away are the people that get things changed in this world. Good on ya Hajile :Y)

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