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I am just outraged now, so that is usually when I do my best writing 🙂
I’ll try to keep it brief, if possible. My son and I came across a strategically positioned CD in local GameStop about a month and a half ago, showing Final Fantasy XI Demo for PC for $2 . At a moment of weakness, we decided to give Final Fantasy XI a try, since we generally enjoy online play, as you probably know by now.
Upon arrival at home, we promptly attempted to install the game. Strangely, the process wanted us to submit a Credit Card. Granted, I should have stopped right there and read the 100 page User Agreement, but thinking of Sony and Square-Enix brand names, I decided that I can really trust these companies to do Right by their customers.
However, on a first attempt to play, it failed after half an hour of trying to "patch" itself. We tried to install on another computer, but with the same sad results. As much as I hate to, I was forced to spend some time online with their Tech support, who after silly troubleshooting attempts simply assured me that we must be having Internet connectivity issues and try again later. Obviously our high speed Internet had no such issues, which was also obvious by the fact that half the patch was downloading successfully prior to failure. Long story short, since my son kept begging, after various attempts and more calls, I left a laptop overnight connected to Internet directly (bypassing the router) which somehow did let the patch through…
After about half a day of play, he complained that there was no Tutorial at all to understand how to play. There were also no obvious ways to understand Who to see to start off in the world, and How to do Anything. He also had computer hang and forced a restart in the first few minutes of play, and I am certain it isn’t our computer’s fault… Mind you, this is the dude that tried almost every MMO out there, free and paid!
So, after he promptly stopped playing, I tried to remove this horrible ordeal from my memory, and disregard the hours and effort spent to just make the darn game work. Until this weekend, when my online Credit Card showed a charge of almost $18 from Square-Enix/PlayOnline.
I promptly called them and explained the situation. The answer I got was: The charge represents pro-rated part of March after 30 days expired plus a charge for April. And, although they can help me cancel the account (which hasn’t been used for over 40 days, but they insist that they have "no way of checking usage" ), the Charges CANNOT be refunded EVER and IT IS stated in the agreement?! I didn’t find it in the agreement, and the representative insisted that Manager is unavailable and I need to call again. Well I did call again, and got the same Answer, albeit this time with some assurances that "someone will call you back"……..
The ridiculous part is that we never purchased the game, just the silly demo, so I didn’t expect charges. In contrast, World of Warcraft gives you 30 days trial and even though you also need a credit card for the trial, they will never charge you until you Choose to subscribe and continue after the trial!
Another ridiculous part is the supposed pro-ration, the charge for the Future month (April) and refusal to refund even the future month only. Plus, no Emails What So Ever to say "You were charged" or simple courtesy reminder that "Your 30 Day Demo has Expired".
Sorry to bore you with this, but I think all companies should learn something here. Here is what my son said when he heard about the ordeal: Lesson Learned – Never Buy Anything Sony. I definitely join him in this profound realization, plus I will be thinking twice or more before considering future Square-Enix games as well… Maybe there’s truth to all those articles saying that Sony is in financial trouble and going downhill fast…
I hope your $18 was worth this for you, Sony!
PS: For your reading pleasure, the PlayOnline Member Agreement, which is weird since you can even have PlayOnline account for free… Where is the part in which it says we charge “whatever” and keep the money no matter what, for future services not granted?
Comment by Jake on 2008-04-07 20:57:06 -0500 #
not sure why you’re beating up on Sony when the real perpetrator is Square Enix, smartass
Comment by Adi R on 2008-04-07 21:05:24 -0500 #
Thats a great point, I am really beating on both. But, you’re right, probably Square-Enix is the big bad wolf in this story.
I guess I love their past Final Fantasy games too much, was deluding myself. Really shame for them to make such bad PR mistake, but hey, you make mistakes you pay!!!
Comment by Problem Solved on 2008-04-08 11:01:57 -0500 #
“Granted, I should have stopped right there and read the 100 page User Agreement”
Comment by Boris on 2008-04-14 18:37:33 -0500 #
May be that is a sign that you should stop playing games already? 😉