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Customer Service Failure (Cartel Market related)

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Customer Service
Customer Service Failure (Cartel Market related)
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Grimmig's Avatar


Grimmig
12.11.2012 , 10:59 AM | #1
Some background:

I created my account on swtor.com on 10/22/2008. I played the hell out of the beta. My account includes a pre-order code, a digital copy purchased at retail, and 7 or 8 months of subscription fees including the crucial launch months. My young child is in love with Blizz and she won't let me play without talking to him, thank goodness for the party Jawa so I she can see him no matter what character I want to play.

To say I have been a vocal and prolific promoter of SWTOR would be a gross understatement.

Immediately prior to the game going F2P my account was resubscribed for a month so that I could release character names I held for my wife since launch, she was finally going to give the game a try!

Thus begins the fail:

Cartel Coins were used to purchase account-wide unlocks to enable features for her account, and mine in preparation of letting my subscription lapse so that I was playing with the same limitations as her. The hope was (is?) that if she likes the game well enough we would both become subscribers.

The following account-wide unlocks were purchased from the Cartel Market:

12/07/2012 Authorization: Artifact Equipment (Account) -2700
12/03/2012 Customization Control: Hide Head Slot (Account) -775
12/03/2012 Customization Control: Hide Head Slot (Account) -775
12/03/2012 Customization Control: Unify Colors (Account) -775
12/03/2012 Customization Control: Unify Colors (Account) -775
12/03/2012 Unlock: Inventory Module (Account) -390
12/03/2012 Unlock: Inventory Module (Account) -390
12/03/2012 Unlock: Inventory Module (Account) -390
12/03/2012 Unlock: Inventory Module (Account) -390
12/03/2012 Unlock: Inventory Module (Account) -390
12/03/2012 Unlock: Crew Skill Slot (Account) -945
12/03/2012 Authorization: Artifact Equipment (Account) -2700

One each of Artifact Equipment, Hide Head Slot, and Unify Colors were mailed to my wife's characters which she used without problem. I have also bought her many account-wide unlocks via GTN and all were used without issue.

The Inventory Module unlocks were used on my account immediately and without issue. The remainder I saved.

On 12/08/2012 my subscription time ran out, and on 12/09/2012 between 01:00AM and 02:00AM CST I logged in to my now Preferred Status account. I attempted to use the following Cartel Market items:

Unlock: Section-X (Account) [purchased from GTN]
Authorization: Artifact Equipment (Account) [purchased from Cartel Market]
Customization Control: Hide Head Slot (Account) purchased from Cartel Market]
Customization Control: Unify Colors (Account) [purchased from Cartel Market]
Unlock: Crew Skill Slot (Account) [purchased from Cartel Market]

The access to Artifact equipment unlock worked fine across all characters on my account. The access to Section-X works fine.

The 3rd Crew Skill slot unlocked for all characters, although I can now only queue up one item for creation per companion. That seems like something that should be unlocked with the purchase of the 3rd crew skill unlock.

The Customization Control: Hide Head Slot (Account) and Customization Control: Unify Colors (Account) both failed to unlock those features.

Let me remind the audience that these items were bought from the Cartel Market, using Cartel Coins, which cost real money when purchased from swtor.com

Both items cannot be used while an account has subscription time, it correctly notifies you that you already have access to those features. In fact a subscribed account wouldn't even need to buy those items in the first place, but as I mentioned I let my subscription lapse.

So I logged a ticket (#7309532) courteously explaining this situation in detail. This the response I received via email:

Quote:
Greetings,

I am Protocol Droid M0-T0, Human-Cyborg Relations.

Thank you for contacting us to report the issue you encountered.

If you have a Preferred status or Free-to-Play account, please be aware that in-game support, including item and character restorations, is only available to subscribers.
The ticket was closed.

I logged another ticket filed as a bug report (#7325596) containing essentially the same details as this post, it is currently still open.

I called Customer Service and spent 55 minutes on the phone bouncing between a front line CSR and his manager, they did nothing for me. Actually that's not true, while I was calm and firm with them on the phone they sent me into a rage. They informed me that in-game support was not available to me because I was not a subscriber. They informed me that item restoration was not available to me because I was a subscriber. They acknowledged that the items I purchased via Cartel Market had cost real money, and that I had not received what had been paid for. They agreed that sounded like the legal definition of fraud.

But as far as resolving the issue, their only suggestion was to log a ticket in game. This was from the supervisor, a woman who had just finished telling me I could get no support in-game nor could I get item restoration or replacement of the Cartel Coins.

I tried once more to explain to her that a subscription account could not even USE the items I had purchased from the Cartel Market, nor would they want or need to. So in order to to encounter this issue you needed a F2P account of any status.

Now my question is this...

If real USD are used to purchase Cartel Coins on swtor.com and those Cartel Coins are used on the in-game Cartel Market to purchase the unlocking of features and those features continue to remain locked, does that not constitute a bug that is in no way the fault of the customer? Are they not entitled to replacement or reimbursement? Would failure to provide such replacement or reimbursement actually amount to being defrauded?

To top it all off, I was unable to post on the Customer Service forum.

That's right. You spend money on swtor.com to unlock game features, and the phone support tells you log a ticket in-game (and they tell you that you aren't entitled to in-game support anyway). The response to the ticket is that you aren't entitled to in-game support, call the phone number. You can't post on the Customer Service forum.

The lesson here is that apparently the only dollars that matter are subscription dollars. Apparently dollars spent to buy Cartel Coins are different from dollars gained via recurring subscription fees.

It is a tremendous customer service failure to not support F2P accounts. The only reason to move a game to F2P is because subscription revenue isn't providing the ROI the publisher desires, hence the switch to microtransactions to bring in the bucks. But then you tell the people who will be making all of those microtransactions that their money is basically just a gamble, and if an item fails to provide desired (promised?) result they are just SOL, buy it again and try it again.

The thing that really pissed me off is that I had to subscribe my account for another month, although I did not intend to, just so I could post this to the Customer Service forum. So since I'm a subscriber again I logged a ticket for Item Restoration containing all this information (#7337890).

Prior to this incident I was an unashamed fanboy, a hugely vocal supporter of the game. I was a person who followed every development rumor, press release, beta access, and essentially every little bit of game related information I could get my hands on. Now, I would have to say I'm on the verge of becoming an equally vocal and vehement detractor.

Sadly, it's not even really the money. The Cartel Coin value of the two failed account-wide unlocks amounts to what, $10 USD maybe?

It's the way I was treated over the whole thing. The lack of anyone attempting to address this problem, which I can guarantee I'm not the only one who is going to have this issue. The complete and utter lack of any form of customer service whatsoever being available to me simply because I've not comitted $15/mo. Regardless of the fact that money is money and they got some from me, unless it's promised monthly your money means nothing - it's the subscription that validates you as a person worth treating as a customer, apparently. The brushing off, the runaround, and the passing of the buck is what has pissed me off.

This is not the way to convert F2P players (like my wife) into subscribers. It's not the way to retain customer loyalty (like mine). In this day and age, when social media can cause something to go viral, stories like this are ones you want to resolve quickly and quietly before a $10 issue costs vastly more in lost revenue as people decide they don't want to face the same headache and play a different game.

The total monetary value of my complaint is what, 1550 Cartel Coins and $14.99 USD for the month worth of subscription I had to buy just to post this. So what, it comes to maybe $25 USD. Big deal. The ill-will generated by the handling of this issue is incalculable. It was a simple problem with a simple solution.

Hopefully, a CSR will actually read this wall of text and figure out the appropriate response.

Beesodd's Avatar


Beesodd
12.11.2012 , 11:35 AM | #2 Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. Next  
Thanks for the post, Grimmig. Sorry if some of the questions I have have already been covered, but it's a long & detailed post and I want to ensure that nothing is missed.

First of all, the unlocks purchased for your wife's account all took without issue, yes? That looks to be the case.

The next issue is the Crew Skill unlock. This unlock is for the skill slot itself and doesn't unlock any other crafting benefits. Sorry for any confusion in relation to this.

For the main issue, by any chance do you recall the character that you used the unlocks on, or even the approximate time that they were used. Also, did you get any error message when you tried to use them?

I'm sorry that you have had a poor experience, and hopefully we can make things right.

Thank you, and sorry again.

Beesodd | BioWare Customer Service - Forum Support| Find help for all EA Games at Answer HQ.

Grimmig's Avatar


Grimmig
12.11.2012 , 11:51 AM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by Beesodd View Post
Thanks for the post, Grimmig. Sorry if some of the questions I have have already been covered, but it's a long & detailed post and I want to ensure that nothing is missed.

First of all, the unlocks purchased for your wife's account all took without issue, yes? That looks to be the case.

The next issue is the Crew Skill unlock. This unlock is for the skill slot itself and doesn't unlock any other crafting benefits. Sorry for any confusion in relation to this.

For the main issue, by any chance do you recall the character that you used the unlocks on, or even the approximate time that they were used. Also, did you get any error message when you tried to use them?

I'm sorry that you have had a poor experience, and hopefully we can make things right.

Thank you, and sorry again.
The unlocks applied correctly to my wife's account yes, no issues there.

Thanks for the clarification on the crew skill unlock, that is appreciated.

I used the unlocks on the Jedi Covenant server, the character was Khalim, I was on Dromund Kaas standing in the Nexus Room Cantina by the quick travel post and it was between 01:00AM and 02:00AM CST on 12/09/2012. Perhaps as late as 02:15AM CST. There were no error messages via FlyText, popup dialog, or in the System text in the chat window. The character made the usual emote when using Cartel Market unlock items.

Thank you for your response, you've already done more by asking questions than anyone else.
How do I get my Cartel Market issue fixed?
Ticket: 1801447312 Resolved on 1/21/2013, issue began on 12/11/2012
I can't post or reply because I let my sub lapse. I can't log a ticket in game either.
M0-T0 closes web tickets telling me to call Support, they say log a ticket in game.

Thebusterboy's Avatar


Thebusterboy
12.11.2012 , 12:36 PM | #4
They do their best to make it look good on the forums but reply back to your post when you have had enough...

There are more pissed off customers then there are happy ones...

I unsubbed to a game I love because of fraudulent over pricing of cartel coins...

BW is a horrible company to deal with... I can't imagine working for them... those poor people...

Grimmig's Avatar


Grimmig
12.11.2012 , 12:45 PM | #5
With all due respect, BioWare is a fine company. It's EA that is the publisher and problem. I have a strong dislike for EA, but what can you do except try to be heard.
How do I get my Cartel Market issue fixed?
Ticket: 1801447312 Resolved on 1/21/2013, issue began on 12/11/2012
I can't post or reply because I let my sub lapse. I can't log a ticket in game either.
M0-T0 closes web tickets telling me to call Support, they say log a ticket in game.

Grimmig's Avatar


Grimmig
12.11.2012 , 04:41 PM | #6
CSRs, any additional information needed from me to resolve my issue? The last two tickets I opened on the 10th are still open and unanswered and I have heard nothing further since Beesodd's response.
How do I get my Cartel Market issue fixed?
Ticket: 1801447312 Resolved on 1/21/2013, issue began on 12/11/2012
I can't post or reply because I let my sub lapse. I can't log a ticket in game either.
M0-T0 closes web tickets telling me to call Support, they say log a ticket in game.

Grimmig's Avatar


Grimmig
12.12.2012 , 03:37 AM | #7
Ticket # 7309532 remains closed. This was the original ticket which received a copy/paste answer telling me I was SOL.

Ticket # 7325596 remains open at this time with no reply.

The last ticket I logged, after having to resubscribe just to post this thread on the support forum, # 7337890 was put into "Locked" status with no updates.

I have not received a response of any kind regarding my email to support@swtor.com

I've not bothered calling the support number again, an hour on the phone getting the runaround was quite enough.
How do I get my Cartel Market issue fixed?
Ticket: 1801447312 Resolved on 1/21/2013, issue began on 12/11/2012
I can't post or reply because I let my sub lapse. I can't log a ticket in game either.
M0-T0 closes web tickets telling me to call Support, they say log a ticket in game.

lukehstreet's Avatar


lukehstreet
12.12.2012 , 03:50 AM | #8
Grimmig, I feel your pain and frustration. I spent 1200 cartel coins and am still not able to access the content I paid for. I'm a subscriber because the F2P limitations just irritated the crap out of me. I have an open ticket with customer support that has received no answer. When I called in, they told me that because I was a subscriber, I needed to use the in game customer service. What a load of crap. Sorry that you're getting the run-around. I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone in this farce.

lukehstreet's Avatar


lukehstreet
12.12.2012 , 03:56 AM | #9
Also, I was perusing some of the terms of service and came across this gem...
I highlighted some interesting phrasing...
And remember to use caution when equipping your items or interacting with in-game vendors...

Item Restoration

Losing your items can be a frustrating experience and can happen for any number of reasons. We strongly encourage our players to be careful when trading with other players, selling to or buying from a vendor or deleting items from their inventory.

We will investigate the situation and will consider item restoration for eligible players if one of the following criteria is met:

The item has been verified as being lost due to a bug.
The item has been verified as being lost due to a game server issue.
In some cases if a player is scammed out of an item – see Scamming for further details.
In some cases if a player’s account was compromised and items were removed.
In some cases if a player accidently deleted their item.

Item restorations are done at the sole discretion of BioWare and are not guaranteed.

Any loss must always be verified in our databases. Due to the fact that data is only stored for a limited amount of time, we will only be able to consider restorations if we are notified within a reasonable time frame once the loss has occurred

Please also keep in mind that item restorations due to player error are very limited. While we will do our best to assist, there is no guarantee that we will be able to provide restoration in all cases. Please exercise caution when buying, selling, equipping, deleting, or modifying items.

Cerimon's Avatar


Cerimon
12.12.2012 , 04:32 AM | #10 Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. Next  
Greetings Grimmig,

Please review your ticket status.

Thank you for playing Star Wars: The Old Republic

Cerimon | BioWare Customer Service - Forum Support