My online life has continued to be hampered by the maliciousness or ineptitude of others.
The PSN was attacked by hackers earlier in the year, I feared for my bank account - thankfully nothing happened, but I did go around changing important passwords.
My XBL account was abused less than two months ago, where I had to cancel my card and changed my important passwords again. I’m still awaiting the last piece of money from Microsoft, but it was noted I would wait a full billing cycle from the investigation closing, so I keep an eye out for £17 in the next month.
The same weekend they gave me back my account I checked my bank account by happenstance and found that I was in the red, I saw two questionable payments taken by GameDigital (aka Game.co.uk) for £47.99 and £76.98 on 13/10/11.
Strange amounts and I had no emails from Game that week to inform me what they were for. I should have had only one payment that week for Arkham City at £39.99, which showed later on my statement, so I reasoned it could not have been that.
As it was Sunday I couldn’t speak to anyone at Game, so instead I researched every purchase I had made and found the payments could have only been overcharges.
One order which included Arkham City had two other games at £37.99 and £38.99 (£76.98) Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (paid for and received in February) and Dragon Age II (paid for and received in March), no other combination of games made the amount possible.
Another more recent order had WWE 12 (due out soon) and Deus Ex (paid for and received in August), the only game I bought this year priced at £47.99. The only anomaly was that according to my statement Game only took £42.99 that day, but I had no other orders that went above £39.99 so my reasoning was still sound.
I compiled all the dates from my statements of the duplicate payments and my original payments, the Order IDs of the games I believed were charged again for and dates of the emails from Game confirming payment had been taken.
Their website only gives you a form to fill in when you want to contact them. So I filled it in and sent it off asking them to call me.
The day passed with no response, so I stayed behind after work and found their customer service email address, I then compiled a more detailed exposition of what had occurred and sent the email, I also put it into the website form and sent that.
The day went by with no response, rather than send another email I dug around for any kind of contact number and during my lunch break called them. What a chore, you have to tell the robot you don’t want to hear about deals or returns or stores nearby, then when you finally get to press an option to speak to someone I was on hold for several minutes without sound, I actually thought I had been disconnected.
Someone answered, a new starter no less (let’s call him Newbie, not n00bie), I went through the verification to get my details up and explained the problem. He looked into it, got so far before finding out he had to speak to someone internal and promised to call me back, maybe eager to impress, he gave me his name and said to call him in two hours if he didn’t get back to me.
To his credit he did call within the hour and informed me the £76.98 looked like it was an overcharge for the games I mentioned, but he needed proof that the money had left my account, so I needed to provide statements. We agreed that that PDF statements would be fine (I don’t have paper statements) and I emailed him the three dates money left originally and the overcharges from 13/10/11.
Before the end of the day I had an email telling me I would get my refund for £76.98 processed and they would investigate the £47.99, I naturally assumed because of the price difference, which I had actually mentioned in my email and on the phone, so I wasn’t hiding the price was wrong.
I had an email from another member of the customer service (let’s call her ICS) team. She apologised for the two day delay in getting back to me, and that ‘this was not Game’s usual response time’ a phrase that I would become very familiar with. According to her records my complaint seemed to be dealt with by her colleague and to contact otherwise.
I thanked her for the response and that my complaint had been looked into, but far from done. I told her who I had dealt with and that I was awaiting a response on the investigation and if she had any news.
Another email from ICS asking me for the Order ID related to the £47.99, I sat there a little stunned, there wasn’t an Order ID I could bring up I thought because there wasn’t an order related to the charge, not definitively I mean, I had hypothesised and reasoned this was for Deus Ex, but there was no proof it was for this other than a price tag.
I went down the email and sat there at the bottom plain as day was my email from Monday, not some form response that may have messed up the format or cut it short, it was my exact email: all that information, all that detective work on my side, every date and Order ID, my theory of the £47.99 and reasoning, all ignored apparently.
Instead of responding right away, I chose to email Newbie to see if he had an update for me, he knew more about the situation than ICS anyway.
I check my bank to find the £76.98 had been refund, partial success!
I emailed ICS back, instead of being annoyed, I just cut and paste the section dealing with the £47.99 from my original email, but take the opportunity to complain about another problem I now have.
I noticed on my bank account that £49.99 was taken in payment for Uncharted 3 Special Edition on Friday. In the weeks leading up to release I had 13 emails over 7 days informing me the price would had dropped to £44.99 and “Because of the GAME.co.uk Preorder Price Promise, your order will be updated and you will only pay the new, lower price - even if it goes up again before the release date.” and that a week later I received another 6 emails over 3 days informing me the price had dropped(?) to £47.99, neither of which held true as I paid the full price anyway.
I understood the £44.99 may have been a mistaken if sent once, but 13 times is an excessive and annoying.
I get an email back from Newbie, he had spoken with the people involved and found that no one had chased anything up for me. I appreciate that he actually admits that.
Newbie emails me directly with the response from the Web Admin Team (the people in control of online payments, now known as WAT), he doesn’t lead into it, he just forwards it directly to me and includes his back and forth explaining my case to WAT - I’m not sure if he chose not to type because he did not know what to say. I certainly could not believe what I read.
The email lists my recent payments taken by Game and the Order IDs related to them, I cross reference each one and I realise I was right all along, the £76.98 was for MvC3 and Dragon Age II, and it shows the £47.99 payment on 13/10 was for Deus Ex. I was right. I should be happy.
But before all this is the opener:
Below are the payments showing for this customer since September. The only overcharge was the £76.98 which was refunded.”
If I were in Metal Gear Solid I’d have a ! above my head.
My response to Newbie was tactful, due to my job I deal with angry people a lot and when you let your emotions run you don’t explain yourself well enough. I certainly was not angry with Newbie, he was the middle man, but I was pissed off at WAT.
So I wrote it out, re-read it, wrote it again, re-read it and it was only sent after two people read my response and agreed I explaining myself perfectly; both were critical that I wasn’t being angry enough on the matter.
It thanked him for getting back to me and unfortunately I disagreed with WAT. Since my 24/10/11 email I had repeated that the £47.99 payment could only be for Deus Ex and this email from WAT confirmed it was for Deus Ex.
That Order ID, if they looked into it, would reveal a critical flaw in their investigation. Allow me to explain.
I ordered Deus Ex on 24/08/11, I had emails throughout that day to confirm the payment had been taken and the item had been despatched, I had sent Game my bank statement showing payment had been taken 24/08/11.
Why was it then that they had only looked back as far as September? Of course they could only see a single payment for the Order ID if they had chosen not to go back to the month where the original payment I had been taken.
As I had no response on my problem with Uncharted 3 SE being paid at full price I included that on the email, but I also told him I had flagged this elsewhere, as from my side I’d rather he dealt with the Deus Ex issue.
I forwarded my last email to Customer Services as I had no response by that point, I asked that whoever opened the email took the time to read the email in full and take in what I was typing as I had used the same information over and over again and I was tired of repeating myself. I foolishly tried to use logic, I ordered Deus Ex on 24/08/11, it had a worldwide release date of 26/08/11, and I received it 27/08/11. why would they wait two months to take payment for it? Why would Game despatch Deus Ex without taking payment? It was naive of me to think reason would work, but I was trying to treat them like human beings.
I again included my issues with the Uncharted 3 SE payment being full price when it should have been either £47.99 or £44.99.
I then added that due to my constant back and forth checking Order IDs and such I had noticed that my resolved order for MvC3, Dragon Age II and Arkham City was showing as ‘Unshipped’, aware that this may have been the reason why I was overcharged in the first place, I asked they flag all items as ‘Shipped’ and I had them in my possession. I toyed with the idea of taking photos and attaching them to the email, but that would have been mocking, justified, but mocking.
I did take the opportunity to remind them that I have been very collected about the issue up to this point and that I have held back turning these emails into inflammatory rants. I wanted to present the facts, not opinion, and have this resolved soon.
This was again naive. I even tried to get over that other than this incident I had no issues with Game, such a fool.
Later that day I receive an email informing me that I am being refunded £5 from Game. No explanation why, I assumed it was for Uncharted 3 SE, meaning they decided to roll over on the mistake and go with the much lower price of £44.99 because despite being cordial and calm, I was probably looking like a powder keg to these people. I was happy though, maybe we’re back on a roll again and I had finally gotten through to someone.
ICS emails me to confirm the £5 was for Uncharted 3 SE (partial-success), but unfortunately for my other issue I got this:
I can confirm order number 116068848 is for Deus Ex and WWE 12 Rock Edition. The WWE is on preorder for delivery for its release date so at present only £47.99 should be showing from your account. We took payment for Deus Ex on 13/10/2011.
I think my head hit my desk at this point. Really? She could redundantly confirm what I had confirmed already? I got that information from WAT’s email to Newbie, and I told you that it was for Deus Ex. I distinctly remember because I went to my email still attached below this response and there it is! With the dates and details and everything they needed!
I replied that afternoon. I confirmed the email I received 11/11/11 regarding the £5. That was about the only nice thing I had to say on the matter.
I reproduced her words and told her the problem wasn’t about confirming Order IDs, it was that payment was taken on 13/10/11 when I had repeatedly stated it the game had been paid for on 24/08/11. I pressed that no one seemed to be reading that part no matter how many times I repeated it, nor were they checking what the payment taken on 24/08/11 was for if it wasn’t for Deus Ex.
I had decided the best course of action was to make PDFs of every email involved with the order and attached them, for each attachment I explained why I was including them: the Order confirmation for Deus Ex and WWE 12, the Preorder confirmation that explained payment would be taken for Deus Ex, the Despatch confirmation that stated payment was taken successfully and the item was despatched and finally my bank statement for the original I had sent 25/10/11 and had been forwarded on to WAT the same day.
I remained neutral in explaining it, but I will admit that I attacked the logic being enforced on me. That despite all these emails I had attached, there was nothing from Game for the 13/10 payment, I had no emails telling me why it had taken two months for Game to take payment for a game ordered, confirmed paid for and despatched in August.
ICS emails me. After the experience so far, it comes as no surprise.
I have had a further look into this for you with our web team. They have advised that they payment of £47.99 for Deus Ex has only been taken once in October.
If it was taken again, please can you send us a bank statement and we will have a look for you
I was in the warehouse when my phone buzzed and I read the email, I remember my boss coming out to see if I was okay because apparently my “FOR ♥♥♥♥’S SAKE!” reached the office.
I reattached the same PDFs from the email 14/11/11 and re-explained very curtly what each represented, why I was attaching them, that all the information they could ever need was on my email 14/11/11 and every email going back to October. I also jabbed in that the statement she was after had been sent to Game 25/10/11 (three weeks ago) and 14/11/11 (less than 24 hours ago).
ICS emails me again.
I have had a further look for you and the order number with the issue is 116068848 (previously 09731229/p).
I can confirm that you were charged once in August for this and once in October.
I am so sorry for this. Once has been refunded and this will appear in your account shortly.
Gonna admit to you all now, I was a kinda sad, I had spent the night before talking to my brother and we’d discussed this whole thing. I was angry at this point, really angry, if I had another stupid email I was going to start using inflammatory words like “Fraud” and “Police matter” because someone from WAT had plainly refused to look into August payments no matter how many times I had mentioned it.
A small part of me had thought the £42.99 had been a mistake, THE mistake, the game should have been £47.99. That voice in my head by this point had evolved into a marching band declaring “They deleted the record and covered their tracks, someone has stolen from me.” Ludicrous? You’re talking to the guy that got XBL hacked so someone could buy FIFA 12 DLC for an online player trading card game ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥, I have no illusions how low people will sink now.
I was all sorts of angry and had spent my commute thinking of what to say, not write, I was going to speak to someone about this whole debacle.
Is this a full-Success now? Well, I have yet to see the refund, but it did take four days to process last time, so I’m guessing Monday/Tuesday before it shows up. I refuse to respond until I see the amount in my bank account.
So despite this whole thing, hopefully, being behind me now, I am still angry about two things:
1/ No one has explained how this happened. No they have just apologised that I was overcharged three times for three separate orders. No one has mentioned if this was computer or human error. I have yet to receive any of these games again in the post, so it does not seem they were listed as being “Unshipped”.
So we then assume they have been listed as “Not paid”, let us ignore that they have systems place to refuse delivery based on failure to take payment and question what bizarre mission statement gives them the right to take payment from an account without even attempting to notify customers that “It appears we haven’t taken money for these games, we will do so now!”
2/ The simple, headache-inducing fact that, following my Tuesday 25/10/11 call, I had to batter Customer Services with the same information over and over and over again.
Now I know “Customer is Always Right” is a line fed to the masses to make them seem like they should be treated special-like when in reality customer service live by the mantra “Store Policy is GOD”. But when the consumer is lawyering the ♥♥♥♥ out of you with facts, figures, dates, emails and bank statements that all tell you to look at THIS date to confirm if the customer is right or wrong, and then you try to defend why you won’t refund the customer with evidence from THAT date and then having another member of staff parrot that again and again without even realising THIS date and THAT date aren’t related and makes the whole division look like a bunch of inept morons that couldn’t form a sentence from the children’s book “The Little Engine That Could”.
I joked that I could not wait for the Feedback Form, which I highly doubt will be sent. It wouldn’t have be a vicious rip into Game, as the person I spoke to was very helpful, unfortunately the people around him are just ignorant to Hell and I wanted to get that point across that if they had actually read what was clearly written this would have resolved this issue sooner, rather than simply assuming I was wrong.
I am never wrong.
Nothing gives me greater pleasure on a bad day than reprogramming a once docile, innocent bot, transforming it into an unfiltered killing machine and setting it loose on humanity.
Oh and hot chocolate cake with ice cream.