I think Blizzard make great products. I am a huge fan of the Warcraft series and I will never forget the countless nights I stayed up when being a college student, just finishing one more level in Starcraft. When World of Warcraft came along I was among the first ones to be part of the European Beta and I kept on playing for 4 years.
My problems with Blizzard started when I tried to end my subscuption to World of Warcraft. I had basically stopped playing during the first months of 2008 and switched over to Age of Conan instead. My subscription was due to end just before summer holidays but it was automatically renewed since I hadn’t cancelled it. Since I basically didn’t play anylonger I went into my account and canceled the two subscriptions I had to avoid any further unwanted payments. I had it set to a 6 months subscription so it was a considerable amount of money.
I kept on playing Age of Conan and when Warhammer Online came out in September 2008 I switched over. I didn’t touch my World of Warcraft accounts at all even though they were paid, so when December of 2008 came and I saw that a payment had automatically been issued to Blizzard I raised my eyebrows in surprise. Could it be that I had forgotten to cancel the subscriptions after all?
Well, having played AoC and WH Online I figured I might as well see what WoW looked like now when another year had passed. At this time Wrath of the Lich King had been released so I went ahead and upgraded one of my accounts. After having done this I remembered that I had a couple of characters on my other account that I wanted to use too but I was not prepared to pay for yet another upgrade since I didn’t know if I would keep playing WoW.
So I figured I would try the character transfer service. Note, all this was done the very same day; Both accounts had been renewed (unwillingly) and one of them upgraded to WotLK. I sent in a request to move my characters from the non-upgraded account to my newly upgraded. The answer I got was the following:
Thank you for your email. Your account is not eligible due to not having the same upgrade as the account your transferring from.
Blizzard Entertainment Europe
I didn’t quite understand that response. Did it mean that I can’t move characters from my non-WotLK account to my newly upgraded one? Or did they mean that I am not the owner to one of them?
I sent the following response:
So if I would have made the transfer before buying WoTLK for one of the accounts the transfer would have gone through? You must admit that the reason specified does not really make sense, and I ask you to review this request again.
In reply I got this:
Thank you for your E-mail. Unfortunately the billing support department cannot make any exemptions to the current policies. We advise you to visit our suggestions forum. All suggestions are taken into account for any future amendments to Blizzards policies.
Blizzard Entertainment Europe
So a character transfer was not possible since I was a good paying customer and had bought WotLK on one of my accounts. If I had first requested the character transfer and then upgraded there would have been no problem. Remember, this action from Blizzard is not due to technical issues, it is due to them having a policy saying that character transfers cannot be made between accounts with different upgrade levels. Not even when the accounts have not been touched yet. In addition there is no way to downlevel the account to make the character transfer.
This is such a horrible customer experience that any respectable company would have been horrified hearing about it. Blizzard on the other hand keep their contacts as anonymous as they can be and there is no way you can escalate an issue up the management chain.
I was so pissed off by this incident that I completely stopped playing. I stopped immediately and went in and canceled my newly upgraded account as well as the other one.
Let’s move forward 6 months. Around summer time I receive a bill from my credit card company saying that Blizzard had billed me for another 6 months. I just couldn’t believe this, not again! I went into my WoW accounts and the subscription was showing as active. What is this, can I have forgotten it anyhow? Nothing to do but to pay but this time I made sure it was canceled.
Another 6 months went along and guess what…another bill from Blizzard. Another 6 months had been billed but this time I knew it couldn’t be true. There must be something very wrong here. I’ve not even logged into the account since January 2009, surely they must understand there is something wrong and refund the money.
I sent an email to Blizzard saying:
This is the second time that my account has been debited for a 6 month period even though I have removed my subscription already 1½ years ago. Each time I’ve logged in and removed the subscription but somehow it keeps getting enabled. If you check my activity you will see that the account has not been logged in for over a year.
Please refund this money since there seems to be something seriously wrong here.
At first instance things were looking good. The request was put forward to the billing department who then came back with this response:
Thank you for your email. Unfortunately we will not be able to provide you with a refund on the account due to the fact that there was significant playtime on the subscription in question. The account could have been cancelled via phone, email or the account management pages before the billing date.
If you have any further questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us again.
Significant playtime? Of course, the account was created 2004 and I was a VERY active player for 4 years. So, the bottom line is, Blizzard will never refund money on accounts that have been used. It does not matter if the account has been used during the current subscription period or not. There is only one way you can make sure Blizzard will not commit this fraud and that is to tell your credit card company to put a restriction on Blizzard so they never allow payments to them from your card.
It is so sad to see a former talented company sink this low and start scamming their loyal customers. Unfortunately Blizzard are so big that they get away with it, nobody can afford to take on the fight.