Technologieunterstützung von Franz Kafka

 By Shamus Jun 23, 2009 53 comments

I was really worried there for a few months. The news that EA was dropping DRM made me a little uneasy, and the news that they were salvaging the beloved Brutal Legend and bringing it to gamers filled me with dread. As the unofficial EA nemesis, I watch my adversary closely in the news and look for chances to engage them in ineffectual rhetorical combat. Any news that they might be turning good is very bad for me. It’s like when an evil pro wrestler turns to the good side. Sure, audiences love the tale of redemption, but the good guy that used to be his nemesis is going to have a tough time finding a match. He can either fade into obscurity or turn evil and rekindle the rivalry.

I was starting to wonder if I was going to have to turn evil when someone forwarded an email to a tale of tech support gone so horribly wrong that it has become clear my earlier fears were unfounded. EA will continue to be a bountiful source of industry-wide evil for years to come, and this recent dalliance with integrity is just a ruse that will be unmasked at some dramatic point in the future.

Consider the story of one guy who bought a digital copy of Crysis to play on his 64 bit machine. The EA loader – Electronic Art’s comically inept attempt to counter Impulse and Steam – was screwing up the works. Originally, the user was able to run Crysis just find by directing Windows to run Crysis in 32 bit mode. But then EA introduced a change to make Crysis dependent on the EA loader, so that the game would not run without the loader. This caused the game to stop working, because (I think, it gets murky for me here) there was no longer any way to force the game into 32 bit mode. (Since the loader was now running the show.) The game broke when this change was introduced, and led to a lengthy exchange between the user and EA support. The tale is long, and filled with injustice and bureaucratic horrors.

Basically, they delayed for weeks. He had to wait a few days for each response from tech support, and each response was another copy / pasted “solution” that was obviously unrelated to the problem. He would protest, and draw their attention to the matter at hand. They would insist, and then he would acquiesce and perform the requested busywork. Then he’d re-open the issue and the cycle would begin anew without them ever speaking about the real problem or doing anything that might lead to a solution. Eventually the user reached the point six months after his digital purchase, and they informed him that he needed to re-download the game. But since his six-month download window had expired, he would need to buy the game again.

Yes, they tried to sell him a second copy of a game which they had themselves broken and for which they had never provided any useful support.

This is the tech support you’re supposed to contact if you run out of Spore installs. This is not the work of a lone, poorly trained tech support jockey. This is a lumbering machine of unthinking repetition and callous bureaucratic indifference that had the audacity to waste a man’s time for weeks and then demand more money while gesturing at the fine print of the EULA and shrugging. (And getting the details of the EULA wrong. Near the end of the war, the tech support guy is confusing a six-month ability to download a game with the ability to play the game, and ignoring the detail that the problem arose long before the download window closed. (AND not knowing that the window (which, again, was completely irrelevant) was for six months and not a year.))

Ah, EA. Welcome back, you evil sons of bitches. You really had me going for a minute.


20201353 comments. It's getting crowded in here.


  1. Magnus says:

    This is what really gets me about the new “no drm” stance, you still have to use things like the EA downloader, or Steam or whatever to update/activate/etc..

    To me it seems more like the new DRM is just like the old DRM.

    Also, remind me never to rely on EA tech support ever.

  2. I’d still call that evil, but I suspect that would more work for Shawn Michaels Heel Turn Evil (I’d post a link to the Shawn Michaels White Undertaker promo, but I can’t find a video of it).

    As far as companies that are really evil, Randy Orton Evil, Activision is probably at that point right now. This is not to say that we should dismiss when EA messes up like this, we should still harp on them for it, but, IMHO, if in any way the press harping on EA for being evil made them the less evil company they are now, than hopefully doing the same thing to Activision-Blizzard will work as well.

  3. lebkin says:

    @Magnus
    At least with the Sims 3, the game does not need to be activated. You can install the game and NOT EA Downloader, and everything runs fine. No internet is required, just the disk in the drive. There are, of course, bonuses for using EA Downloader, such as a free town and new items. But if EA disappears tomorrow, I will still have a working copy of Sims 3 forever. And that’s a real change.

  4. Jeff says:

    I wonder if it’s illegal for me to sell you something, break it, and then try to get you to buy a new one.

    (I sell you a car, then tell you to bring it into my official shop for maintenance (patch), break it, then say you need to buy a new one. After 6 months of you complaining.)

  5. Blackbird71 says:

    I had a similar experience with SOE’s tech support once. I spent a few weeks running in circles trying to get an issue fixed. I know my way around computers, and had done my homework, and was convinced that the problem was on their end. They continually sent me cut and paste responses to update drivers and open ports and all that, which were all completely useless. I normally try to make my requests calm, clear, and rational to make communication easier, but after a couple of weeks of this, I got pretty upset, and I sent a very irate response, clearly demonstrating my anger over their inability to even read any of the information I had been sending them. As soon as that happened, my support request was elevated to a tier where I got responses from an actual live and thinking person. My issue was fixed in two days, and yes, the problem was on their end.

    After that, any time I had to contact tech support or customer service, I kept my initial request civil and calm, but if their first response was the typical unhelpful drivel (which it always was), I would respond with an “angry” reply. Each time, the request would be immediately elevated, and my problem would be quickly solved. The key appeared to be that they served angry customers first. So, I don’t know if all companies run their support the same way, but keep this in mind: if you’re not getting any help from tech support, you may be able to artificially raise the importance of your request.

    Either that, or you’ll tick someone off who will flag your account and “lose” all your data; use at your own risk.

  6. zomglazerz says:

    For more info on this policy, from Software Informer:

    Users are given 6 months from the time of purchase to download a game. This period can be extended to two years, via the Extended Download Service, by paying a $6 US fee. This is unlike most other digital distribution platforms which allow users to re-download their purchases in the future without limitations. There currently is no option for you to make a personal backup of the downloaded software. This means after six months that if you need to reinstall the software/game that you must repay the full price. This practice of requiring a user to re-pay for an already licensed software with no recourse is probably illegal and ripe for a class-action suit.

  7. Factoid says:

    I bought C&C3 digitally through EA’s system and it was relatively painless, though granted I never had to do anything other than install it and load the game.

    Anyone know if EA games on Steam adhere to Steam’s unlimited download policies? Valve games you can download over and over forever, on as many machines as you want. I have a hard time believing EA allows this for their stuff.

  8. rbtroj says:

    Not defending EA, and I’m generally a fan of Steam, but in my experience Steam’s customer service is equally lacking. I just went through pretty much this same scenario with them, except that they didn’t attempt to sell me the same title twice. They did, however, refuse to refund me the purchase price (or give me a “store credit”) despite the fact that I have spent well over $1000 with Steam and have never once asked for a refund, even on games that work but suck (hey, caveat emptor). Edit: Sorry — should have mentioned that I went through the whole process of troubleshooting with no resolution, and I was the ball in a lengthy ping pong match between Steam and the developer. Someone at some point should have said enough’s enough and do what’s right by the customer.

    I like the convenience of Steam, and I rarely have problems with it, but when those problems require customer service I have found Steam as deficient in this area as most other “evil” companies you could name.

  9. Gothmog says:

    I love your use of German, Shamus. Well done.

  10. Rutskarn says:

    Seconded, Gothmog.

    Anyway, when I saw the terms of digital download for The Sims 3 on EA’s website, I knew that they hadn’t changed. From now on, unless it’s available on Steam, I ain’t touching aught from EA.

  11. Gahazakul says:

    I will now counter this evil act with what I see as a golden idea from EA. Sims 3, and the DRM that doesn’t exist.

    http://kotaku.com/5300447/pirated-copies-of-sims-3-are-a-demo-program

  12. Anaphyis says:

    I was extremely confused when I saw the German title appear in my feed reader and thought one of my other feeds slipped there through a bug.

    Anyway. A great rant there Shamus

  13. Alleyoop says:

    The Sims3 digital download comes with the bonus of Securom too. I’m so sick of parsing mile-long EULAs for how I’m possibly going to get screwed for buying something.

    And yeah, expecting you to buy something again that they broke sounds rather illegal to me. Their tech support is quickly becoming the springboard of legal action against them – wonder what’s up with those 5 class actions against EA regarding Securom? They could’ve avoided all that by just…fixing things instead of plowing ahead with their ears blocked.

    DRM issues aside, TS3 shipped just as broken as all the ‘pirates’ warned it was, btw. No patch in sight from EA, but the modding comm. has fixed it already, as usual. Some demo.

    EA seems incapable of learning in any consistently constructive way, since they remain convinced that paying customers will steal from them. Seems to be their underlying impetus for anything they do these days.

    Consumer trust doesn’t seem to enter into their lexicon or mindset, so no matter how much I want to believe them or forgive a screwup here or there, I can’t, at least not easily. It’s a cumulative thing that doesn’t get fixed in an interview or a new IP.

  14. Nick says:

    I have ALWAYS hated email tech support. I don’t think I have ever gotten an actual, helpful response from one of them, no matter the company.

    I wish there was a “no canned response please” option, like how you can generally go straight to a live person on phone support.

    Though, when I called blizzard for something, I had to sit through 2 minutes of “if you are calling about “blahblahblah” press one.” before it let me know what the live person button was.

    I HATE being treated like an idiot by default.

  15. Robyrt says:

    The guy in the article was going about it all wrong:

    1) Insisting he knows the problem and refusing to fill out the standard forms like dxdiag.exe. Even if he’s right, level 1 support HAS to have this info to push you up the chain.

    2) Insisting on a specific solution (mail him a physical copy) which probably isn’t company policy. How about “I’d like a refund”? Even as a call center temp without database access, I was able to do that one. Buy yourself a physical copy. Problem solved.

    3) Getting mad at people who are just doing their jobs. By the point that EA got really objectionable – telling him the download window had expired – I had already stopped listening.

  16. Carra says:

    Well, the two times I had problems with my Gamersgate purchases I got a proper answer the day after. So that’s a plus. Still not near as good as Steam where I had zero problems so far. No messing with cd keys there (gamersgate ran out of men of war cd keys this weekend…). And they have a clean interface. I enjoy using steam if it weren’t for their retarded 1€=1$ system. Only the gog.com service has been better so far. Can’t beat no DRM…

    I’m not really jumping to try out the EA loader. Stories like these don’t help much of course. But I haven’t tried it out personally so can’t really know if it’s any good.

    PS: the all-mighty google wants to type Technologie Unterstützung

  17. Alex says:

    So… is EA run by Hoggish Greedly from Captain Planet, or something?

    That’s too bad. I was really hoping to give Tim Schaefer and Jack Black some of my money. But then, I get the feeling any purchase of that product will go more towards EA than Double Fine, so I won’t feel too bad about it.

  18. radio_babylon says:

    for what its worth, i have never NOT been able to re-download anything ive bought from the EA store at any time i wanted to. i just verified this right now by firing up the EADM and re-downloading spore creature creator, which was purchased a little under a year and a week ago. i was also able to download black and white 2 which was over two years ago.

    if im not mistaken, if you read the fine print, EA only guarantees you will be able to re-download for 6 months. after that, all bets are off. that isnt the same as saying “YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO RE-DOWNLOAD AFTER 6 MONTHS!” the “two year” thing is “download insurance” that extends the guarantee out to two years… but again, is NOT saying “you will not be able to download after two years”… only that you definitely WILL be able to download for AT LEAST two years.

    dont get me wrong, im not an EA apologist, i hate those bastards as much as anybody, and ive only ever bought two things from their online service, mainly because they were cheap and i was too lazy to go to the store. they werent games i expected to be playing far off into eternity, so i wouldnt be broken up if i couldnt redownload. i just think its relevant that most people (ok, 99.999% of everyone ive ever encountered) mis-understand what exactly EA is (and isnt) promising with the download service and download insurance.

  19. Allerun says:

    @Robyrt

    Insisting he knows the problem and refusing to fill out the standard forms like dxdiag.exe. Even if he’s right, level 1 support HAS to have this info to push you up the chain.

    He did know what the problem was and spelled it out. There was no offer to escalate him up the chain. Not only that, but it was fairly late in the support to ask for a dxdiag log, that’s usually something that is requested initially.

    2) Insisting on a specific solution (mail him a physical copy) which probably isn’t company policy. How about “I’d like a refund”? Even as a call center temp without database access, I was able to do that one. Buy yourself a physical copy. Problem solved.

    He only started asking for a physical copy when they refused to address the problem with their faulty software. If they had fixed the EADM to where it had worked with the 64 bit version of Crysis, everyone would have been happy.

    3) Getting mad at people who are just doing their jobs. By the point that EA got really objectionable – telling him the download window had expired – I had already stopped listening.

    Sometimes getting mad at people is the only way things get done. It’s unfortunate, but the saying holds, “the squeaky wheel…”

    I’ve done the phone support thing, and I know the frustration from both ends. I hated getting customers on the phone that had spoken with a rep before me who was clueless, and then I get to calm them down and fix their problem. It sounds like EA either has a whole staff of clueless reps or he just hit a bad streak. I myself have had to get snippy with support and escalate it up the chain before my problems were fixed. The fact of the matter is the rep is there to fix problems, not to further aggravate the customer. If just one of the reps had recognized the problem and taken the initiative to escalate the ticket, it wouldn’t have gotten as far as it did.

    • Loonyyy says:

      Exactly this. Whenever I email tech support for my graphics card (It’s a litte buggered), I’m told to update the drivers. Which I’ve already done. Update the bios. It’s up to date, but updating bios is a dangerous procedure, why is that step one? And then finally, I get the response: Do not know. Case Closed.

  20. J Greely says:

    I once had to get tech support for a Japanese Mac game. Their support site was completely in Japanese, which I couldn’t read well at the time, so I sent them email, in English, with my problem. They replied two hours later with a clear, correct solution. I just looked back in my archives, and their answer was sent out at 7:48pm Japan time.

    Sadly, they went out of business about a year later. The game still works fine, though.

    -j

  21. B.J. says:

    This reminds me of something I went through with 3DO over Might and Magic 6. Basically the game didn’t like the obscure video hardware that was in my family’s computer and wouldn’t run. When I contacted tech support they kept giving me BS run-around answers that all amounted to “Update your drivers” no matter how many times I told them I had already done exactly that. Finally I was just begging and pleading with them just to admit the game didn’t support the damn video card and refund my money, but nope they kept parroting the same response forever. I was just a kid so I eventually gave up and managed to sell the game to a friend.

  22. SatansBestBuddy says:

    Personally, I feel they’re both (EA and the guy) in the wrong.

    His first letter was already pretty angry sounding, what with accusing EA of lying to him and all, and he was already asking for a retail copy, which isn’t likely to happen all but the most caring of companies, especially not for a game that he admits is working, it just wasn’t pretty enough.

    EA’s response wasn’t any better, just a long series of copy paste answers that weren’t helping anybody, before somebody on their end snapped and try to get him to pay twice for the same game, which is just nuts.

    Also, scrolling a little further down, it seems EA DID eventually send him a new retail copy of the game, with “a little something extra which I hope you like.”

    All over a game that ran fine in 32-bit mode, but not in 64-bit mode?

    God damn, this is both praise worthy and damning for both of them, and I’m at a loss to which is more to blame…

    • Shamus says:

      They sent him a retail copy?!?! That is a very non-evil thing to do.

      Wow. The post must have been updated since last I read it. (This was forwarded to me a while ago. It was supposed to go up at the start of last week-ish.)

      Very interesting. I think a simple refund was what the situation called for, but a retail copy and a bonus is a very nice resolution. It doesn’t get them out of the horrific copy/paste support, but I’ll give creidt where it’s due: I would not have expected that.

  23. ccesarano says:

    If EA ever becomes completely nice guys, you could always hate on Activision.

    I mean, they’re starting to piss me off more than EA has in the past decade and they’ve only been at it for a couple years.

  24. K says:

    I find it sad how many people are brainwashed into thinking that the support people are “only doing their jobs and therefore should not be shouted at if they fail”. If you do a job, and you do it badly, you deserve to be shouted at. It really is that simple. “My superior told me to do it” is not a valid argument, even during war (see Nürnberger Prozesse), only an excuse for lazy people.

    Ah, Now I found it. They replied to the forum thread which he started.

  25. radio_babylon says:

    unfortunately, i think “horrible copy-paste support” is all you can expect to get from an email support department. at least, *ive* never encountered anything else from email support…

    in fact, i know a guy who wrote a piece of software for a major technical support outsourcing provider that parsed inbound emails for keywords and sent an automatic reply (designed to look as much like a real person as a generated reply can be) in response. no human being would ever see your first email. only any subsequent emails would make it to human beings, and then only under certain circumstances (i dont know what all the criteria were). my understanding is that this is commonplace among email support companies and departments.

  26. RedClyde says:

    @Rutskarn(9): I used to think the same, until the Mirror’s Edge DLC came out and I discovered it doesn’t work with the Steam version. -_- I’ll keep buying the good games they make (ME, Dead Space, eventually ME2), but I think I’ll also download a pirated copy to circumvent crap like that.

  27. freykin says:

    radio_babylon: Not always. I provided email tech support for 6 years for a company, and we never did the copy paste thing. Granted, it was a small company, but still. I did my best to read everything the customer wrote and reply in kind.

  28. Neil Polenske says:

    To be honest this sounds like a guy pissing in the wind, but he came out of it with more than was expected, so I guess it’s a win for him.

  29. Julian says:

    I can tell how angry (or excited!) you are by the way you nest parentheses. You never do that when you’re elated.

    Nice to see he got a retail copy. Not only can he play the game, he has added the bonus of a box and manual (I never liked digital downloads for this reason: I love having a box with the game art on it and a big manual, or sometimes something nicer, like a map or an artwork booklet. Ah, Guild Wars, how I loved thee.)

  30. briatx says:

    “My superior told me to do it” is not a valid argument, even during war (see Nürnberger Prozesse), only an excuse for lazy people.

    *blink*

  31. MintSkittle says:

    This sounds like a topic for Experienced Points. The failings of modern tech support, including automated responses, cookie-cutter solutions, and the general run around.

  32. Lanthanide says:

    How can a “wrestler” be “evil” or “good”?

    Can’t say I’ve ever really understood wrestling though, just seems like redneck ballet to me.

  33. A different Dan says:

    Looks like the resolution post (the “we’ve sent you a retail package” one) is dated about 9 months ago. How long have you been sitting on this story, Shamus?

    Good to see that it’s been resolved, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call this an indication of non-evilness, seeing as how he had to resort to email carpet-bombing of executive inboxes to get to that point.

    • Shamus says:

      Wow. The story is older than I thought. It wasn’t updated. I must have stopped reading before the end. I read the thread early last week, and wrote the post two days ago, thinking I’d read to the end of the story. My bad.

  34. Tuck says:

    Wow. The post must have been updated since last I read it. (This was forwarded to me a while ago. It was supposed to go up at the start of last week-ish.)

    The whole thread is from 2008…when did you last read it?

    I don’t think this is a good reason to keep hating EA, it’s too old.

    You’ll have to find something else!

  35. acronix says:

    Not only he had to make a bombard run with e-mails to the support, he had to make a bombard run trough their own forum! I´m surprised EA didn´t “dispose” of him for this alone. And I´m surprised the “extra thing” they sent to him wasn´t a brainwasher or a wrestler to punch him every day.

  36. Derek K. says:

    “My superior told me to do it” is not a valid argument, even during war (see Nürnberger Prozesse), only an excuse for lazy people.

    *blink*

    ———–

    Yup. Godwin’s law jumped up pretty quick.

    @K: You’re right. The tech should have totally broken policy, and gotten written up. That’s what most of us would do. After 4-5 of these, getting fired is certainly no matter, compared to helping 5 people play a video game.

    It *is* a job for the tech, and they *do* have policies they have to follow. In fact, a big part of my job is making sure they do so, in many ways. Because what one rep thinks is the “right thing” to do is often deterimental to either the company as a whole, the other customers, or even themselves. If the entire department is done wrong, it’s not the job of the guy making $10 an hour to fix it. He can make suggestions, but companies that messed up aren’t going to listen.

    Here’s the thing about email support:

    It’s cheap. Moving away from email support would mean a few things: More cost, or less service, or longer waits, or less money for the company. I certainly see it from a different view than most (I’ve been in call centers for going on 15 years now, and been a workforce person for 7+), but I understand why companies do what they do. It’s not the tech’s fault the way it’s done. It’s the managers, the operations people, the workforce people, the quality people, etc. You can certainly let the tech know you’d like to complain about the process, and he should have a method to escalate. But expecting him to be able to drive changes like that only happens in a few very specific instances.

    I don’t like the 6 month EA thing. But in their defense, they call it out very clearly for you. And the last time I used it, you could make a CD copy of the game.

    I’d imagine that a lot of people feel free to torrent the ISO if they need it 8 months later, and didn’t make a CD. Whether that’s okay or not is up to you.

  37. Miral says:

    I (tried to) install EADM once, since Spore wanted it. The installer spawned three crash dialogs (“invalid operation and must be shut down”) but eventually did seem to install. It would quite happily download Spore patches on its own as well, and show a prompt in the game that a patch was available and would I like to run it? And then promptly crash (fatally) if I said that I did. (I could manually run the files that it downloaded just fine, though.)

    Eventually I got tired of the whole thing and uninstalled it. When the Sims 3 wanted to install it again, I refused. (And despite what lebkin said in #2, you can still get the extra town and toys without EADM.) And I plan to continue refusing to install it in the future.

    I’ve already resolved to never get any electronic download versions of EA games except via Steam or GOG, though.

  38. Derek K. says:

    I read the thread. Yeah, you start off an email like that, I’m not going to do a *damn* thing that’s not required of me to help you.

    Someone above complained about the IVR treating them like an idiot by default. This guy did the same thing. All of the first several paragraphs basically say “Whoever is reading this is going to be an idiot, I’m smarter than you, and your company sucks ass. However, I’m deigning to allow you to solve the problem I can’t solve for me.”

    Screw. You. Hippie. Even if your point is extremely valid, which it seems to be, I could give a flying fig about helping you in any way beyond my required process pieces. When you eventually complain to someone higher up, they’ll review my actions, and see that I did what I was supposed to do, and, bonus, you’re going to get more and more pissed as time goes on.

    Here’s a tip: Treat the person at the other end of the phone/email/web chat as a human being. If you found someone on the street that you wanted to get help from, you probably wouldn’t start with “Hey, dumbass, I know you’re unlikely to be able to tie your shoes, but can you help me lift this car off my legs?” Why do it to someone over the phone? Just because other people at his company had issues? Ah, okay.

    If you want to be escalated, ask. Give a valid reason, and you’ll probably get it, if you’re courteous, or you’ll get someone who will actually try to help you.

    Or you’re dealing with someone that makes .50 a day in a sweatshop, in which case your being angry is probably not quite that important in the grand scheme of his life.

  39. Ruroshen says:

    Hmmm…digging up an old story to discredit a previously-evil foe, and leaving off the resolution that indicates the foe had a change of heart at the end?

    Looks like you’re well on your way towards becoming “evil”, Shamus. Mean Gene Okerlund is going to have a pointed question or two for you between bouts at Summer Slam. ;)

  40. Zel says:

    It turns out all he had to do was to copy two files (gl.ini and paul.dll) to the Bin64 folder to get the game working fine in 64bit mode… The first reply of tech support, that mentions corrupted files, is actually pretty accurate as the problem came from these two missing one.

    Still, the game ran fine in 32bit, yet he managed to convince EA to send them a retail copy of the game. Is running the game in 64bit so much better that it warrants that much effort on his part, probably hours spent reading and typing email ?

    I don’t know about other countries, but in here if you buy your game at retail and it doesn’t work on your computer, you can be pretty sure you’ll never see a refund/exchange and will have to wait for a hypothetical patch or buy a new computer. All in all, I’m rather surprised they sent him a copy.

  41. Irandrura says:

    Yeah, I too am going with ‘the guy was at least partly in the wrong’, particularly since he immediately demanded a retail copy: and even claming that consumer law requires them to exchange it. I don’t know what UK consumer law is, but over here, it is precisely the sort of baseless threat that angry consumers like to throw out.

    *shrug* Whatever. EADM may be poorly designed, I don’t know, but if it’s just doing the same thing as the likes of Steam, in essence, then I don’t see a moral difference. This is why I stick to consoles, and determinedly avoid digital distribution.

  42. Jazmeister says:

    Consumer Law in the UK is that you have to throw out baseless threats and be angry.

  43. Jenx says:

    @Lanthanide
    The same way a character in a story can turn from “good” to “evil” and the other way around. Wrestling is mostly a show and the wrestlers are characters. That’s that.

  44. MuonDecay says:

    EA likes to play the righteous victim.

    “The pirates steal from us, so we need to steal from you. It’s only fair… for us”

    Not surprisingly it has all the sincerity of being mugged by someone in a $6,000 business suit who claims to be doing it out of necessity.

  45. Incognitia says:

    UK Consumer Law does, at the least, specify that whatever a company do voluntarily or as a goodwill gesture doesn’t affect your rights as provided by statute.

    I think you’re on shaky ground trying to use consumer law in terms of downloaded software however – you could end up being the hugely expensive precedent case…

  46. Joshua says:

    I worked in an email consumer support department for 3 years, and while the guy’s aggravated tone would probably get on my nerves too, the fact that the CSRs made no attempt to cater to what he was actually writing would not have gotten a nod of approval from my supervisors.

    We had “cut and paste” replies too(Word’s Autotexts), but the purpose of them was to save time in writing out the same long answers to the same questions dozens of times a day. Just because you used them was no excuse not to customize them by deleting irrelevant information or tweaking them to best suit the consumer’s question.

    If you didn’t have the information the consumer was asking for, you found someone who did. You know, they do have customer service training that teaches you ways to deal with escalated customers using such simple methods as empathy and actually LISTENING to their complaints.

  47. Allerun says:

    @Joshua: Exactly. Good reps are ones who can think on the job and not just parrot what they have been told. And the fact that the guy was promised to be able to play a game before the rest of the world by pre-ordering and then not getting delivery of that promise tinted the flavor of his initial email.

  48. Wow. The Monty Python Parrot Sketch recreated in real life with a digital copy of Crysis.

    I would guess I won’t be able to buy Brutal Legend now since EA will probably sneak some DRM on there. More immediately, I was thinking of getting Spore + Galactic Adventures on Steam, but this story has made me think twice and I definitely need to investigate first to make sure I’m not ripped off.

  49. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So,the moral of the story is:When dealing with EA,never forget the magic word “Lawsuit”.

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