How Not to Deal With Player Billing Issues

Billing issues

No helpful customer service representative for this player.

Here’s a funny/sad/shocking (delete as appropriate) MUD log that came my way recently.

The MUD in question has a two tiered subscription model where new subscribers pay at a lower rate than old players. The administration of the game track this across characters so if you’ve ever been on the higher rate with one character you still have to pay that even if you start a new character. In the log it looks like the player has been charged the higher rate but is disputing that they have played before.

I’ve edited out prompts and command echo and other spam so it’s just the conversation. Enjoy.

You tell Genesis, “Hey, I’m still having problems with my account.”
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “Hi there. Have you e-mailed”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “(cc to me also)”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “I can light a fire to make sure whatever the issue, it’s handled today”.
You tell Genesis, “Yes, and they told me the charges would be refunded. Then several days went by and they were not refunded. And now today there is yet another charge. I need the money to be refunded ASAP and this problem to be permanently fixed.”
You tell Genesis, “I’m geting close to having to unsubscribe and close my bank account.”
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “How odd.”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “Oh yes, the ******** mix up.”.
You tell Genesis, “I know. My mom is getting very unhappy with this.”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “And she is DEFINITELY not ********?”.
You tell Genesis, “What? My mom?”
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “It’s so odd. The system insists you guys are the same! But like I say, if you pen the mischarges today I will make sure the credit not is sent your way TODAY also.”.
You tell Genesis, “I am 100% not ********. I verified my information with Aster.”.
You tell Genesis, “Can I email it to you directly – a list of all the mischarges and dates?”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “Email accounts@avalonpublications but also email and I will make sure it is dealt with today for 100%.”.
You tell Genesis, “Okay, I will be watching my bank account. Also, I need you to guarantee this won’t continue.”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “Well, I would suggest you unsubscribe after the credit notes appear and then each time you run out of credits, just subscribe, get the credit, then unsubscribe … So you don’t remain on system. If you’re worried.”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “I have flagged you as absolutely a new / non-2nd / truesubscriber.”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “The truesubscriber flag hadn’t been set so that may be why it was pegging you to ******** each time.”.
You tell Genesis, “Why are there so many charges – far more than 1 per month?”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “Debt leftover.”.
You tell Genesis, “What debt? ******** had debt?”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “Yes.”.
You tell Genesis, “So that is being charged to “her” at certain intervals?”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “I presume so, if there’s a debt. Though it may have given up by now.”.
You tell Genesis, “So, what will happen if there are more charges to my account?”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “Won’t happen.”.
You tell Genesis, “Are you sure?”.
You tell Genesis, “What did you change so it won’t happen anymore? The truesubsriber flag?”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “Yes. And account note. But accounts@ will have to do the rest – credit notes etc”.
You tell Genesis, “Ok, but I’ll be looking for that money back in my account today as you said it will b. E”.
You are divinely moved, by the fathomless will of Genesis.
A glowing rune staff is the last thing to catch your attention.
Halls of Divine Judgement.
Here among the airy, vaulted halls of Mount Olympus is a secluded chamber where mortal feet are suffered to tread among the meeting place of the divine ones. No seats or tables adorn the marble floored chamber, but about you, caught in grand, lifelike poses, are statues of the great deities of Avalon – even frozen in cold stone, the piercing eyes and eternal effortless youth of the Gods is a daunting and amazing sight. Mortals are brought to this hallowed place to bear witness before the Gods and Goddesses of Avalon, to speak their mind, or to answer the immortal ones. The still air about you is fresh and exhilarating, conducive to fine oration and the gentle scent of nectar frees you, at least for a time, from the cloying cares of mortal life. There is a distinct feeling of privacy here. Genesis, the god of time is here, resplendent in his divine alkar. His corona is blinding, impossible to countenance, yet his face can be glimpsed – if only for stolen moments – and an expression of barely-concealed merriment wears plain on his features. There is something profoundly beyond your reckoning about the Creator and though his grandeur of stature is a match for any of the divinities it is a sense beyond the visual that resonates a glimpse of something greater, something frighteningly ambiguous; a notion, could it be, of the world, of time and life and all eternity… In the hands of an unsafe omnipotence. You turn away hurriedly and cast aside the disquieting thoughts.
You cannot spot any exits!
You tell Genesis, “I sent the email, and copied you in.”.
Genesis, the god of time says, “I tell you what ********.”.
Genesis, the god of time says, “I shall ensure you’re entirely funded for every penny you spent on Avalon.”.
Genesis, the god of time says, “And you can inform me the moment it all hits your account.”.
Genesis, the god of time says, “At which point, I will wipe your ass off this game and ban your cheating site permanently.”.
Genesis, the god of time says, “Cuz it’s obvious you or your skank mother are ********.”.
You say, “No, I’m not.”.
Genesis, the god of time says, “Meantime, enjoy being a stone statue and don’t waste my time with any more tells.”.
You feel a strange hardening of the limbs and watch in helpless horror as your body becomes stiff and turns to stone…
Genesis, the god of time spits a tight ball of phlegm at you.
A clock chimes in the distance and Genesis, the god of time is gone.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “I’ve wiped your card record too so you won’t ever be billed again, except as ********.”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “Please email accounts / genesis and soon as you get the credit for all ********’s payments, you can let me know and I’ll wipe your character and nullify your inventory. Then site ban you so you never have to worry about Avalon again.”.
Genesis, the god of time tells you, “Ain’t we kind?”.
You have been cursed with a disfavour by Genesis for three Avalon days.
You feel somewhat uneasy about being here.

I’m not sure that was the best way to handle a customer who was clearly agitated about unexpected charges to their credit card, but he did at least say he’d refund them in full.

Personally I think a two tier billing structure is just asking for trouble. If you’re going to cut your rates for new players you should do the same for all players so you don’t run into problems like this.

[Update 09.07.13] I’ve been told that the billing issues were resolved satisfactorily and the affected individual remains an Avalon player. Character names redacted.

2 comments on “How Not to Deal With Player Billing Issues

  • Indomitus  says:

    I’m not honestly surprised. I’ve seen Genesis in some of his… rage moments. Customer service lacks. Very nice log you have here. Sad that this happens

  • gth  says:

    A subscription model guaranteed to cause drama.

    Gut feeling says credit card matched – i.e. it became obvious when scheduling refunds that it was the same account, so they came back pissed at all the lying, but refunded anyway. I’ve heard card processing can get messy for smaller merchants, especially multiple complaints / charge-backs, etc.

    It’d be interesting to hear Avalon’s comments on the log.


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