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VZBV - warning letter to ESO

spizzspizz BlackForrestPosts: 2,587Member

The german Federal Association for Consumer Protection (VZBV) did admonish ESO due to their subscription practice and the whole case is currently on their front page.

"The hint about the free 30 day gaming time before the purchase is misleading. Consumer which do the purchase agreement are in the believe to use the free 30 day gaming time at start of the game. Therfore ESO got encouraged to stop promotion in this form and to give a cease and desist declaration enforced by penalty until the 24th of April 2014.

Somone who is offering free 30 day gaming time is not allowed to hide a subscription and to force customer for payment and payment infos beforehand.  "

 

http://www.surfer-haben-rechte.de/cps/rde/xchg/digitalrechte/hs.xsl/75_3092.htm (just google translate it)

 

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Comments

  • ViadricViadric Ripley, OHPosts: 151Member
    DId shit just hit the fan? 
  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member
    Awesome - bought time some real regulation steps in.
  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member
    Hahaha. Okay. Thanks for the link, I needed a good laugh this morning the way things are going :)

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • AzzrasAzzras Loganville, GAPosts: 389Member Uncommon

    So it's saying that ZOS saying you get 30 days of game time included is wrong?

    I guess they should also include every other sub based MMO in existence.

     

    image
  • bobfishbobfish SouthamptonPosts: 1,688Member

    Basically, ZOS's wording wasn't clear enough that a subscription is required to play ESO beyond the initial 30 days. Nor was it clear that some banks do not accept zero sum payments for card authentication or that you needed the value of the subscription in your account even if your bank did accept zero sum payments for card authentication.

     

    This isn't a big deal, the VZBV has been clamping down on online/mobile games a lot in the last few months. This particular warning/order is very minor compared to some of the actions taken against other companies. Though I am unaware of anyone being fined or told to change policy/game by them, it has all been related to marketing/communication.

  • DistopiaDistopia Baltimore, MDPosts: 16,899Member Uncommon
    IS that the same committee that regulated F2P recently, saying games with pay-walls can't call themselves F2P?

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

    It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  • bobfishbobfish SouthamptonPosts: 1,688Member
    Originally posted by Thane
    [mod edit]

    Essentially, yes, as ZOS's business practice is fine, they're just rubbish at communicating things correctly and that isn't going to change regardless of what anyone says or does, because it's just incompetence.

     

    Even if ZOS did miraculously become the more literate MMO company ever, it wouldn't change anything, people would still complain about the subscription or the pre-order or the downtime or whatever else it is that people have an issue with.

  • AzzrasAzzras Loganville, GAPosts: 389Member Uncommon
    Maybe it would be easier if all future games created in America don't release in EU?

    image
  • bobfishbobfish SouthamptonPosts: 1,688Member
    Originally posted by Distopia
    IS that the same committee that regulated F2P recently, saying games with pay-walls can't call themselves F2P?

    No, that was an EU committee, though VZBV might've been part of it, it was initiated by OFT a UK government agency. VZBV has been doing similar work though, aiming to improve the clarity of information provided to the consumer to ensure ethical and open business practices and allow for informed consumer decision making.

     

    It's more about protecting children and idiot parents though from what I've seen so far.

     

    EDIT: It is worth noting that the EU has a lot of strong consumer focused laws, where the weight of the law lies with the consumer rather than the corporation. I don't know much about US law in this respect, but I believe it is more corporate focused there. What we've been seeing over the last 12 to 18 months is EU agencies evaluating digital products and services and identifying how the existing laws apply to them. They aren't making new laws, they're just pointing out that the corporations have been ignoring the law because they thought "digital" wasn't covered by it. This VZBV thing is just another example of how ZOS failed to meet requirements laid out in existing laws.

  • BetaBlockaBetaBlocka WrexhamPosts: 222Member
    Originally posted by bobfish
    Originally posted by Distopia
    IS that the same committee that regulated F2P recently, saying games with pay-walls can't call themselves F2P?

    No, that was an EU committee, though VZBV might've been part of it, it was initiated by OFT a UK government agency. VZBV has been doing similar work though, aiming to improve the clarity of information provided to the consumer to ensure ethical and open business practices and allow for informed consumer decision making.

     

    It's more about protecting children and idiot parents though from what I've seen so far.

    The thing I find distasteful is that the game costs lets say for the sake of arguement £50.

     

    The sub is lets say for the sake of arguement £14.99.

     

    The game offers 30 days free game time upon purchase. So, can I access the game and use my 30 days with just £50 in the bank?

     

    Or do I in fact need to have £65 in the bank to access the 30 days free game time that is advertised for £50?

     

    It seems to be the latter, which is borderline false advertising imo.

  • DistopiaDistopia Baltimore, MDPosts: 16,899Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by bobfish
    Originally posted by Distopia
    IS that the same committee that regulated F2P recently, saying games with pay-walls can't call themselves F2P?

    No, that was an EU committee, though VZBV might've been part of it, it was initiated by OFT a UK government agency. VZBV has been doing similar work though, aiming to improve the clarity of information provided to the consumer to ensure ethical and open business practices and allow for informed consumer decision making.

     

    It's more about protecting children and idiot parents though from what I've seen so far.

    Ah okay gotcha, thanks for the info.

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

    It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  • CrazKanukCrazKanuk Elmira, ONPosts: 2,495Member Uncommon

    I agree that clarity is nice, but I see this on Amazon:

     

    "30 DAYS UNLIMITED GAME PLAY INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE. VALID PAYMENT METHOD OR PAID GAME TIME CARD FOR SUBSCRIPTION AND PERSISTENT INTERNET CONNECTION REQUIRED.

    Acceptance of End User License Agreement, Terms of Service, and Privacy Policy, and account registration using enclosed one-time use activation code, required to play. Must be 13+ to register. The 30 days of unlimited game play begins when you select your preferred subscription plan on store.elderscrollsonline.com. Subscription fees only charged for game access after the first 30 days, subject to cancellation by you at any time. No refunds or credits for partial months. If you choose to pay for your subscription with a prepaid non-recurring payment method or with a Game Time Card you will be charged at the time you select the subscription plan."

     

    Personally, I gave my Credit Card and it never charged me. IDK anything about banks, etc., but that's the bank policy, not ESO. Also, we've got mumbo-jumbo, blah, blah, non-recurring payment methods, blah blah, game cards. So I'd say if you chose PayPal or used a Game Time Card it should be pretty evident that you'll be charged. 

     

    On THAT note, I feel like there were probably PLENTY of people who knew damn well that it's a subscription game, never read the fine print and got upset afterwards. Had I not paid for it with Credit Card, I'm sure I'd be wondering WTF too. It does say something about it, though. 

    Crazkanuk

    ----------------
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    Durnzig - 90 Paladin - Emerald
    Demonicron - 90 Death Knight - Emerald Dream - US
    Tankinpain - 90 Monk - Azjol-Nerub - US
    Brindell - 90 Warrior - Emerald Dream - US
    ----------------

  • bobfishbobfish SouthamptonPosts: 1,688Member
    Originally posted by BetaBlocka
    Originally posted by bobfish
    Originally posted by Distopia
    IS that the same committee that regulated F2P recently, saying games with pay-walls can't call themselves F2P?

    No, that was an EU committee, though VZBV might've been part of it, it was initiated by OFT a UK government agency. VZBV has been doing similar work though, aiming to improve the clarity of information provided to the consumer to ensure ethical and open business practices and allow for informed consumer decision making.

     

    It's more about protecting children and idiot parents though from what I've seen so far.

    The thing I find distasteful is that the game costs lets say for the sake of arguement £50.

     

    The sub is lets say for the sake of arguement £14.99.

     

    The game offers 30 days free game time upon purchase. So, can I access the game and use my 30 days with just £50 in the bank?

     

    Or do I in fact need to have £65 in the bank to access the 30 days free game time that is advertised for £50?

     

    It seems to be the latter, which is borderline false advertising imo.

    I believe you need the £65, but I think that is likely more because of how the banks handle zero sum payments than because of anything ZOS has done. They aren't the first and won't be the last, MMO company that requires payment details for a subscription plan before they'll let you play, its a common practice going back to UO.

     

    What is uncommon is the zero sum payment to validate your payment details and that is where the problem has been for people. But like I said, I don't think there is anything ZOS can do about that, short of removing it completely.

  • bobfishbobfish SouthamptonPosts: 1,688Member
    Originally posted by CrazKanuk

    I agree that clarity is nice, but I see this on Amazon:

     

    "30 DAYS UNLIMITED GAME PLAY INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE. VALID PAYMENT METHOD OR PAID GAME TIME CARD FOR SUBSCRIPTION AND PERSISTENT INTERNET CONNECTION REQUIRED.

    Acceptance of End User License Agreement, Terms of Service, and Privacy Policy, and account registration using enclosed one-time use activation code, required to play. Must be 13+ to register. The 30 days of unlimited game play begins when you select your preferred subscription plan on store.elderscrollsonline.com. Subscription fees only charged for game access after the first 30 days, subject to cancellation by you at any time. No refunds or credits for partial months. If you choose to pay for your subscription with a prepaid non-recurring payment method or with a Game Time Card you will be charged at the time you select the subscription plan."

     

    Personally, I gave my Credit Card and it never charged me. IDK anything about banks, etc., but that's the bank policy, not ESO. Also, we've got mumbo-jumbo, blah, blah, non-recurring payment methods, blah blah, game cards. So I'd say if you chose PayPal or used a Game Time Card it should be pretty evident that you'll be charged. 

     

    On THAT note, I feel like there were probably PLENTY of people who knew damn well that it's a subscription game, never read the fine print and got upset afterwards. Had I not paid for it with Credit Card, I'm sure I'd be wondering WTF too. It does say something about it, though. 

    The German version of that might not be as clear, things tend to get lost in translation all the time.

  • BetaBlockaBetaBlocka WrexhamPosts: 222Member
    Originally posted by bobfish
    Originally posted by BetaBlocka
    Originally posted by bobfish
    Originally posted by Distopia
    IS that the same committee that regulated F2P recently, saying games with pay-walls can't call themselves F2P?

    No, that was an EU committee, though VZBV might've been part of it, it was initiated by OFT a UK government agency. VZBV has been doing similar work though, aiming to improve the clarity of information provided to the consumer to ensure ethical and open business practices and allow for informed consumer decision making.

     

    It's more about protecting children and idiot parents though from what I've seen so far.

    The thing I find distasteful is that the game costs lets say for the sake of arguement £50.

     

    The sub is lets say for the sake of arguement £14.99.

     

    The game offers 30 days free game time upon purchase. So, can I access the game and use my 30 days with just £50 in the bank?

     

    Or do I in fact need to have £65 in the bank to access the 30 days free game time that is advertised for £50?

     

    It seems to be the latter, which is borderline false advertising imo.

    I believe you need the £65, but I think that is likely more because of how the banks handle zero sum payments than because of anything ZOS has done. They aren't the first and won't be the last, MMO company that requires payment details for a subscription plan before they'll let you play, its a common practice going back to UO.

     

    What is uncommon is the zero sum payment to validate your payment details and that is where the problem has been for people. But like I said, I don't think there is anything ZOS can do about that, short of removing it completely.

    Gotcha...

     

    It's just in every mmorpg I have ever played, when setting up your sub plan, the validation check has been £0.01 (one penny) or at most £1.

     

    I have never encountered a validation check of a full months sub price...I think that is what is causing most of the problems and the confusion. I am assuming that ZOS are the ones who set the amount at a full months sub. Although we could just chalk this down to inexperience on their part.

  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member
    Originally posted by Joejc7135
    Oh boy...what would free thinking people capable of making their own decisions do without federal regulation agencys...Personally as an American it's embarrassing and insulting that a single cent of taxpayer money is spent on things like this. I don't know about the Germans.

    Agreed. But I think this is a battle for another era. People seem to enjoy being attached at the hips to the government right now. I'm sure there will be a fundamental shift again, as has happened many times before in history.

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • SlampigSlampig Chantilly, VAPosts: 2,376Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by spizz

    The german Federal Association for Consumer Protection (VZBV) did admonish ESO due to their subscription practice and the whole case is currently on their front page.

    "The hint about the free 30 day gaming time before the purchase is misleading. Consumer which do the purchase agreement are in the believe to use the free 30 day gaming time at start of the game. Therfore ESO got encouraged to stop promotion in this form and to give a cease and desist declaration enforced by penalty until the 24th of April 2014.

    Somone who is offering free 30 day gaming time is not allowed to hide a subscription and to force customer for payment and payment infos beforehand.  "

     

    http://www.surfer-haben-rechte.de/cps/rde/xchg/digitalrechte/hs.xsl/75_3092.htm (just google translate it)

     

    EVERYONE knew this was a sub based game from the start. What did they hide?

    That Guild Wars 2 login screen knocked up my wife. Must be the second coming!

  • DistopiaDistopia Baltimore, MDPosts: 16,899Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Joejc7135
    Oh boy...what would free thinking people capable of making their own decisions do without federal regulation agencys...Personally as an American it's embarrassing and insulting that a single cent of taxpayer money is spent on things like this. I don't know about the Germans.

    Heh, I see what you're saying, but there are definitely things that need regulating.

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

    It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason- Me

  • BetaBlockaBetaBlocka WrexhamPosts: 222Member
    Originally posted by Slampig
    Originally posted by spizz

    The german Federal Association for Consumer Protection (VZBV) did admonish ESO due to their subscription practice and the whole case is currently on their front page.

    "The hint about the free 30 day gaming time before the purchase is misleading. Consumer which do the purchase agreement are in the believe to use the free 30 day gaming time at start of the game. Therfore ESO got encouraged to stop promotion in this form and to give a cease and desist declaration enforced by penalty until the 24th of April 2014.

    Somone who is offering free 30 day gaming time is not allowed to hide a subscription and to force customer for payment and payment infos beforehand.  "

     

    http://www.surfer-haben-rechte.de/cps/rde/xchg/digitalrechte/hs.xsl/75_3092.htm (just google translate it)

     

    EVERYONE knew this was a sub based game from the start. What did they hide?

    I think the point is they advertised 30 days free time for just buying the game. In reality you need the purchase price PLUS one months sub in your account before you can access you 30 days free time.

     

    Some people claim to have been charged the full amount of purchase price PLUS one months sub before being able to access the game. Although this does seem to be just an error.

  • spizzspizz BlackForrestPosts: 2,587Member
    Originally posted by Joejc7135
    Oh boy...what would free thinking people capable of making their own decisions do without federal regulation agencys...Personally as an American it's embarrassing and insulting that a single cent of taxpayer money is spent on things like this. I don't know about the Germans.

     

     Such an association is needed when it comes to a lawsuit or do you think you will succeed as a single consumer ? Your so called free thinking people are getting ripped off or cheated like everyone else. I dont see how such an association is a bad thing.

  • Nightbringe1Nightbringe1 Bluefield, WVPosts: 1,093Member Common
    Originally posted by Joejc7135
    Oh boy...what would free thinking people capable of making their own decisions do without federal regulation agencys...Personally as an American it's embarrassing and insulting that a single cent of taxpayer money is spent on things like this. I don't know about the Germans.

    It is a necessary form of regulation due to the predatory nature of the marketplace.

    While ZOS may not be predatory, there are entities out there that are. Without regulation, the predators would run rampant.

    Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.
    Benjamin Franklin

  • AeonbladesAeonblades Home, GAPosts: 2,083Member
    Originally posted by spizz
    Originally posted by Joejc7135
    Oh boy...what would free thinking people capable of making their own decisions do without federal regulation agencys...Personally as an American it's embarrassing and insulting that a single cent of taxpayer money is spent on things like this. I don't know about the Germans.

     

     Such an association is needed when it comes to a lawsuit or do you think you will succeed as a single consumer ? Your so called free thinking people are getting ripped off or cheated like everyone else. I dont see how such an association is a bad thing.

    The only problem with this is that no one got ripped off or cheated. Any problem that people have had with the billing is easily taken care of by contacting their support. My experience with ZOS was quite pleasurable, but it seems like I may be in the minority on that.

    Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
    Have played: You name it
    If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member
    Originally posted by spizz
    Originally posted by Joejc7135
    Oh boy...what would free thinking people capable of making their own decisions do without federal regulation agencys...Personally as an American it's embarrassing and insulting that a single cent of taxpayer money is spent on things like this. I don't know about the Germans.

     

     Such an association is needed when it comes to a lawsuit or do you think you will succeed as a single consumer ? Your so called free thinking people are getting ripped off or cheated like everyone else. I dont see how such an association is a bad thing.

     

    I would love it if American government stepped in and started regulating video game business models - but first we need to identify gaming as an addiction that can be medically treated, then we can start suing the big bad gaming companies, then and THEN they might straighten up, fall in line and quit trying to nickle and dime people through exploiting addictions much like Casinos gambling.

  • alkarionlogalkarionlog SPosts: 1,124Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BetaBlocka
    Originally posted by Slampig
    Originally posted by spizz

    The german Federal Association for Consumer Protection (VZBV) did admonish ESO due to their subscription practice and the whole case is currently on their front page.

    "The hint about the free 30 day gaming time before the purchase is misleading. Consumer which do the purchase agreement are in the believe to use the free 30 day gaming time at start of the game. Therfore ESO got encouraged to stop promotion in this form and to give a cease and desist declaration enforced by penalty until the 24th of April 2014.

    Somone who is offering free 30 day gaming time is not allowed to hide a subscription and to force customer for payment and payment infos beforehand.  "

     

    http://www.surfer-haben-rechte.de/cps/rde/xchg/digitalrechte/hs.xsl/75_3092.htm (just google translate it)

     

    EVERYONE knew this was a sub based game from the start. What did they hide?

    I think the point is they advertised 30 days free time for just buying the game. In reality you need the purchase price PLUS one months sub in your account before you can access you 30 days free time.

     

    Some people claim to have been charged the full amount of purchase price PLUS one months sub before being able to access the game. Although this does seem to be just an error.

    from what I read and understand, as long you buy the game and make the account you should ahve access tot he game before you enter any credit card or paypal info, after the 30 days of gamming then they can resquest your info and payment to continue playing, with in my understanting should be what it happens, the way its now you need to inform your payment info before you finish making the account to play, with bring several problems. be it by ignorance or by bank issues.

     

    thing is I never played using any credit card info before, and yes I played several subs games who give me other payment options other then CC and paypal, most US game do this kind of mistake, now from other devs they always make it possible for players to choose more then just a credit card nad don't require this kind of info(unless you choose it for).

    FOR HONOR, FOR FREEDOM.... and for some money.
    image

  • orionblackorionblack Wichita Falls, TXPosts: 474Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Aeonblades
    Originally posted by spizz
    Originally posted by Joejc7135
    Oh boy...what would free thinking people capable of making their own decisions do without federal regulation agencys...Personally as an American it's embarrassing and insulting that a single cent of taxpayer money is spent on things like this. I don't know about the Germans.

     

     Such an association is needed when it comes to a lawsuit or do you think you will succeed as a single consumer ? Your so called free thinking people are getting ripped off or cheated like everyone else. I dont see how such an association is a bad thing.

    The only problem with this is that no one got ripped off or cheated. Any problem that people have had with the billing is easily taken care of by contacting their support. My experience with ZOS was quite pleasurable, but it seems like I may be in the minority on that.

    This...+1

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