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Star Citizen 3.0 - Refusing Refunds

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  • laxielaxie Member RarePosts: 1,032
    edited October 2017
    I requested a refund a year ago (Summer 2016) and didn't get one. There was little space for discussion with customer service - not even a partial refund was possible. I think refunds have not been as readily available as people made them sound.

    I am pretty sure I'd be able to claim all of the money back in court, but I won't willingly go through that ordeal. The money is not worth the stress, to be honest.

    There is a pretty clear distinction between a donation and a tangible purchase, at least in the UK. Most larger crowdfunded projects (Star Citizen included) actually charge VAT, which implies it is a purchase of a product/service, not a donation. There is an expectation of delivery within a reasonable timeframe. If the product differs substantially to what you bought (including delivery timeframe), you should be eligible for a refund.

    This is not only CIG's fault. It's a broader, more general issue. The legislation and expectations around crowdfunding are in a very strange place. One one hand, everything is advertised like a product. You have "reward tiers", with spreadsheets detailing the items you'll get. You are adding virtual items into a shopping basket. A good chunk of the crowdfunding campaign is about the rewards.

    On the other hand, when it comes to delivery, everyone is suddenly pointing out it's merely a donation. I think that is simply an excuse. It is not the case legally, nor by perception. People are very clearly pledging concrete amounts of money, based on the tiers. If rewards were not the driving motivator, and people were donating out of the goodness of their heart, you'd see people pledging 50$ on a game that only has a 25$ and a 100$ reward tier. This clearly isn't the case - people would mostly be pledging either 25 or 100 in this example. If there were no rewards, the projects would obviously not have raised nearly as much.

    It's a difficult conundrum. I don't have a good solution to it. One approach is to more strongly guarantee delivery - but that would ruin the appeal of crowdfunding to the very creative projects (where delivery really is uncertain). The other approach is to really make it a donation - remove the rewards from the purchasing decision ("Pledge however much you think it's worth, we will give you some rewards at the end"). This would drive the sales down significantly.
    Post edited by laxie on
    Phryrpmcmurphy
  • hfztthfztt Member RarePosts: 1,309
    Erillion said:
    hfztt said:
    Kyleran said:

    People keep treating this as if they've "bought" something which is clearly not the case.

    In the EU they take TAX on the payment: Ergo its a purchase not a donation. No real debate needed. They are under full EU customer protection.
    Lawyers seem to disagree that no debate is needed when it comes to crowdfunding.

    First it needs to be completely know what type of crowdfunding Star Citizen is
    https://www.sosense.org/5-crowdfunding-models-know/
    I guess there is not even a consensus on that.


    Have fun

    Nope. Crowd funding does not legally exist. So you have to fit it into one of the two that does exist: Donation or purchase. They take tax, ergo, purchase. No debate.

    The debate is if there SHOULD be separate laws for crowdfunding as neither of the two existing categories fit the philosophy behind it. But from a legal point of view in the EU you are protected as long as the seller has a legal entity in the EU and thus by extension are covered by EU law, which CIG do.

    If you talk companies that raise crowdfunding money in the US from EU citizens without having a legal entity in EU, then, yes, it is a grey area.
    PhryOctagon7711ExcessionGdemami
  • VorpalChicken28VorpalChicken28 Member UncommonPosts: 348
    Rhime said:
    Always something to piss and moan about. Why would anyone want a refund now when the biggest and most important update of the game is almost in the public's hands? Crying about refunds after at least trying it makes more sense and frankly, would be a relief to see them go too...win/win for all of us!
    I didnt piss and moan. But after Gamescom i refunded both my accounts totalling $3,300. Had them for 4+ years. Figured that after losing faith due to the lack of evidenced progress at Gamescom, if the game does get there, Ill just buy back in later.

    Not everyone who refunds is a hater.
    I'm with you PieMonster, I refunded as well, I ultimately want SC to succeed but I spat my dummy out after being in the US last year at the presentation where CR said that V3.0 would be out by December, when it wasn't I refunded.

    As a weird twist of fate I then won a $300 package on a website and have since been invited to the Evocati testing, shame I'm getting a max 12FPS atm on the new v3.0 release, not a happy camper atm about it.
    “Nevertheless, the human brain, which survives by hoping from one second to another, will always endeavor to put off the moment of truth. Moist” 
    ― Terry PratchettMaking Money
  • KefoKefo Member EpicPosts: 3,694
    Erillion said:
    Talonsin said:
    Personally, I dont understand how a company with as much money as CIG is "supposed" to have has an issue giving someone a refund.  It does not say in the OP but how much money this person put in?  A whopping $45?  Maybe $125?  Are they really getting hit with so many requests for refunds that they need to shut that facet off?


    Personally I think that CIG is playing the waiting game. CIG maybe expects some people to withdraw their refund request once these people were able to play Alpha 3.0 themselves.


    Have fun
    They are playing a stupid game then. Intentionally stalling someone so they maybe take back their refund request is just going to piss them off. Usually when people want a refund they have already made up their minds. Plus that seems shady as fuck to stall someone so they maybe take back their refund request instead of issuing it like they have to.
    Gdemami
  • hfztthfztt Member RarePosts: 1,309
    Erillion said:

    If you get Star Citizen, play it for less than 2 hours and ask for a refund the next day (within CIG's 14 days timeframe) I am quite sure that you get a refund.

    According to the quote in the original post, the timeframe was more than 14 days (or 30 days).


    Have fun
    Do not compare to steam. What steam does is legal and sneaky. They sell early access which happens to also give you the final product, thus delivery is instant. CIG are selling items in the final release game, with beta access as a bonus. Ups. Not as sneaky as Steam, thus delivery can only be considered complete upon final game delivery. (EU)

    it is all in the wording.
    Gdemami
  • ConstantineMerusConstantineMerus Member EpicPosts: 2,332
    Erillion said:
    <>>>
    They are claiming that the requests are outside of the statutory refund period but according to UK and EU law the statutory period is 30 days, and that timeframe starts once the product has been delivered in a manner that it can be used by the customer. This applies to digital goods including in-game items.
    >>>>

    I am not a lawyer.

    My personal opinion: i am not sure if a crowdfunding pledge falls under the UK/EU law you mentioned above. If this counts as a sale of a digital good, to which this law applies.

    I suspect this is a grey area which has not been fully defined yet. Lawmakers seems to be unsure about crowdfunding projects and how to treat them legally (at least here in Austria). There is a lot of debate here in Austria, because a private person essentially had a banking business based on a crowdfunding idea ... with great success i might add ... until he was stopped by an injunction. 

    So may not be as clear cut as it sounds that a 30 day statutory period applies here.


    Have fun



    Crowdfunding is not considered as sale. If it was, it would've been taxed. You can't get one without the other. Taxing crowdfunding monies as sale would mean the end of crowdfunding. 
    Ive been taxed every time ive paid CIG in the UK at 20% VAT, as has every one else since the UK tax authorities enforced this on all digital purchases.
    My knowledge is limited to crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. I have no idea what happens beyond that. 

    In my humble opinion, I don't consider private stores crowdfunding anymore. 
    Kefo
    Something wicked comes this way @Feb-2019
  • waynejr2waynejr2 Member EpicPosts: 7,768
    With the push of 3.0 to evocatis it appears CIG have taken the stance of denying people refunds, up until now they have been pretty decent with granting refunds to those not satisfied with the progress of the project, the direction of it or whatever.

    They are claiming that the requests are outside of the statutory refund period but according to UK and EU law the statutory period is 30 days, and that timeframe starts once the product has been delivered in a manner that it can be used by the customer. This applies to digital goods including in-game items.

    I'm curious what may have prompted this CS change when it clearly flouts what is required of them in the UK and EU (perhaps AUS as well).

    The actual response in question:

    Thank you for your patience with this request.

    As the activity on this account is outside of the statutory refund timeframe (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/tos Section VII, Fundraising & Pledges), it takes us time to look into its details. In addition to this, the whole team has been hard at work supporting the release of Star Citizen Alpha 3.0 to the Evocati Test Flight group with positive feedback.

    Since Thursday October 5th, we’ve released frequent follow-on version updates to 3.0 in the test environment. This fast turnaround and more frequent publishing schedule is made possible by our new Delta Patcher and a number of changes to our back-end server technology. These back-end systems are in full production now for the Alpha development phase, while the 3.0 game version itself will continue to be polished over the coming weeks. (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/schedule-report)

    Since the beginning of the project, development of the Game has proceeded unabated and RSI is delivering content on a continuing basis. RSI has applied your pledges to the development cost of the Game, and in accordance with the Terms of Service, to which you expressly agreed, you are no longer entitled to a refund. These terms are consistent with the specific nature of crowdfunding. (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/tos)

    We consider each request on a case by case basis and will work with you to find the best solution. Given the focus on the release of Star Citizen Alpha 3.0 right now, it will be a few weeks before we can give this request the detailed attention it requires.


    A very strange response in itself to be honest.


    Fools and their money.  Gamers need to be much better consumers and not be lured into spending money on things that aren't yet real for small gains.
    ScotchUp
    http://www.youhaventlived.com/qblog/2010/QBlog190810A.html  

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    Kyleran:  "Now there's the real trick, learning to accept and enjoy a game for what it offers rather than pass on what might be a great playing experience because it lacks a few features you prefer."

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  • Tiamat64Tiamat64 Member RarePosts: 1,405
    edited October 2017
    I'm pretty sure Pledges are only untaxable when it's for a tax-free organization (Typically charities, etc).

    I mean, even GIFTS to individuals are taxable past a certain threshold, and is a pledge nothing more than a gift?  (theretically.  In actual practice, people RECEIVE things for their pledges, which arguably blends it into the "sale" category instead)

    Paid pledges to non-charitable organizations being untaxable would be a serious and obvious loophole in any tax law.
    Post edited by Tiamat64 on
  • ConstantineMerusConstantineMerus Member EpicPosts: 2,332
    Tiamat64 said:
    I'm pretty sure Pledges are only untaxable when it's for a tax-free organization (Typically charities, etc).

    I mean, even GIFTS to individuals are taxable past a certain threshold, and is a pledge nothing more than a gift?  (theretically.  In actual practice, people RECEIVE things for their pledges, which arguably blends it into the "sale" category instead)

    Pledges being untaxable would be a serious loophole in any tax law...
    Yes they get taxed but not the same way as profit from sales. If anyone's really interested should contact the various firms that do this kinda stuff for the campaigns. 
    Something wicked comes this way @Feb-2019
  • WedlenWedlen Member UncommonPosts: 63
    The consumer needs to stop spending money on early access and crowdfunding. 
    FrodoFragins
  • CrazKanukCrazKanuk Member EpicPosts: 6,130
    Here's a LINK and the copy of the post about how to get a refund for anyone in the UK (well one way anyway)

    I've helped several people on Reddit with this process, so I thought I'd formalise it into an advice post where people can publicly ask questions and see answers. It's more necessary now than ever since CIG has started stalling on refunds due to MVP 3.0.

    The arbitration clause of the Terms Of Service is only valid in the US, it's completely worthless under EU law. Anyone worldwide can sue CIG in the EU because they have a registered company in the EU (UK) - Foundry 42 Limited.

    .........<snip>


    Another idea might just be to talk to them nicely. I've seen a lot of this go on and anyone who deems it necessary to go through the process and cost of small claims court has probably not taken the time to listen, negotiate and be civil in requesting their refund. Overall, it's in the best interest of CIG to simply refund you, but they must also remain somewhat vigilant in their own policies. However, there is bend, and you could see that looking through all those BBB requests. Just resist the urge to be an asshole. 

    Unfortunately, I feel like posts like this simply end up costing people more time and money that what they've got invested. Talk to the company and if they still refuse then do a chargeback. In order to do the chargeback you probably need to show proof that you've done your own due diligence and made an honest and persistent attempt to get your money back, so my guess is that in most cases it wouldn't even get that far. 

    So I'd raise a MASSIVE caution flag to people who decide to listen to what you're saying here. Before you invest your time and money in trying to get a refund, think about what that actually means to you. If you've got hundreds of dollars in there, that might be worth it, but you could theoretically spend weeks or months of your time trying to get your money back when all you really had to do is ask nicely. 
    ErillionConstantineMerusrpmcmurphy

    Crazkanuk

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  • PieMonsterPieMonster Member UncommonPosts: 27
    Wedlen said:
    The consumer needs to stop spending money on early access and crowdfunding. 
    I'm not sure its that simple. Yes it encourages assholes in it for a quick buck, but it also enables potentially amazing outcomes that otherwise wouldn't see the light of day.

    My view is simply that better tighter and monitored regulation is needed, especially regarding how the funds are used and how the developers extract funds and pay themselves.
  • ErillionErillion Member EpicPosts: 9,326
    >>>
    they're even feeding a sized media team with your backer dollars.
    >>>

    Part of that team is paid with voluntary subscriptions from people such as me. Especially the editor of the "Jump Point" magazine and the guy behind the camera for all this video blogs and interviews. No dollars from the backer pledges used for that.

    Content from the community for the community with the help of the CIG media team.


    Have fun

  • VorpalChicken28VorpalChicken28 Member UncommonPosts: 348
    Erillion said:
    >>>
    they're even feeding a sized media team with your backer dollars.
    >>>

    Part of that team is paid with voluntary subscriptions from people such as me. Especially the editor of the "Jump Point" magazine and the guy behind the camera for all this video blogs and interviews. No dollars from the backer pledges used for that.

    Content from the community for the community with the help of the CIG media team.


    Have fun

    If part of the team if paid with subs, who is paying the rest?
    “Nevertheless, the human brain, which survives by hoping from one second to another, will always endeavor to put off the moment of truth. Moist” 
    ― Terry PratchettMaking Money
  • PieMonsterPieMonster Member UncommonPosts: 27
    Erillion said:
    >>>
    they're even feeding a sized media team with your backer dollars.
    >>>

    Part of that team is paid with voluntary subscriptions from people such as me. Especially the editor of the "Jump Point" magazine and the guy behind the camera for all this video blogs and interviews. No dollars from the backer pledges used for that.

    Content from the community for the community with the help of the CIG media team.


    Have fun

    If part of the team if paid with subs, who is paying the rest?
    Community marketing is from subscriptions (e.g. monthly), core funding from pledges (e.g. one off ship pledge)
  • ErillionErillion Member EpicPosts: 9,326
    If part of the team if paid with subs, who is paying the rest?

    For that we first need to know how large the team is. Or how much money comes in from subscriptions. I do not know. Do you ?

    I can only offer a guess based on the people I know amongst the SC backers. About 25 % of them are voluntary subscribers. Most of them are with SC since Kickstarter. So i would guess the number of voluntary subscribers might be quite high (many tenthousands, maybe even above onehundredthousand). 


    Have fun
  • PieMonsterPieMonster Member UncommonPosts: 27
    Rhime said:
    Always something to piss and moan about. Why would anyone want a refund now when the biggest and most important update of the game is almost in the public's hands? Crying about refunds after at least trying it makes more sense and frankly, would be a relief to see them go too...win/win for all of us!
    I didnt piss and moan. But after Gamescom i refunded both my accounts totalling $3,300. Had them for 4+ years. Figured that after losing faith due to the lack of evidenced progress at Gamescom, if the game does get there, Ill just buy back in later.

    Not everyone who refunds is a hater.
    I'm with you PieMonster, I refunded as well, I ultimately want SC to succeed but I spat my dummy out after being in the US last year at the presentation where CR said that V3.0 would be out by December, when it wasn't I refunded.

    As a weird twist of fate I then won a $300 package on a website and have since been invited to the Evocati testing, shame I'm getting a max 12FPS atm on the new v3.0 release, not a happy camper atm about it.
    yeah optimisation is gonna come right at the end. Well, heres hoping we both get to play a great game when it is finally released. FIngers crossed, because for all the bitchin of the masses one way or the other.. its all guesswork on how it will finally turn out.
  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member EpicPosts: 7,880
    Erillion said:
    <>>>
    They are claiming that the requests are outside of the statutory refund period but according to UK and EU law the statutory period is 30 days, and that timeframe starts once the product has been delivered in a manner that it can be used by the customer. This applies to digital goods including in-game items.
    >>>>

    I am not a lawyer.

    My personal opinion: i am not sure if a crowdfunding pledge falls under the UK/EU law you mentioned above. If this counts as a sale of a digital good, to which this law applies.

    I suspect this is a grey area which has not been fully defined yet. Lawmakers seems to be unsure about crowdfunding projects and how to treat them legally (at least here in Austria). There is a lot of debate here in Austria, because a private person essentially had a banking business based on a crowdfunding idea ... with great success i might add ... until he was stopped by an injunction. 

    So may not be as clear cut as it sounds that a 30 day statutory period applies here.


    Have fun



    Crowdfunding is not considered as sale. If it was, it would've been taxed. You can't get one without the other. Taxing crowdfunding monies as sale would mean the end of crowdfunding. 
    I thought any income a business made was in general counted as taxable by a government and so considered a sales. They could either pass the taxes to the consumer by listing them separately or have them added to the item being sold.  Unless it was considered a charity.  I don't think pledges are considered deductible income.
    Gdemami

    "We all do the best we can based on life experience, point of view, and our ability to believe in ourselves." - Naropa      "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."  SR Covey

  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member EpicPosts: 7,880
    Excession said:
    Erillion said:
    <>>>
    They are claiming that the requests are outside of the statutory refund period but according to UK and EU law the statutory period is 30 days, and that timeframe starts once the product has been delivered in a manner that it can be used by the customer. This applies to digital goods including in-game items.
    >>>>

    I am not a lawyer.

    My personal opinion: i am not sure if a crowdfunding pledge falls under the UK/EU law you mentioned above. If this counts as a sale of a digital good, to which this law applies.

    I suspect this is a grey area which has not been fully defined yet. Lawmakers seems to be unsure about crowdfunding projects and how to treat them legally (at least here in Austria). There is a lot of debate here in Austria, because a private person essentially had a banking business based on a crowdfunding idea ... with great success i might add ... until he was stopped by an injunction. 

    So may not be as clear cut as it sounds that a 30 day statutory period applies here.


    Have fun



    Crowdfunding is not considered as sale. If it was, it would've been taxed. You can't get one without the other. Taxing crowdfunding monies as sale would mean the end of crowdfunding. 
    According to Kickstarter it is considered taxable income.

    Crowdfunding on the RSI website is also classed as a transaction (sale/purchase) and taxable depending on which country you live in. 

    Kickstarter is obligated to declare the funds as income. But the companies don't file the funds as income and the solution has been acceptable in all of the free world countries so far. 
    I'd really like to see a link to that information.

    "We all do the best we can based on life experience, point of view, and our ability to believe in ourselves." - Naropa      "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."  SR Covey

  • mrputtsmrputts Member UncommonPosts: 255
    Silly backers. You know it's not a guarantee. All investors know nothing is 100% certainty. Just walk away from the game, and count it as a loss. Or continue to wait until something is released.

    I am still excited for Star Citizen. Because I chose to hold onto my cash till release. 

    Ea is like a poo fingered midas ~ShakyMo

  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member EpicPosts: 7,880
    mrputts said:
    Silly backers. You know it's not a guarantee. All investors know nothing is 100% certainty. Just walk away from the game, and count it as a loss. Or continue to wait until something is released.

    I am still excited for Star Citizen. Because I chose to hold onto my cash till release. 
    Pretty much what I'm doing.  I won't spend a lot of money in this game until near launch when the dust has settled.  
    mrputts

    "We all do the best we can based on life experience, point of view, and our ability to believe in ourselves." - Naropa      "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."  SR Covey

  • ErillionErillion Member EpicPosts: 9,326
    edited October 2017
    Hmm ... from what i have seen with friends in the Evocati performance is better than 12 FPS.

    Have you optimised the computer and grafic settings for Star Citizen (there are several guides online about that) ?


    Have fun
    Post edited by Erillion on
  • VrikaVrika Member EpicPosts: 5,137
    Erillion said:
    Hmm ... from what i have seen with friends in the Evocati performance is better than 12 FPS.

    Have you optimised the computer and grafic settings for Star Citizen (there are several guides online about that) ?
    Often with computer games your max. performance is also affected by how good computer you've got, and if your computer isn't good enough you're out of luck and can't do anything.

    This is just general talk about computer games. Since there's NDA in place it would be wrong to discuss whether Evocati's performance is affected by one's computer specs.
     
  • rpmcmurphyrpmcmurphy Member EpicPosts: 3,119
    Erillion said:
    If you get Star Citizen, play it for less than 2 hours and ask for a refund the next day (within CIG's 14 days timeframe) I am quite sure that you get a refund.

    According to the quote in the original post, the timeframe was more than 14 days (or 30 days).


    Have fun

    Erillion, lots of people have received refunds while being out of the "statutory refund period".
    The issue is that they are now using the existence of a patch that the refunder does not have access to as a reason for denial.

  • KefoKefo Member EpicPosts: 3,694
    Erillion said:
    If you get Star Citizen, play it for less than 2 hours and ask for a refund the next day (within CIG's 14 days timeframe) I am quite sure that you get a refund.

    According to the quote in the original post, the timeframe was more than 14 days (or 30 days).


    Have fun

    Erillion, lots of people have received refunds while being out of the "statutory refund period".
    The issue is that they are now using the existence of a patch that the refunder does not have access to as a reason for denial.

    And as a stalling tactic to maybe either hope they withdraw their request or maybe forget about it. Either way it's slimey in my eyes
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