Rythless Mar 26, 2013 @ 2:24pm
Arma 3 Alpha Refund Denied (Letter to Steam)
Dear Valve/Steam,

I have amended my original title (as well as your change) to something fair.

I have used Steam for a few years now and always been satisfied with the product. I am not the best customer, spending thousands of dollars, but I am far from the worst. I have purchased about 40 games from Steam, spending several hundred dollars. Recently however, a bungling by a tech named Trevor is going to cost Steam a loyal customer. I would remind Valve that while Steam is convenient, it is not the only way to purchase PC games.

Anyway, on to my point: A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a new game to purchase. Every time I logged in the advertisement for Arma 3 Alpha was the first thing I saw. I went to Youtube as I naturally do, and looked for gameplay videos. I found a couple, watched a little bit and decided it looked like a fun game. So I went onto Steam and purchased the game. That is where the rub came in.

I assumed (wrongly) that the "Alpha" in Arma 3 Alpha was intended as a military call word, like "Alpha Unit". Other games have the word Alpha in them (Street Fighter: Alpha) and have nothing to do with being in its alpha infancy. In this case however, that is exactly what the state of this game was in. Upon further investigation I found that you can even play the alpha version of this game for FREE on the developer's website. So I paid a little over $32 for a free game. That wouldn't be such an issue because I discovered that I would eventually receive the final product of the game for no additional fee. The big problem is, THERE IS NO RELEASE DATE FOR THE GAME! This means I paid a little over $32 for something that I may not receive for 1-2 more years. That is not acceptable.

So, I went to Steam support who by the way has credited me for games that have caused me trouble, TWICE, and asked to receive a credit for the game. I did not ask for my money back to my credit card. I asked to have Arma 3 removed from my account and to have a credit to my Steam wallet. I would still purchase products through Steam and have gone on my merry way. One way or another Steam would still get my $32+.

But that's not the way it played out. My request was received by a tech named Trevor who was apparently taught customer service in North Korea. After several back and forth emails, Trevor stated that he was going to hide behind the Steam policy to not offer refunds, firm that they do not offer refunds. When I told him Steam had credited me before, he stated that it is allowed one time per account. The funny thing is, I have been credited twice. Finally the discussion ended with Trevor telling me he would not discuss the matter any further and if I sent in a ticket again, it would be treated as spam and my support account would be banned. Real ace worker you guys have hired. Was he the only guy who went to the meeting on "How to Lose Customers 101?"

With Trevor's one star performance leaving me no other option, I did what had to be done. I refuse to pay for an incomplete product that has no release date, simple as that. I tried to work with Steam on a solution that would benefit both parties and was promptly told to go jump off a bridge. So, I forced a chargeback through my bank. I was hoping maybe Steam would contact me and attempt to mediate the situation in a reasonable manner. Instead of that happening, Steam suspended my account for 9 weeks and has banned the use of my debit card from their client. Since I am not going to get a new debit card, just so I can buy Steam games, I will just not purchase anything from Steam ever again.

If anyone who has any authority at Steam reads this, I will offer you a deal. Remove the suspension on my account, allow me to purchase with my current debit card, put a credit on the account, and I will remove the chargeback. You don't have to do that of course, but the next place this post will go is on Reddit. I know it won't put even a dent in your company, but any single person I can get to bad mouth your company (and not purchase products from) for pulling crap like this, is a small victory for me.

Sincerely,

A Once Loyal Customer

TL;DR: Purchased a game on Steam i assumed was complete. The game was in its alpha stage with no release date. Asked Steam to credit me to my Steam wallet and they could remove the game. They told me to go away. I forced a chargeback under principle. Steam punished me by suspending my account and banning the use of my debit card.
Last edited by Rythless; Mar 26, 2013 @ 8:03pm
Showing 1-15 of 24 comments
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Satoru Mar 26, 2013 @ 2:39pm 
What? How did you do ANY research on the game and not come across the fact that the game was still in Alpha. Despite the fact that it is literally PLASTERED across the page even before the new "Early Access" stuff came out.

The following stuff was ALWAYS ON THE STORE PAGE.

Alpha Access

Purchase Arma 3 Alpha now and receive the following:

Alpha-access – Be one of the first to play Arma 3 and contribute to its development by providing feedback.
3 Alpha Lite Invites – Introduce your friends to Arma 3 by inviting them to the free invite-only Arma 3 Alpha Lite (available from March 14, 2013 until June 18, 2013).
Beta-access & Full Game – Gain access to the Arma 3 Beta as soon as it becomes available. Get a Steam version of the complete game upon release.

Also you don't even own ARMA3.....

You're blaming steam because you didn't do research (despite claiming to do so) and didnt' read the store page (which made it abundantly clear what was going on).

Alpha access give you access to the final game when it's released. if you don't want to play the alpha you can just wait until the game is released. But again. the store page was and is abundantly clear as to what you're purchasing. You simply choose not to read that.

Steam has a no refund policy. If you get refunds you're lucky. That's it. If you've already gotten TWO, that's already a lot. You shouldn't be relying on them to correct your mistakes so often. You seem to be having a lot of problems if you're getting that many refunds.....

Next time READ the store page and do REAL research. All the videos on ARMA3 pretty much tell you it's in alpha and such. This wasn't some kind of huge 'secret' the devs or Steam were hiding from you. You made a mistake. Man up instead of whining like a child about it.

Plus you're still getting the final game in the end when the game gets released.
Last edited by Satoru; Mar 26, 2013 @ 2:44pm
Minuteman Mar 26, 2013 @ 2:40pm 
Reddit? They love valve and steam more than anything else!
If this happened on orig... ehm on another digital distribution platform they'll all raise the torches and the pitchforks...
Rythless Mar 26, 2013 @ 3:04pm 
Originally posted by Satoru:
What? How did you do ANY research on the game and not come across the fact that the game was still in Alpha. Despite the fact that it is literally PLASTERED across the page even before the new "Early Access" stuff came out.

The following stuff was ALWAYS ON THE STORE PAGE.

Alpha Access

Purchase Arma 3 Alpha now and receive the following:

Alpha-access – Be one of the first to play Arma 3 and contribute to its development by providing feedback.
3 Alpha Lite Invites – Introduce your friends to Arma 3 by inviting them to the free invite-only Arma 3 Alpha Lite (available from March 14, 2013 until June 18, 2013).
Beta-access & Full Game – Gain access to the Arma 3 Beta as soon as it becomes available. Get a Steam version of the complete game upon release.

Also you don't even own ARMA3.....

You're blaming steam because you didn't do research (despite claiming to do so) and didnt' read the store page (which made it abundantly clear what was going on).

Alpha access give you access to the final game when it's released. if you don't want to play the alpha you can just wait until the game is released. But again. the store page was and is abundantly clear as to what you're purchasing. You simply choose not to read that.

Steam has a no refund policy. If you get refunds you're lucky. That's it. If you've already gotten TWO, that's already a lot. You shouldn't be relying on them to correct your mistakes so often. You seem to be having a lot of problems if you're getting that many refunds.....

Next time READ the store page and do REAL research. All the videos on ARMA3 pretty much tell you it's in alpha and such. This wasn't some kind of huge 'secret' the devs or Steam were hiding from you. You made a mistake. Man up instead of whining like a child about it.

Plus you're still getting the final game in the end when the game gets released.
First of all it was not "plastered" all over the front of the page. It was a tiny section in small, non-bold, font. I admitted I assumed wrongly that "Alpha" meant it was used for military term purposes. Let's talk about assumptions for a moment.

You assume that I did massive amounts of research. I stated that I watched a couple videos on Youtube about gameplay. None of the videos I watched mentioned anything about the game being in its alpha stage. So you have assumed incorrectly. Secondly, you make the assumption that they credited me for mistakes I made. If purchasing a game from a company under the premise that the game will work and then does not work, is a mistake, then I must ask that you take a long hard look at your own ethical standards. You again have assumed incorrectly. However, instead of attacking your intelligence or making fun of you for false assumptions, I am going to engage with you in a civil dialogue. Do you see how this works?
Tito Shivan Mar 26, 2013 @ 3:08pm 
It's not Steam's Fault you failed to properly read the Store page.
Arma III is featured on the store page as a ALPHA stage game, it's been clearly stated on it's store page.
You went into assuptions and impulse-bought the game.
Then Steam refused to for a third time make a one time exception to it's 'no refunds' policy. Which is normal business behaviour, by the way.
Then you issued a chargeback on your purchase, which got it locked...

I'm trying really hard to think how this cannot be a mess you kept digging yourself in... but i cannot.
Zefar Mar 26, 2013 @ 3:13pm 
Getting your account locked from a charge back is done automatically.
Rythless Mar 26, 2013 @ 3:17pm 
Originally posted by KSMF:
@OP
It's your own fault, you did not take time to read the storepage.
Take it as a lesson, and do your "homework" before purchasing, dont blame Valve or customservice for your fault.
So I know this guy named Jack that was looking to buy a car. He saw a commercial for a new car that he was interested in buying called "The Alpha Mobile." He looked up a local dealership and went down and test-drove one of the test cars. He then decided he would purchase one from the salesman. The salesman wrote up the paperwork and Jack purchased the car. He waited out front and the salesman pushed a new Alpha Mobile up to Jack. When Jack asked why the salesman pushed the car up to him, the salesman explained that the car didn't have an engine yet because it was in its alpha stage. Jack asks when the car will have an engine and the salesman explains that he does not know. It is at this point that Jack explains that he was confused about the car not having an engine and the salesman states that it was explained at the bottom of the ad in small print. At this point Jack asks to be refunded as he is not going to pay full price for a car that does not have an engine and does not have a date and time at which point he will receive that engine. He then tells the salesman that he would be more than happy to purchase something else from the dealership that is functional instead of the Alpha Mobile. Instead of working to keep a customer happy and provide proper customer service, he kicked Jack off his lot.

It's very easy to say, you screwed-up, deal with it. My argument is not about the game being in its alpha stage; as I stated I would have no issue waiting for the game to release, but the issue I take is that the game has NO RELEASE DATE. I am essentially paying full price for a product that could take 1-2 years before I get a fully functioning version.

If you spend some time working for a company that is really customer driven and focused, you will find NOWHERE do they say "Customer screws up, he has to deal with it," because that is bad business.
Satoru Mar 26, 2013 @ 3:17pm 
Firstly the text I quoted has always been on the page. It is not in tiny print but in the Mai description of the game

Steam sold you a game and gave you full and accurate description of the product. The game was described accurately. Steam did not sell you a defective product. You got EXACTLY waht was promised

Also in your previous 2 refunds support Would have made it very clear that their policy is no refunds. Therefore you already knew their return policy. And that they were making an exception for you.
Last edited by Satoru; Mar 26, 2013 @ 3:24pm
Spawn of Totoro Mar 26, 2013 @ 3:25pm 
Originally posted by Rythless:
If you spend some time working for a company that is really customer driven and focused, you will find NOWHERE do they say "Customer screws up, he has to deal with it," because that is bad business.

That same company will refuse to keep doing buisness with you if you continue to expect them to bend backwords and make exceptions. At some point they decide it cost them less to lose you as a customer then to keep doing buisness with you.

Sorry, but you dug the hole and pulled the dirt in on top of yourself. No one, in any forum anywhere, will side with you on this.

The customer is NOT always right and, more often then not, results in bad customer service.

http://positivesharing.com/2006/07/why-the-customer-is-always-right-results-in-bad-customer-service/
«Gғм» Kid Of The Century Mar 26, 2013 @ 3:27pm 
How did you miss that big blue box with the "Early Access Game" label?
And the "Be one of the first to play Arma 3 and contribute to its development by providing feedback. You'll also gain access to the Arma 3 Beta as soon as it becomes available and receive a Steam version of the complete game upon release.” text?

And please, go on and post on Reddit. I'm actually curious to see how it turns out.
Last edited by «Gғм» Kid Of The Century; Mar 26, 2013 @ 3:28pm
Rythless Mar 26, 2013 @ 3:36pm 
Originally posted by Tito Shivan:
It's not Steam's Fault you failed to properly read the Store page.
Arma III is featured on the store page as a ALPHA stage game, it's been clearly stated on it's store page.
You went into assuptions and impulse-bought the game.
Then Steam refused to for a third time make a one time exception to it's 'no refunds' policy. Which is normal business behaviour, by the way.
Then you issued a chargeback on your purchase, which got it locked...

I'm trying really hard to think how this cannot be a mess you kept digging yourself in... but i cannot.
People keep attacking points of my argument that are irrelevant. When a game is for sale for $30 or more, it is a general assumption that the product is in a completed state, unless it explicitly states it is a pre-order. I have been using Steam for several years and have NEVER seen a game being sold in its alpha stage, EVER. I have no problem purchasing a pre-order game because there is always a definitive release date. It is not a massive logical leap to assume that the "Alpha" in the title for a military based game refers to an alpha company or an alpha male. At the point when I purchased the game Steam had not started their new process of big banners and what not to advertise games in the development stage, and the only thing clearly stating the game was in its alpha infancy was a very short section in small font that upon purchasing the game you would receive Alpha, Beta and full access to the game.

Since the game was not in a pre-order stage and was for $32+, one could assume with a reasonable amount of logic (having used Steam for a decent length of time) that the game was in a completed state and the lower section had not been updated.

Also you assume incorrectly that I "impulse bought the game." While I didn't do an extreme amount of research, such as going to the developers website and finding what state the game was in, finding there was no release date, etc; I did as much as pretty-much every consumer who purchases games on Steam does. They look at videos, see if the game is pre-order or not, and then hit the purchase button. If you really think what I did was so bad, then ask yourself why Steam now has massive banners in bright blue colors for games in development. I can tell you from working for an advertising company for a long time that companies do that for two reasons: 1) They are launching a new function of a product or 2) They have had complaints and issues with selling a product of that nature without making ethical disclosure clauses.

This means I either got caught as a guinea pig for a new function of Steam, in which I am collateral damage, or this is an issue they have had with enough customers that they are now taking steps to make sure future consumers do not make the same mistakes.
Rythless Mar 26, 2013 @ 3:39pm 
Originally posted by Satoru:
Firstly the text I quoted has always been on the page. It is not in tiny print but in the Mai description of the game

Steam sold you a game and gave you full and accurate description of the product. The game was described accurately. Steam did not sell you a defective product. You got EXACTLY waht was promised

Also in your previous 2 refunds support Would have made it very clear that their policy is no refunds. Therefore you already knew their return policy. And that they were making an exception for you.
So Street Fighter: Alpha is a game in its alpha state? Did you ever get Street Fighter: Complete?

I never said it was defective, I said it was not complete. Semantics will play a big role in understanding here.

So a company sells me two broken products, has a policy of no refunds and then refunds me twice? Makes sense that "no refunds" is a firm policy.
Last edited by Rythless; Mar 26, 2013 @ 3:40pm
Rythless Mar 26, 2013 @ 3:40pm 
Originally posted by «Gғм» Kid Of The Century:
How did you miss that big blue box with the "Early Access Game" label?
And the "Be one of the first to play Arma 3 and contribute to its development by providing feedback. You'll also gain access to the Arma 3 Beta as soon as it becomes available and receive a Steam version of the complete game upon release.” text?

And please, go on and post on Reddit. I'm actually curious to see how it turns out.
I purchased the game before the "Early Game Access" campaign was launched. See the end of one of my posts above about advertising and why this happened.
Silv3r9 Mar 26, 2013 @ 4:02pm 
*sigh*...And this is why it's so flipping hard sometimes to get the "ONE time only" refund >.<

Sorry OP - I am also joining the "no-sympathy for you" train...2 refunded games and a chargeback to Steam and YOU are complaining? Please
Satoru Mar 26, 2013 @ 4:04pm 
Originally posted by Rythless:
So Street Fighter: Alpha is a game in its alpha state? Did you ever get Street Fighter: Complete?

Irrelevant. The store pages and game descriptions for those games did not indicate that you were buying a game in an alpha state. You may have initially misunderstood the terminology, but there were ample opprtunities for you to find out, in your research and by reading the store page.

I never said it was defective, I said it was not complete. Semantics will play a big role in understanding here.

So a company sells me two broken products, has a policy of no refunds and then refunds me twice? Makes sense that "no refunds" is a firm policy.

If you're going to keep moving the goal post that's fine but don't pretend you're making a better case.

1) The game was sold to you AS DESCRIBED. This description made it absolutely clear as to what you were purchasing. The fact that it wasn't 'complete' by your definition is not relevant. Steam sold you the product and described it accurately. You choose not to read this. This is YOUR fault not Steam's. Semantics aside you had ample opportunity to understand the product you were purchasing. ALl of which were presented in a clear manner on the store page.

You've brought up the 'moral' aspect many times. But again there was ZERO deception on Steam's part. They made it clear in the product description what you were buying and in what state it was in. You did not read this. This is your fault. Steam did not trick you. Steam didn't decieve you.

2) Steam's official policy is NO REFUNDS. Everytime you buy a game you agree to the SSA. THis states the no refund policy very clearly. Just because they sometimes make exceptions due to extenuating circumstances does not mean the policy doesn't exist. As I indicated when you got your previous refunds they would have reiterated their NO REFUND policy. And the fact that getting a refund does not mean you will get one in the future. The fact that you got refunds before has ZERO BEARING on whether you'd get one in the future and they made that abudnantly clear in your previous Support tickets.

3) You ddi a chargeback despite the fact that you made the mistake and you had no right to a refund as per the SSA. YOu're lucky it was only disabled for 9 weeks. You STOLE money from Steam and teh devs and incurred at least 2x in fees due to the chargeback that was 100% YOUR fault.

You're going to excuse me if I don't exactly feel sorry for you given your petulance and seeming disregard for who is actually at fault at every single step of your 'problem'
Last edited by Satoru; Mar 26, 2013 @ 4:50pm
Tito Shivan Mar 26, 2013 @ 5:25pm 
" When a
game is for sale for $30 or more, it is a general assumption that the product is in a completed state"

You said it yourself, you made assumptions instead of reading the game page.

And FYI, minecraft was worth $20 during it's BETA stage.

You can keep going in circles all the time you want, it won't change anything. Your account is locked because you did a chargeback for a purchase of a game you assumed was on release state, disregarding the product description.
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Date Posted: Mar 26, 2013 @ 2:24pm
Posts: 24