EA Trying Hard To Lose Customer Over A Few Bucks

If you’re not really a fan of electronic games, it might not be clear to you why EA took the top poo in this year’s Worst Company in America Tournament. Maybe Alex’s experience can serve as an illustration. There was no huge amount of money involved, and his problem with EA didn’t affect his day-to-day life. But the utter lack of response from EA to a real and easily solved problem makes even a loyal customer like Alex feel that they don’t matter.

So I bought Fifa 12 this past fall. In October, there was a problem with a purchase of DLC. EA told me to talk to Microsoft. Microsoft told me to talk to EA. It took me a month to even get EA to tell me to talk to Microsoft. EA has kept closing my issues on its site.

I know I’m not getting my money back at this point, but no one is admitting any wrongdoing. I keep asking to be contacted by someone from the corporate office and keep getting a generic response asking for more information. It just really bothers me that they are willing to lose a customer over a paltry sum.

Last year, I had a small issue with 2K’s MLB 2K11. I tweeted [R.] who was their PR guy whose twitter page no longer appears to be a personal twitter as a representative of the company, and more of just a generic company twitter. Within two weeks, not only was my problem solved, but they also sent me a free game of my choice. I didn’t have to ask for it, 2K just knows that if you treat a customer well, you can win that customer for life.

Seems EA just wants to lose as many customers as possible. I really would like to keep buying games EA makes, but they just seem to not want me to.

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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    I remember when Atari came out, you bought a game and played it. Now in addition to the game you have maps you pay for, DLC’s you pay for etc. Playing games nowadays is like using Swiffer pads, you just keep shelling money out because you thought it would be better but you really miss your old mop.

    • PunditGuy says:

      Games can cost millions to develop nowadays, so I don’t begrudge the publishers pushing in-game ads and DLC to help recoup costs. The DLC just needs to be worth the money.

      I don’t rage against horse armor; I simply don’t buy it.

      • xantec says:

        Yes, they *can* cost millions to make, but they don’t need to. I think the burgeoning indie scene on the PC is making that point. And if you do want a multimillion dollar game on the cheap, look at any of the various big name kickstarter game projects.

        • Captain Spock says:

          Whoaaaaa buddy hold your horses, we certainly got your point the first 3 times…

          All kidding aside, is there an issue with the submission of comments?

          • xantec says:

            Not sure. I know when I submit comments I need to close the tab within a certain time or it gets spammed. Obviously I missed it with that one.

      • xantec says:

        Yes, they *can* cost millions to make, but they don’t need to. I think the burgeoning indie scene on the PC is making that point. And if you do want a multimillion dollar game on the cheap, look at any of the various big name kickstarter game projects.

      • xantec says:

        Yes, they *can* cost millions to make, but they don’t need to. I think the burgeoning indie scene on the PC is making that point. And if you do want a multimillion dollar game on the cheap, look at any of the various big name kickstarter game projects.

      • xantec says:

        Yes, they *can* cost millions to make, but they don’t need to. I think the burgeoning indie scene on the PC is making that point. And if you do want a multimillion dollar game on the cheap, look at any of the various big name kickstarter game projects.

        • xantec says:

          stupid intartubes and multi-posts

        • PunditGuy says:

          Different strokes. I rather enjoyed “Red Dead Redemption,” and the production costs for that were estimated to be between $80-$100 million.

          • xantec says:

            I’m not saying that huge budget games can’t be fun. I’m just pointing out that costing millions of dollars to produce is not a prerequisite to being fun.

        • Torgonius wants an edit button says:

          I’ve been burned by several ‘indie’ developers who have turned out half-finished programs with promises to patch the bugs.

          But then, the lamentations begin about ‘we only have a couple people working’ or ‘we ran out of money’. And while you paid full price for the game, you never really got what was promised or paid for.

          I’m looking mostly at you, Red Bedlam.

          • Jawaka says:

            Except in most cases the ‘full price’ is usually more along the lines of $20 instead of $60.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        And sending a space shuttle into space was extremely expensive when the government did it, until private industry came along and did it for a fraction of the price the government was able to do it for.

        Point of the story? There’s always a cheaper way/alternative.

        • PunditGuy says:

          Private space shuttles? Neat! Where?

          • Blueskylaw says:

            Space “craft”. I’m sure you’ll sleep better tonight knowing what I meant to say.

            • PunditGuy says:

              I’ll still be tossing and turning, since I have no idea what you’re getting at. There’s no private equivalent to what the space shuttle offered, and EA isn’t the government.

              You don’t have to buy games that are expensive and have DLC. And if you do, you don’t have to buy the DLC. But really, are there lower-priced alternatives to AAA games with DLC like the GTA series or Arkham City?

        • DarthCoven says:

          A private company has an orbital spacecraft that can haul nearly 27 tons to low earth orbit, land and then do it all over again? I’d love to see this spacecraft.

  2. MutantMonkey says:

    EA is doing what EA does best, ignore the customer after you have their initial investment. Keep enabling them with your purchases and you only have yourself to blame.

    Note: This is not a blame the OP post.

    • dorianh49 says:

      Kinda sounds like “With all due respect, you’re a moron…. This is a respectful comment.” ;)

      • MutantMonkey says:

        It’s definitely not how it’s intended. Its more of a call to boycott their products due to the way they treat their customers.

        In no way is the OP wrong in what they have done. If they continue to buy EA products and are regularly faced with issues EA does not resolve, that is where the onus would be on the consumer.

    • coujo says:

      nah, what EA does best is buy up smaller gaming houses with really popular games, release another title with them, then fire the entire house staff and replace with they’re own drones to drive that particular game straight down into the mud. ohh, and also release the exact same sports game every year for the same console, with minor changes like jersey names and numbers and perhaps unlocking a new “feature” in the game. its not just the customers they dont care for, its the gaming community as a whole. from developers, to programmers all the way to the end user.

      the only games that dont end up complete and total trash after a few years under EA are the ones that they make in house. ie: BattleField series, the Sim’s and Medal of Honor. (even though MoH happened because the CoD guys quit on them…)

  3. Harry Greek says:

    “Bonus” DLC, Digital Copies and the like are terrible when they expire, or somehow you can’t get what you paid for. The publisher and developer love to point fingers at one another.

    There seems to be zero loyalty to the customer. And, even a mounting attack on customers, what with locking out used games. There is no longer an consideration for the people who pay for their games.

  4. Pete the Geek says:

    Public shaming, such as a post on Consumerist, only works on people who have a sense of shame. The leadership of EA is happy to have taken Alex’s money and is not the least bit concerned that something went wrong. A company that earns the WCIA trophy has demonstrated that it’s leadership genuinely doesn’t care about customers and their complaints.

  5. ferozadh says:

    They already have your money why would they help you? They know you’re gonna come back regardless cuz they will keep buying up studios and all the IP’s you love will have an EA logo on it. Or you can stop playing video games all together and put your money in the bank or a house and then ppl will respect you for having real problems. Because you know video games are not real.

    • Driblis says:

      Videogames are in fact real. They are items people pay for. They are as real as that house you mentioned.

      Maybe if you stop being so self-righteous for five minutes and act like a human being, you can respect that different folks have different hobbies.

      Or maybe I just got trolled.

      • ferozadh says:

        wow… yeah I was being sarcastic… Sorry to get you guys so riled up. So much anger lol! For the record, I am on YOUR side. I love video games and people who put it down may just lack imagination imho.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      I don’t respect people who think the use of “cuz” and “ppl” is acceptable.

      • ferozadh says:

        Really? Well I know what interrogation tactic HS would use on you… force you read Yahoo! News comments mixed in with Youtube comments. lol… back to the OP, I understand his pain but having first-hand knowledge of the place, I can tell you for a fact the decision makers there are NOT gamers and could care less about them.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        I hear u bro. LoL

      • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

        I wonder if his supervisor knows he’s letting the burgers burn while he comments on Consumerist?

    • nicless says:

      Assuming you buy a game a month (probably not) that is $720.00 a year. If you can find a bank that will give you an interest rate worth anything that will add up to enough to get a house in under 300 years, let me know.

      • ferozadh says:

        You’re correct in pointing out my miscalculation. However I’m interested to know your mathematical formula for living life, as it seems you got the mortgage thing all figured out. Feel free to enter family, politics and religion in the equation.

    • dolemite says:

      Whenever anyone at work talks about the 15 TV shows they keep up with (American Idol, X Factor, Housewives of X, Jersey Shore, etc.), and they complain about something, I tell them, “I can’t respect you, because you don’t have real problems”.

  6. dolemite says:

    I went through this with Gamestop recently. Bought Batman: Arkham City through their Impulse download service. Downloaded the game, put in the DRM code they provided. Then another screen asking for the code. Put in the same code. I’m told “That code has already been used”. Ok, so for the next 1.5 weeks, I called/emailed/forumed Impulse, Gamestop, GFWL and Warner Bros. Studios. I probably spent 4-5 hours trying to get help. Every SINGLE person involved pointed their finger at someone else, stating their hands were tied and it was someone else’ problem. On the final round of getting the runaround, I told Impulse that they sold me the game, and they need to provide me with a legit code (also, they refused refunding my money). I said that if I didn’t have a code within 24 hours, I was reporting them to the BBB and my state’s attorney general. That finally got me a code. But a paying customer shouldn’t have to go through all this due to DRM.

    • Captain Spock says:

      Dirty Dirty Pirates give a better user experience than PAYING customers get… This is why DRM does not work.

      • regis-s says:

        So what are they supposed to do? Just put their content out there unprotected and hope people will pay for it?

        • KeithIrwin says:

          That model has actually worked pretty well for the people who have tried it. Anyone who sells mp3s sells them unprotected and people still buy them. Louis CK sold a comedy special with no DRM and sold way more copies than he ever had when it was sold on DVD. On the video game side, stuff like the Humble Indie Bundles have had no DRM and tons of people bought those.

          The big flaw in your logic, though, is that DRM doesn’t actually protect a product from piracy. Sure, that’s what it’s supposed to do, but in practice, it just doesn’t work. And honestly, it can’t really work because it’s impossible to prevent people from copying something while also allowing them to watch, listen to, read or play it. Thus far, no DRM scheme has ever actually worked.

          So the real choice is: 1) release with no hassles and no protection against copying 2) release with serious hassles for the user and ineffective protection against copying. As a general rule, the first choice is going to be the better one.

  7. Cat says:

    There was no huge amount of money involved, and his problem with EA didn’t affect his day-to-day life. So it might not be clear to you why EA took the top poo in this year’s Worst Company in America Tournament.

    There you go.

    • dark_inchworm says:

      We heard you loud and clear when you were pissing and moaning about everyone not voting for YOUR least favorite companies. Would you please give it up already?

  8. DoraAreGames says:

    I’ve had spectacularly awful customer service from EA, but I’ve also had spectacularly good customer service from them too. Sadly, it really does seem to gamble on who you get a hold of. Last year I lost the manual for my copy of Dragon Age, which had my serial number in it so I couldn’t reinstall. I contacted customer service, and within an hour after providing my original e-mail order receipt from Newegg EA provided me with a digital download copy for no charge.

    Sadly, issues I’ve had since with bugs in other titles and even billing in Ultima Online (yes, people still play that) tend to be met with big ol’ shrugs. It really does seem like the bigger a company gets, the less concerned they are with delivering customer service. When you compare this to indie developers, who are always so dedicated to making sure their products work, it really is shameful. When I had a problem with Bastion when it came out on the day of release, I got an e-mail back within minutes from the head developer asking for more information and then providing a solution.

  9. schmittymcdougal says:

    “If you’re not really a fan of electronic games, it might not be clear to you why EA took the top poo in this year’s Worst Company in America Tournament. Maybe Alex’s experience can serve as an illustration”

    ok, i’m willing to listen…

    “There was no huge amount of money involved, and his problem with EA didn’t affect his day-to-day life. But the utter lack of response from EA to a real and easily solved problem makes even a loyal customer like Scott feel that they don’t matter”

    fucking shut up you entitled nerds

  10. airren says:

    Nope, I still can’t understand why EA won the Golden Poo over companies that suck harder, oh… like effing Paypal that steals your money. It is not for me to understand. I guess I’m ok with that.

  11. skapig says:

    Charge back? This seems like an appropriate scenario.

    Technically, EA is probably right at least from a perspective of issue ownership. You purchased the content through Microsoft’s marketplace, so ultimately you should be dealing with them to resolve the issue in some way (for example: a refund would come from MS). If EA was a company that took pride in its products and its customer experience, someone there might go out of their way to help you, but we all know that’s not the case.

  12. BurtReynolds says:

    I’m curious what EA came up with as far as DLC for FIFA? Can you not use Barcelona or something unless you cough up another $3.99? Add the Champions League for $14.99?

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      The ability to actually score goals is DLC. Without it, all games end in a zero-zero tie. So, in that way, the version without DLC is actually more realistic.

      /kidding

      • dorianh49 says:

        Is there DLC that allows players to trip on their own shadow and writhe around in agony, dying for a few seconds, and then miraculously jump up and resume playing?

    • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

      Turn Off Vuvuzelas: $19.99

    • diagoro says:

      I believe they have alternative uniforms, shoes, and even ‘classic players’. Some are basic achievements, the more desirable you pay for

  13. Cicadymn says:

    You’re an EA customer?

    Well I see your problem right there.

  14. SpendorTheCheap says:

    Last year, he had a “small issue” with MLB 2K11.

    FIrst of all, what the hell does that mean?

    Second of all. . .they sent him a free game. Sounds like they really want to lose customers.

    When he came back this year, and started bitching again, they probably said, “ok, we’ve had enough of this cat. In order for us to provide games cheaper to other customers, we’re going to have to stop using so many resources on this guy.” Fool me once. . .won’t get fooled again.

    All of these problems written about in very general terms, and we have people advocating “chargebacks”. WTF is wrong with you people? This is clearly a moron first degree of the entitlement generation.

    • skapig says:

      Why is it foolish? It’s not stated what the specific problem is, but it is likely something critical. The subby has made a reasonable effort to work with them to get the issue resolved. At this point it’s not an unreasonable action if the item purchased is broken out of the gate.

      • SpendorTheCheap says:

        Because this guy has had more problems with video games in the last 2 years than 99% of peole have in their entire lives.

        It’s not EA. It’s ALEX.

        • dragonfire81 says:

          I’ve worked at video game retailers for a long time and you are dead wrong. For a gamer who buys one game a month, having only a single problem a year is pretty impressive. With all the hardware (Kinect, Move, etc) that’s out there along with bonus content (both disc based and download based) delivered through multiple parties (typically where you preorder a game gets you a certain bonus via a DLC code. If the code doesn’t work, you have to duke it out with Gamestop, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc.)

          And let’s not forget the patches and firmware updates to the games and consoles that can mess things up as well. No longer is it the case that once you get a game home and it plays fine that’s the end of it. Problems can and do happen well after the fact.

        • rdaex says:

          Its not EA, its your lack of third grade reading comprehension

          Also, if you didnt have such an angry tone, someone would have said “his problem before was with 2K games, who handled it properly”, but because you chose to go full on attack mode, you got smacked down.

    • PunditGuy says:

      Best not to toss around terms like “moron” when exhibiting a lack of reading comprehension. 2K and EA are not the same company.

  15. xjeyne says:

    I still don’t see how this is worse than the runners’ up in the WCIA.

  16. Outrun1986 says:

    It is crazy what gamers have to go through these days to not feel ripped off…

    Now I have to research what games have online passes before I even try to buy one, because if I buy it used, then I don’t get the pass. The pass costs $10 to buy, so if I buy one used and pay $54.99, then I have to pay another $10 on top of that to get the pass which means I am paying more for the game than I would have if I just bought the $59.99 brand new copy….

    There is a game for the PS3 called White Knight Chronicles II, which has a code inside which is basically like an online pass. The code costs $10 to buy separate. Gamestop charges 26.99 for a used copy of this game, which doesn’t come with the code. I can buy the game for 29.99 at Walmart or Target factory sealed with the code inside. See where this is going…

    Not to mention used game stores don’t tell customers which games include passes or codes, and neither does ebay, so now if I want to buy a game I have to figure out if it has a code inside before I even try to buy it. My brain is almost fried trying to keep a straight list of which games have online passes, which games have had their servers shut down, and which games have other codes inside which used copies will not have. Not to mention this information is almost impossible to find, the only way to do this is to go on message boards and ask people if the game contains a code or if its safe to buy game x used….

    • CoachTabe says:

      In California, Gamestop just lost a lawsuit and now has to display which games do not include their online codes or whatever.

  17. HowardRoarksTSquare says:

    Still not sure why they won worst company in America.

    At least Phil is no longer a part of the blog – so I guess it’s a wash

    • lvdave says:

      Yeah.. me too.. In a contest for the worst company between Bank Of America and EA, its a no-brainer for me..It couldn’t be ANYbody besides BofA.. The ballotbox HAD to have been stuffed.. or more likely the SEIU union thugs, having nothing better to do till November, “influenced” the vote.. Sure must have been a bunch of crack addicts.. err gamers here to get EA the Golden Poo vs BofA…..

      • dangermike says:

        SEIU? What would their interest be? I just assumed it was 4chan, dismissed the silliness of it all, and went on with life.

  18. cryptique says:

    Why is Rob Corddry on the cover of FIFA Soccer ’12?

  19. AdviceDog says:

    I REMEMBER BULLFROG