Consumerist reader Kevin was one of many SimCity gamers ticked off last week (likely plenty are still fuming this week), but unlike many of his fellow players, he was able to procure a refund for the deluxe digital edition. What in the what? “But EA doesn’t seem to be giving out refunds!” you might’ve just yelled at the screen. Kevin attributes his success to the executive email carpet bomb, or the EECB.
Kevin writes that his problem started right from the get-go on launch day, when the game didn’t show up in his Origin queue. Six hours later he was finally able to download the game and install it, but alas, he was “met with gridlock worse than the AI traffic in the game.”
He tried for three days to play the game, and failed to play more than 30 minutes over that time period. He could only connect twice, and was finally fed up with the situation. First he tried to contact Origin support but was repeatedly refused a request for a refund, and he says he was told if he issued a charge back on his credit card his account would be banned from Origin. Origin has said it wasn’t banning accounts of users seeking refunds.
Being a loyal Consumerist reader, he says he decided to bust out the EECB and sent the below email to the CEO of EA, John Riccitiello and the Lead Producer of SimCity, Kip Katsarelis. Read below for a good example of how to write a complaint letter — he doesn’t “yell” in all caps, doesn’t use nasty language and states his case as clearly as possible:
I had the lovely displeasure of dealing with Origin support today in a matter regarding SimCity. I pre-ordered SimCity shortly before the launch of the game. I had debated whether or not to do it because of my concerns with the always online DRM of the game. At the last minute I decided that my experience in the closed beta was decent enough to warrant the purchase. I purchased the $79.99 Digital Deluxe Edition on my Origin account linked to this email address. Ever since then for the last 48 hours I have been unable to play more than 5 minutes of the game. The always online DRM and disarray of the servers has caused me to be unable to use the product which I purchased. I have long been a fan of SimCity, however I can’t stomach paying that much money for something that I can’t even use. I understand the game is new, but this has shown me that I am at the mercy of not only other people clogging the servers, but of EA failing to properly support the game.
Therefore I asked for a refund. I was refused, multiple times. My case number for my support session was [redacted]. I am reaching out in one last attempt for a refund. I would like my full purchase refunded to my card no later than COB Wednesday March 13th. Failure to do so will cause me to initiate a chargeback on my account and stop purchasing EA products. I realize that doing so will cause my Origin account to be banned. I do not appreciate having other games which I have purchased held hostage forcing me to pay 80$ for a game which I cannot use.
Please refund my purchase, I believe the experience with the game clearly falls under EA’s ‘exceptional circumstances’ clause for issuing refunds.
He writes that within an hour, he had a response from a customer service representative from EA. At first the CSR, who he calls A., apologized and just let him know the latest updates regarding the server issues.
But then she added a personal touch, one which Kevin appreciated:
I hope that it doesn’t seem like I’m denying your request by informing you of this, because that isn’t my intention. I did notice that you pre-ordered the Digital Deluxe edition though, and it’s clear that this is a game you were excited to play. If you truly feel that there is no other resolution aside from a refund, however, I will do my best to help.
If you would like, you are welcome to provide a convenient day, time (time zone included), and phone number that I can reach you at during the week. I will then schedule a time that we can discuss this further and hopefully bring it to a close. I look forward to your response and I appreciate your patience; thank you.
Kevin says he waited one more day for EA to fix the game, but since he was still unable to play he asked A. to continue with the refund process. Even though she was sick and unable to contact him during the week, he writes that she called him on the weekend — still sounding sick — and processed his refund.
All’s well that ends well, for Kevin, but he says that despite his success, he can’t help but feel bad for his frustrated brethren.
“I am very happy with the support that [A.] provided me, but I am still disheartened that it took this much effort on my part to get the proper end result,” he tells Consumerist of his EECB experience. “Any other dissatisfied gamers attempting to get a refund might attempt the EECB themselves and see if they get better results than normal Origin support.”