Yesterday Electronic Arts offered up a list of freebie games for disgruntled SimCity customers (and oh yeah, its CEO announced his resignation), but from what Consumerist readers are saying, the options are at best “meh” and at worst, laughable. Reader L. hadn’t had much success playing SimCity but realized his chances of getting a refund were more than slim.
Instead of even trying for a refund, he writes that he contacted EA directly on Saturday to inquire about having his purchase returned as an Origin credit. After all, he wouldn’t mind playing a different game “that has passed its first-run hiccup stage and is working solidly.”
Even that effort took him about an hour on hold for a live chat rep, who wouldn’t refund the purchase as a credit but did give him a ticket and phone number to call to get his SimCity license revoked and receive a credit.
He called the number, EA’s general help line, and waited a further 45 minutes on hold before speaking to “a friendly gent” who spent an hour and a half trying to help him reinstall SimCity and get it working properly. At the end of that exhausting exercise it was still a no-go, but the CSR didn’t have the clearance on the weekend to issue a credit or refund.
Cut to yesterday when L. started the whole process again. Persistence paid off in his case, he writes, albeit after a bit of a wait.
After 2hr, 19m on the phone today (1:58 of which was hold music), EA & I came to a surprising resolution. I was uninterested in any of the “freebie” games, and I politely informed the second-tier tech that I’d rather have one game I liked than two games I didn’t.
With much stammering and explanation that “this is a one-time deal only,” they revoked my SimCity access and replaced it with another $60 game I was interested in. I’m still in the process of installing my new game, but I gotta say — I didn’t really expect to get a concession on their end.
Surprise success! We’ll take it. And L. points out that perhaps other readers unhappy with SimCity who don’t want any of the freebies might try browsing Origin’s catalog and requesting a swap with another game.
“It’s not a refund, but it’s certainly better than eating $60 (or $80) over a game you don’t intend to keep playing,” writes L.
In related news, another reader called our attention to an interesting bit of fine print contained within EA’s FAQ on the freebie games it offered — if you’re a minor you don’t have a choice of game, but you do get two downloads instead of one:
I’m an underage user, how do I get my game?
Users who are beneath the minimum age required to access interactive online services will automatically be granted a copy of SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition and Bejeweled 3 instead. These games will be added directly to your My Games library over the coming days. You do not need to take any action. If you do not see these games in your My Games library by March 31, 2013, please contact help.origin.com.
Let’s not forget — EA won Consumerist’s Worst Company In America last year and it’s up for the title again this year.