On Facebook, in the #eq2 chatroom, on guild websites, and yes on EQ2Flames, players have been chiming in that they have been charged by SOE on May 2nd and beyond, with some customers seeing charges hitting as late as May 3rd, 4th, 5th, and even May 6th, well after the games went down. Is it time to call Shenanigans? Is SOE’s billing department on the rampage?
We certainly thought so, and ran a story about it (we’ve since pulled the story, but the comments are still visible). With communications in and out of SOE tighter than a snare drum, it’s been nearly impossible to verify just what was going on, and with comments on SOE’s Facebook page about this issue having received little attention, we felt it necessary to post a story on the issue. However it was not our lucky day (Friday the 13th and all that), and of course there was more to this story.
Linda Carlson took a moment to inform us that SOE’s Billing service was shut down at the same time as all other SOE games and services, in the early morning hours of May 2nd:
– When SOE services were taken offline, this included the billing server. It’s down. No billing has taken place since.
– Charges can take up to five days (sometimes longer) to process depending on the financial institution, so they could certainly have shown up later.
– Because the servers are offline, players have been unable to cancel accounts. However, our CS is doing so manually for any who call to request it.
– Bottom line, with regard to account status and billing: anyone can receive a direct, honest answer and assistance from our CS folks. They are just a phone call away: 1-858-537-0898, from 10:00am – 7:00pm PST, Monday through Friday, except holidays. Give CS a chance!
So why were people charged afterwards? To understand that requires delving into how Credit Card Authorizations work. First, I’d like to thank the readers who contacted me with their last billing date info and their comments about this story as well. It was very helpful.
To explain Credit Authorization, we thought we would quote a reader comment. Here’s Zharxian:
It seems there needs to be an explanation of how debit/credit transactions work, and hopefully this will clear up some misunderstandings.
With debit cards, there are two types of transactions: Debit or credit. The debit transaction is any transaction where you use your pin and is immediately deducted from the account and is reflected in the current AND available balance.
The credit type of transaction works differently. The merchant will submit an authorization to the bank for a particular amount, and the bank will “hold” those funds in reserve for the merchant. These funds should be reflected in the available balance, but not the current balance. The bank will then wait for up to 3 business days for the “receipt” to arrive so they can debit the funds from the current balance. The reason for this is in the case that the receipt has a different amount than the authorization or “held” amount. This type of transaction does not use a pin.
As an example, if you go to a restaurant and your order comes to 10 dollars and you use your card to pay for it. Your waiter will bring a receipt for you to sign and there is a place for you to add a tip. The bank has no idea that you placed a tip on the receipt until they receive it. So, until that is received by them, the bank will only hold the amount the restaurant told the bank was authorized. The bank will then debit the tip when they get the receipt and THEN the charge will show in available and current balances.
Another example is with a gas purchase. Usually, you will see a 1 dollar authorization after a gas purchase, but you put 50 dollars in your car. Once again, the bank is waiting for the receipt to come in so they can charge the full amount.
So what, if anything, should you do at this point?
|Be careful about refusing, disputing, or requesting a “chargeback” of the charges.
Unless you are quitting the game for good, a CHARGEBACK is not a good choice. It not only costs SOE additional money but is legally equivalent to severing your business relationship with SOE. They will likely completely cancel/close your account, possibly affecting any kind of “make right” program instituted by SOE in the future. If you decide to re-activate service, it may take a lengthy phone call to SOE Customer Service to get your account reinstated.
|You could call SOE and ask them to suspend charges for the time being.
If you are done with EQ2 and want to cancel your account on a more permanent basis, the way to do this is to contact SOE at their Billing Department at 858-537-0898.
Note that Customer Service will take your name down and apply the changes once their access to Accouts has been restored.
|Shouldn’t you have already canceled your bank/debit/credit card and been issued a new one by now?
Probably. Although SOE has indicated that no credit card information on SOE accounts registered in the US was taken, better safe than sorry. All banks and credit services offer a relatively painless fraud replacement hotline or extension for this type of situation, considering the prevalence of security breaches these days.
You may be without a valid card for several days, so this may be rather inconvenient if your EQ2 account is on your primary bank debit card that you use to pay other bills. Maybe this would be a good time to move EQ2 and other ‘entertainment’ charges to a separate card.
Cancelling/changing your credit card info is not the same as disputing a charge. SOE’s systems will simply receive a ‘bounce’ or error message and will simply flag your account inactive until you provide the new details.
Tags: account security
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