Star Trek Online player is banned following lifetime subscription refund bungle

    
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File this one under “no good deed goes unpunished”: A 10-year veteran of Star Trek Online who picked up a lifetime sub to the game recently ended up with a banned account thanks to technical and customer support difficulties.

Norwegian Redditor MattPoly detailed the situation on the game’s subreddit, explaining the circumstances that led to his account’s banning after having some issues with a perk related to the lifetime sub. According to the story, MattPoly had asked support about one of the lifetime subscriber benefits of additional shared bank slots, which were for unknown reasons not probably applied. Initally, support told him he’d already gotten all of his benefits and there was nothing more that could be done. The player then replied with another ticket complete with screenshots to corroborate his story, which was met with the same response. He then submitted a third ticket asking to either have the issue fixed or have his lifetime sub refund, which earned the reply that “attempts on [his] part to get [his] money back would have serious repercussion to [his] account.”

Following the advice of a US-based lawyer, MattPoly sent Cryptic a formal letter of complaint, asking for a refund or to be contacted about the situation within seven days or face legal action. This was met with the following response, which was both shared in a copied post and in an image of the reply:

After further review, we’ve granted a refund to your account. However the account will be banned. The funds should be visible in 5-7 business days. Feel free to contact us again if you have further questions.

Thank you for playing.

Regards,
GM DragonAsh, Senior Game Master

One reply to the matter suggested that MattPoly may had already maxed out his shared bank slots, but the OP explained that he was not maxed out despite having used Silver to get 10 slots around 2012-2013. The vast majority of players urged him to reach out to Ambassador Kael, which he says he has already done, though like many such loyal MMO players mistreated by customer support he appears to be beaten down by the event.

“At this point my account matters less and less due to the thought of having such a bad and unpredictable support system in place. This would always be in the back of my mind. Even starting a brand new one free account could be preferable. Ironically enough I’m sure if I had bought lifetime for a new account, all the rewards would be there without issue. The other side of this is the love for Trek, regardless of developers, publishers etc. That stings.”

We don’t often cover these sorts of account actions, as we’re well aware that in most cases, we’re getting only one side of a story and that studios can rarely comment to defend themselves. However, in this case, the situation is well-documented, and while it might be understandable that a studio would be tempted or obliged to ban any account that suggested legal restitution whether just or not, it’s still one hell of a bad look for the game and its customer support. We’re fans of Star Trek Online around here, so we’re very much hoping that PWE and Cryptic will rethink this one.

source: Reddit
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Mookie

Sorry to hear of your Account woes. Simply put, Cryptic Studios/Perfect World offers the worst Customer Service of any publisher of online games. Avoid Star Trek Online like the plague. Spend your time and entertainment euros elsewhere. It is the same story over and over. No communication from them whatsoever. Just surprise! Booted from server and account banned for no reason. The game Community Manager is in over his head and should have been replaced years ago.

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Ian Thompson

I am having an extremely similar issue right now that I’d appreciate having some publicity. Players on STO told me to bring up as much publicity as possible to my issue because of the issue regarding MattPoly being not so different from mine.

Account Ban For Refund from sto

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Franklin Adams

Sounds like Craptic. I haven’t played or given them a fucking red cent since they got rid of the foundry because they couldn’t find a way to nickle and dime people over it, while blaming technical issues that they never specified.

Funny thing is I was going to buy a lifetime sub, finally, then they announced the foundry shutdown the day I was gonna buy it. The money went somewhere else instead.

I’m not at all surprised they banned this guy, they probably figured he’d just go away. It’s probably not a good idea to try that on someone who obviously already has legal counsel but they’re pretty fucking inept.

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Jeremy Zharkov

Like a lot of subscriber games that went F2P, you got some benefits if you used to be a subscriber.

That’s the case here. If you were a subscriber, you got various slots and you got to keep them if you stopped subscribing.

The lifetime sub slots aren’t in addition to this. They are these. So if you subbed before and then got a lifetime sub, you didn’t get more of them, because you already had the benefits

Clark Niklas
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Clark Niklas

I have seen this suggestion getting thrown around. Yet no one has been able to link to any such statement from STO. Where is this information?

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Kickstarter Donor
Darthbawl

I get a little bit tempted anytime they put the lifetime sub on sale. Never actually bite though. This story is one of the reasons.

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Kickstarter Donor
NecroFox4

I’ve been tempted in the past, too. This story has turned me off from ever considering it again. And, in fact, it has really turned me off from ever spending another penny on STO altogether.

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Kickstarter Donor
NecroFox4

This one is rather disturbing to me.

PWE/Cryptic lists something for sale for a large sum of money.

You buy it, it doesn’t include what it listed, so you contact support.

Support tells you to kick rocks, they can’t be bothered.

You ask for your money back, and suddenly YOU’RE the one in the wrong, and get banned?

What in the hell is going on over at PWE/Cryptic that they think this makes any logical sense whatsoever?

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dreamer

The lack of true consumer protections when it comes to stuff like this (and gaming in general) is the primary problem.

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Bruno Brito

Honestly? Someone below said something i’m more inclined to believe:

They lack the expertise to simply revert accounts back to non-lifetime, so they ban them as a abrasive solution. Not far-fetched, considering that Cryptic’s development is a dumpsterfire.

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James Crow

not that i agree with PWE but nowdays we all know when a player take a legal action or even cancel something they bought it mean the player going to get refund but also account ban.

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Caley Kastigen

Its not a good look to be honest yet I also think Cryptic and PWE do not care about their actual image they just make money with their lootboxes and trundle along.

Sigh heres wishing for a Star Trek MMO from a good company (are there any? lol)

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Knecht_Rootrecht

Star Trek Online is a very old game build on the foundation of an ever older one. It had lots and lots of spaghetti code and it wouldn’t surprise me if customer support was unable to solve the issue. Removing a lifetime sub might not even be possible under the circumstances so every time they do a refund, they also ban the account.

Speaking from someone with experience in customer support, contacting your lawyer escalates an issue quickly. In the company I worked at, every time a customer threatened legal actions or had his lawyer write a response, it was out of our hands. The entire matter had to be forwarded to the legal department and for them customer satisfaction was not a metric. They were more concerned with what they can get away with, legally speaking.

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Zuldar

Not the kind of publicity they need when they’re about to launch a new game.