EA refusing refunds over SimCity server woes

EA refusing refunds over SimCity server woes
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

March 7th 2013 at 5:21PM

Customer support says online issues do not count as 'exceptional circumstances'

EA is not taking refunds from SimCity customers who bought the title through Origin over the problematic server issues that have plagued the game’s early release.

Reports sparked across the internet earlier today from angry consumers that the publisher’s customer support group was not offering money back.

This is despite EA's Origin global community manager Marcel Hatam previously stating: "If you regrettably feel that we let you down, you can of course request a refund for your order at help.origin.com/contact-us, though we are currently still in the process of resolving this issue.

Develop took to EA Origin’s customer support to clarify the reports, and has been told that a refund would not be offered for the purchase of SimCity due to the server problems.

Customers can claim refunds in “exceptional circumstances”, but when asked whether connection issues for the always online title came under that description, a customer service representative told us “not right now”.

You can find a transcription of the chat below – names have been taken out in the interests of privacy.

Develop: Would it be possible to get a refund on SimCity if server problems persist?

Customer Support: Refunds are only given in exceptional circumstances, that is the only word I have on the matter right now.

Develop: Does this count as an exceptional circumstance?

Customer Support: Not right now

Develop: Is there a point when it would be, or has that yet to be discussed?

Customer Support: If that were to come about, it would be announced widely - I have no idea if that will even come to be, or any other information about it

Despite largely positive reviews for the latest entry into the SimCity franchise, garnering an average Metacritic rating of 82, Maxis’ intent with the ambitious title has arguably been undermined by its parent company’s customer service response.

The issue also brings up consumers’ rights when downloading a title from a digital distribution platform, and what is considered an ‘exceptional circumstance’.

After an angry response to the game’s early struggles from consumers, EA has apologised for its handling of the launch, and stated that it was working to fix the issues as soon as possible and was sorry for any inconvenience caused.

“We are working to clear traffic from the roads and hope to have all players managing their cities as soon as possible," read a statement.

"We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your patience while we work on a resolution to this issue.”

Maxis senior producer Kip Katsarelis has also said that the developer is paying close attention to all bug reports, with the development team working night and day to resolve the problems.

“What we are doing is deploying more servers over the coming two days which will alleviate many of the ongoing issues. We are also paying close attention to all the bug reports we are receiving from our fans. We’ve already pushed several updates in the last few days. Our live ops team is working 24/7 to resolve issues and ensure that bug fixes roll into the game as quickly as possible."