Turbine Account Management Woes: Account Tying LOTRO & DDO
Another feather in the “no good deed goes unpunished” hat today. After going through beta, pre-order, and supporting the LOTRO product line, I find myself being held hostage to some very thoughtless business processes at Turbine. The type of business process behavior that monopolies and successful large firms unintentionally put forward to force their customers to operate for the convenience of the firm — not to benefit the customer.
I own two LOTRO lifetime accounts, and I was a DDO subscriber for two years. I want to cancel my DDO account, as I no longer have time to play it. After cancellation, two back to back $143.00 charges on my AMEX hit. I challenged them through my credit card company.
I changed the credit card out on the LOTRO account in question, but customer service told me that until they recover the $286, Turbine will not allow me to have access to my LOTRO account. They would also not consider moving or deleting the DDO account until such time as they take $286.00 from my family.
[6/30/08 I called ---> Call our Account Management team -- Speak live with one of our Account Management Representatives via telephone from 12:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. ET Monday - Friday by dialing: 781-407-4020. ]
Interesting things get exposed to me as I continue to run up against unyielding, thoughtless corporate bureaucracies in the gaming industry. The screenshot shows the Turbine account management portal with these two accounted tied together.
The Turbine customer service representative contends that none of this bad situation would have happened to me if I had just called them rather than calling my credit card company. He acknowledged that I paid for my LOTRO account in full, but that all accounts tied to that credit card and user ID are locked until they get their $286.00 out of me. Hence, until I pay them $286.00 for my DDO account, they are locking my lifetime LOTRO account.
Hence, Turbine is depriving me of a service for which I already paid. They will not allow access to the service until I compensate them for a service that I challenged.
I assented to the extortion and was going to pay for the $286 and then seek other relief, but when I told him that, he stated that he could not process my credit card and would have to get a supervisor to phone me back.
This example of a horrid business practice is amazing. This company is withholding a service that I already paid for without any compensation. It is forcing me to pay for another service that I no longer desire to consume.
I am such a needy and demanding customer. I actually want access to the service for which I already paid. Turbine decided that it will hold my PAID IN FULL LOTRO LIFETIME account hostage until such time as I cough up my $286.00 for an unused DDO account.
So what do I want:
1) Immediate access to the paid in full LOTRO account.
2) I want the DDO account eliminated from the user name with which it is associated.
I realize my demands are terribly onerous. But I stand by them.
So what should you do?
1) Do not allow these companies to have multiple accounts tied to one user ID. they exert way to much control over your entertainment as it is
2) Remember that these large firms operate in the interest of their shareholders — they only operate in the interest of the consumer when faced with mass discontent. This isn’t my first rodeo with these large firms, and since they control the intellectual property and the infrastructure, the individual has very little power to assert any rights into the conversation.
3) Bear in mind that these corporations can do what they want to your account, your digital house, and your digital narrative experience. They are another intermediary into the narrative world into which you want to immerse yourself.
4) If you experienced a similar situation, report the business practice to the Better business Bureau and any bloggers, reporters, or others that might render aid. A single voice is only useful in changing these sort of practices if you operate in a chorus.
It’s so frustrating to deal with these sort of issues. I hope that some of you might benefit from this negative experience in some small way. LOTRO is a great product … as is DDO.
However, I should not have to pay for something I don’t want to access something for which I have already paid. That is just wrong, and it dampens the whole experience both in-game and in the realspace.
Tags: Account, Bad, Business, Business Process, DDO, Digital Distribution, Dungeons & Dragons, Entertainment, Lord of the Rings, Lotro, LOTRO, management, Mismanagement, MMORPG, On-Line, Practice, Turbine, Web 2.0