On Thursday reports began to surface that EA threatened to ban any SimCity owner who requested a refund. That was a 180-degree about-face from the company's stance on launch day, as EA said it would provide customers with refunds if they were unhappy with the service. As of Friday, that stance continues to some degree, but somewhere between now and then, a rep said differently.
The rumor about a possible ban began with this forum post, as disgruntled gamer "CalebPeters" took to the EA forums and posted a message between himself and an EA representative. The SimCity customer was offered a 15-percent off coupon with his next purchase, and help with troubleshooting issues, but no money was going to be released by the company.
The possible ban likely stems from the customer's threat to dispute the charge at the bank. The argument between the two continued on until the rep reveals that according to company policy, refunds are at the company's discretion, and won't always be offered.
"The servers are having issues, with more servers opening up as other countries release then we will show these issues resolving themselves," the rep said. "I can understand this causing frustrations and I do apologize for this. I am sorry, but I am not able to process a refund. Is there anything else that I can assist you with?"
The sad aspect about this dispute is that once a gamer is banned from Origin, they lose every purchase that uses the platform. It's essentially like getting kicked out of Steam – all those game keys and all that hard earned money is lost.
EA followed up with a statement via Twitter. The company said that players won't be banned for requesting refunds, and pointed to the company's Returns & Cancellations policy. Based on the information, EA forum user CalebPEters may have downloaded the digital version which is not refundable.
"All physical products purchased through our Origin Store come with a 14-day unconditional guarantee," the policy reads. "If you don't like it, you can return it within 14 days of its delivery for a prompt refund -- no questions asked!"
Now here's the digital version. "As a general policy, EA does not offer refunds on any products downloaded through Origin," the policy states. EA backs this up on Twitter, reporting that "in general we do not offer refunds on digital download games."
What a mess. Suddenly the Nintendo 3DS is looking a lot more friendly.