Diablo 3 Patch Devalues Items; Players Advocate ‘Chargebacks’
Saying you didn’t receive something when you did, though sometimes difficult for credit card companies or merchants to discover in their investigations, is actually a form of credit card fraud. It’s known by the term “Friendly Fraud,” and it’s a big problem for online retailers especially. And because it is a form of fraud, it can have legal implications should police become involved; by initiating a chargeback, a consumer is basically both claiming they paid for something they didn’t receive in writing, and submitting to an investigation. Credit card companies and banks all have different rules about chargebacks, as well, and multiple chargebacks on an account can trigger fraud investigations or potentially have other impacts on a customer’s credit. The cost of issuing a chargeback to Blizzard is very likely to be a permanent ban on a player’s Battle.net account, at the least.
In the case of auction house items in a video game, the situation gets a great deal more nebulous, since the situation deals with virtual goods and the issue isn’t one of “item not received,” but of “item not what I thought it was.” The players advocating using chargebacks are advocating some form of dishonesty, even if they do feel as though Blizzard took advantage of them.
There’s also another caveat — lots of chargebacks appearing on the accounts of a business like Blizzard can have further implications, like higher fees or fines from the bank with which the merchant does business. The most vindictive players who advocate chargebacks know this, and hope that a run on refunds will hit Blizzard where it’ll hurt most: the company’s bottom line.
Game Front reached out to Blizzard for comment on the Patch 1.0.3 situation, but questions posed to the company were never answered. Blizzard instead pointed to a statement in its Diablo 3 auction house customer support page on Battle.net, which outlines what happens if players purchase an item that is later altered by an update.
“It’s important for us to ensure that Diablo III remains balanced and fun for years after launch,” the FAQ reads. “To that end, it may be necessary to change stats or alter abilities of items from time to time. It’s very important to note that Blizzard will not be providing refunds or making other accommodations if a purchased item is later altered in a patch. Given this, it’s up to players to determine whether they’re comfortable purchasing items in the real-money auction house.”
There are also an official customer support channel through which players can submit issues or complaints to Blizzard, which can be accessed through this link. Given Blizzard’s official stance on auction house purchases, however, gaining refunds through these channels seems unlikely.