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June 26th, 2009, 04:00
Square Enix being sued over non-open monies writes Oli Welsh.
Esther Leong from San Francisco has brought a class action lawsuit against the US arm of the Japanese RPG giant, claiming that Square Enix deceived 100,000 customers by lying about or concealing "its monthly fees, penalties for late payments, interest, restrictions, and other things that should have been fully disclosed at points of purchase".
The suit seeks damages of over USD 5 million on behalf of players and alleges "unfair business practices, false advertising, and unjust enrichment".
Original article at 1UP.
A class action lawsuit has been brought against Square Enix, seeking more than $5 million for what is alleged to be "unfair business practices, false advertising and unjust enrichment" (via Courthouse News Service)
The named plaintiff is Esther Leong of San Francisco, who said that Square Enix "lied about or concealed its monthly fees, penalties for late payments, interest, restrictions and other things that should have been fully disclosed at points of purchase" concerning Final Fantasy XI. Leong is being represented by Ronald Makarem and Michael Kim.
More information.
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June 26th, 2009, 04:00
Eeeesh, sounds like the old "pay me $100,000 or you'll have to pay your lawyers $300,000" trick.
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June 26th, 2009, 13:22
The guy actually has a point. Hidden pretty deep in all of their agreements this can be found (https://secure.playonline.com/suppor…polmember.html):

"5.2 Subscription Fee.
[…]

(a) Payment of Fee.

[…]If at any time your payment method should cease to be valid, or should otherwise reject charges, your access to and use of the PlayOnline Services as a whole will be suspended immediately, and you will be required to provide a valid credit card in your name, or other approved payment method, in order to reactivate your account. Before reactivation of your account, all delinquent Subscription Fees will be charged to the valid payment method newly registered. You may incur fees (in addition to the Subscription Fee) for any such reactivation of your account, and you acknowledge and understand that such fees will be charged without further notice to you."
[…]

"(c) Late Fees and SEI Rights.

In the event that you are late in paying any Subscription Fee due hereunder, or refuse to pay any credit card or other applicable bill containing a Subscription Fee charge (such that SEI incurs fees, penalties, or other expenses as a result thereof), SEI shall be entitled to charge you a late fee at the annual rate maximum allowed by applicable laws, of all amounts due and owing, charged on a monthly basis for so long as you remain delinquent in your payment obligations. SEI shall further be entitled to pass through to you, for prompt payment by you, any and all fees, penalties, or other expenses charged to SEI by any credit card company, bank, collection agency, or any other company or institution as a result of your failure to timely pay all amounts due under this Agreement, together with a 10% administrative fee."

This does not seem fair to me. His subscription is automatically cancelled and if he ever decides to play again he has to pay for all the time he didn't play, pay some fees and administrative costs as well. It's like having to pay the rent for an apartment, which I was thrown out from for not being able to pay.

I will certainly never pay them anything again unless they change this to something a bit more fair and I will definitely read through agreements more carefully in the future.

Edit: His first complaint is: "i. Licensing of the online game software disguised as a sale". I agree that they really should stop talking about selling games. It is licensing. If one takes a look at FF XI's US page it clearly says: "Buy now or free trial". If not illegal, then at least it is lying and morally despicable.
Last edited by SveNitoR; June 26th, 2009 at 13:49.
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June 26th, 2009, 15:00
Originally Posted by SveNitoR View Post
The guy actually has a point. Hidden pretty deep in all of their agreements this can be found (https://secure.playonline.com/suppor…polmember.html):

"5.2 Subscription Fee.
[…]

(a) Payment of Fee.

[…]If at any time your payment method should cease to be valid, or should otherwise reject charges, your access to and use of the PlayOnline Services as a whole will be suspended immediately, and you will be required to provide a valid credit card in your name, or other approved payment method, in order to reactivate your account. Before reactivation of your account, all delinquent Subscription Fees will be charged to the valid payment method newly registered. You may incur fees (in addition to the Subscription Fee) for any such reactivation of your account, and you acknowledge and understand that such fees will be charged without further notice to you."
[…]

"(c) Late Fees and SEI Rights.

In the event that you are late in paying any Subscription Fee due hereunder, or refuse to pay any credit card or other applicable bill containing a Subscription Fee charge (such that SEI incurs fees, penalties, or other expenses as a result thereof), SEI shall be entitled to charge you a late fee at the annual rate maximum allowed by applicable laws, of all amounts due and owing, charged on a monthly basis for so long as you remain delinquent in your payment obligations. SEI shall further be entitled to pass through to you, for prompt payment by you, any and all fees, penalties, or other expenses charged to SEI by any credit card company, bank, collection agency, or any other company or institution as a result of your failure to timely pay all amounts due under this Agreement, together with a 10% administrative fee."

This does not seem fair to me. His subscription is automatically cancelled and if he ever decides to play again he has to pay for all the time he didn't play, pay some fees and administrative costs as well. It's like having to pay the rent for an apartment, which I was thrown out from for not being able to pay.
I don't believe that's what it means. If the account is canceled in January and you decide to play again in June, they won't charge you 5 months! they will charge whatever you owed, plus possible fees. Now, I don't know how this would be applicable since you pay in advance (i.e. when you pay $15 on Jan 1st, that's for your playing Jan 1st to Jan 31st)
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June 27th, 2009, 11:09
Yes you are probably right about that, since it says "all amounts due and owing". Still seems overly harsh though.
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June 27th, 2009, 11:46
lying about or concealing
Hahaha! Good luck Esther. It's all there in those EULA screens you rapidly click through to get to your Chocobo. Give me a break.
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June 27th, 2009, 13:35
Originally Posted by SveNitoR View Post
Edit: His first complaint is: "i. Licensing of the online game software disguised as a sale". I agree that they really should stop talking about selling games. It is licensing. If one takes a look at FF XI's US page it clearly says: "Buy now or free trial". If not illegal, then at least it is lying and morally despicable.
In U.S. law maybe, but as far as I know it's technically buying in German law, no matter how much U.S. firms try to conceal that.

If the person was living here in Germany, this point would be valid, I think.

By the way, I have found so far only two games I didn't install because I didn't agree with their terms. The one was Trackmania, both free games of that series, the other one was that trial of the Star Wars Galaxies online trading card game, because Sony Online says in it that ALL and everything I send to thm will become property of them within the whole universe and until the end of time, basically, no matter whether they want what I send to them or not. No joke, it's in their terms. I quoted it somewhere here, I think in the "what games are you playing right now" thread.

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June 28th, 2009, 02:52
Alrik, does this apply to all SOE games? I hope not because I like Vanguard and want to play it again.
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June 28th, 2009, 07:43
Originally Posted by SveNitoR View Post
Alrik, does this apply to all SOE games? I hope not because I like Vanguard and want to play it again.
I don't understand the problem. What is it that you could send them?
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June 29th, 2009, 11:22
Originally Posted by SveNitoR View Post
Alrik, does this apply to all SOE games? I hope not because I like Vanguard and want to play it again.
I don't know. Haven't played any SOE game.

Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
I don't understand the problem. What is it that you could send them?
That's not the point. The point is that they are daring to actually use such a rule.

It's not the point that no-one might use it, the point is that it is there.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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June 29th, 2009, 13:39
Don't all MMO's have something like that. You are sending them a lot of information like: who you are, where you live, creditcard information, when you are online, what you did in the game, what you said in the game etc, etc. It all belongs to them and not to you.

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June 29th, 2009, 18:49
No, I don't mean this information either. They explicitely wrote about artwork one might send in, too.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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June 29th, 2009, 19:05
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
No, I don't mean this information either. They explicitely wrote about artwork one might send in, too.
Perfectly standard procedure as far as I know. It's their IP, they want control of it, and don't ever want to be liable to anyone else for works created to do with it. It's just that much easier.

EULAs have been found to be legally binding before, so if the fees were mentioned in it and the complainants have electronically signed to say they have read, understand and agree to the EULA then I'm not sure they have a leg to stand on. I don't think they can go in on the point of sale thing unless you get charged more than you were expecting for playing the game in the manner it was sold to you (ie if it says anything about requiring a monthly subscription and the fees don't apply when you comply with the usual monthly subscription then you are getting what you paid for at point of sale). If you behave in manner not reasonably accounted for at point of sale (missing payments etc.) then I don't think you can then complain that additional costs associated with these actions weren't pointed out to you at point of sale (which is usually subject to acceptance of the EULA anyway).
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June 30th, 2009, 10:35
Here is the exact text as I quoted it (both in German and in English languages):
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showp…postcount=1774

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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June 30th, 2009, 11:04
That's not that uncommon. You'll see something similar in many contests where you can send in some piece of art as well. What they want to prevent is for them having to pay you royalties over anything that you send them whenever they decide to use it. I don't see a reason in that for not playing the game though; don't send them anything.

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June 30th, 2009, 14:51
It's like a friend of mine. He wouldn't listen to Genesis old songs because Phil Collins was in there, and many years later he made the song Sussudio and he hated that song LOL
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