SimCity publisher Electronic Arts isn't offering refunds for copies of the game purchased digitally through Origin, even though an Origin community manager previously said aggrieved players could request refunds.
Players who are frustrated by a continuing inability to access SimCity's servers — and therefore, play the game at all — can seek refunds if they bought the title through a third-party retailer like Amazon. But as the Origin Twitter account reminded people this afternoon, EA's policy is, "in general," not to offer refunds on any products purchased digitally through Origin.
Amid the chaos of SimCity's North American launch Tuesday morning, Origin global community manager Marcel Hatam apologized to players in a post on the EA Forums. He initially said, "If you regrettably feel that we let you down, you can of course request a refund for your order at [Origin's "contact us" page], though we're currently still in the process of resolving this issue."
But Hatam's post has since been edited. It now asks customers simply to "please review our refund policy here," with a link that goes to the aforementioned refund policy — under which Origin gives no refunds for digital games.
"please review our refund policy"
One player posted a transcript of a text chat with Origin customer support in which he asked for a refund but was rebuffed. When the customer linked Hatam's original post, the support rep replied, "You can request a refund, but ... it is also the our [sic] discretion to process a refund. When the user said he would call his bank and dispute the charge, the support rep told him, "If you choose to dispute it, your account will be banned."
The Origin Twitter account later clarified that statement, saying, "We will not ban players for requesting refunds."
Develop also spoke with an Origin customer support rep about refunds. The rep said that "refunds are only given in exceptional circumstances," and explained that SimCity's server issues did not qualify, at least "not right now."
At least one Reddit user "wasn't getting anywhere" through chat, but said they were able to get a refund by calling EA's customer support hotline, although the person waited for "about an hour." However, another Reddit user posting in the thread said they spent an hour and a half on the phone with a total of three support reps, and ended up being unsuccessful in their pursuit of a refund.
"we will not ban players for requesting refunds"
We called the EA support line ourselves and were on hold for approximately 55 minutes before a support rep answered and said, "We are not offering any refunds due to server issues right now." Asked if that could change, the rep told us, "It's hard to say," and added that Maxis is "working 24/7" to fix the server issues. She also reiterated Origin's general policy, which is to deny refunds "except for special mitigating circumstances," like a buyer realizing their computer doesn't meet a game's system requirements.
We also reached out to Maxis and Origin representatives over email to ask about SimCity refunds. An Origin PR representative pointed us to the aforementioned tweets from Origin, and added, "As a general policy, EA does not offer refunds on products downloaded through Origin. If a player has a question about the policy, they're welcome to contact our Customer Experience group at help.ea.com."
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