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Star Citizen Forum » General Discussion » Consumer rights and CIG legal responsibilities

15 posts found
  dioniman

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/09/14
Posts: 2

 
OP  5/09/14 12:16:00 PM#1

Hi fellows.

Sorry about my english. This is not my base language.

I already noticed that many of the CIG customers, after watched some discussions in other websites and here does not really understand your own customer rights and what are the legal obligations/responsibilities that CIG, as a business, have to stick with it, in terms of the US Ad and Marketing Laws.

So, first of all, I invite you to read the content of this website, so you understand better my further points raised:

http://www.sba.gov/content/advertising-and-marketing-law (dig the website for more info)

I would like to highlight this (the meaning of deceptive marketing, and not the meaning that you think that it is):

"What makes an advertisement deceptive?

According to the FTC's Deception Policy Statement, an ad is deceptive if it contains a statement - or omits information - that:

Is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances; and

Is "material" - that is, important to a consumer's decision to buy or use the product."

So, please understand that "deceptive" is not the same of a full fraud. Doing deceptive marketing, does not mean that you are not willing to deliver your product. But between the CIG promises for example, is not just the deliver of a product, promised, but a full experience of sharing of information and participation with feedback, that was strongly advertised, for example.

From KS page: "As an early backer, you’ll also be getting a lot more than just the finished game."

Just as an example (of many others that you can check in their advertising/marketing messages - which includes what they publish in their website / interviews / webcasts and so on). 

In their Kickstarter page they put this message:

"12 months in, we will allow the early backers to play the multiplayer space combat Alpha, and then 20-22 months in they will get to play the Star Citizen Beta, adventuring around the huge open galaxy, well before the general public."

The campaign ended on Nov 19, 2012. Now you just have to count the months to see that this promise was broken. Also notice that there is nothing clearly, in that page, stating that it is a "really bad" estimate. And let's just remember that CR himself have about 20 years or more of experience in the game industry, managing companies, so, it is pretty obvious that he knew that the estimates were seriously unrealistic, still, he used that to convince people to pledge earlier. 

And have you noticed that CIG only started to say "it's done when it's done" ONLY AFTER and NEVER BEFORE the original campaign ended, in other words, only after acquired dozen of millions? And that despite some things added to the game after the 6 million mark (most of them without ETA), they always were claimed by CR as not "feature creep". And that at the beginning, they explained all the SG's in the Kickstarter page this way:

"The purpose of the higher stretch goals is to ensure that the game-as-described is finished in the two year time period. "

Now... Remember that I said that these are just few examples, but there are many others, if you do some quick research (LTI case, someone? Alpha "FREE" Access, someone? "Exclusive access/Select Club with access to earlier gameplay and behind the scenes, someone? subscriber in-game earlier access, someone? and the list continues to raise each new week)

Obviously, by breaking many promises by their choice, and not really due "unforeseen events" (reasons that just means "more money better for the game" are hardly considered by law as an unforeseen event, but instead breaking promises because more money, are considered by law as bad faith), CIG also have the legal obligation to give refunds for anyone who ask that using as the reason, one of these many broken promises (something that I know that indeed they are doing, obviously trying to avoid that people see their systemic attitude of deceptive marketing and do not call authorities)

One last thing. CIG advertised their forums as their unique open communication channel for customers to give feedback (which by definition can be positive or negative and both unlimited). If his Community Manager was correct, when he says that these forums are a privilege, they should not use this in their advantage to sell copies of the game, as well as never restricting the customer feedback to this place. As they advertised that as one of the great advantages of pledge earlier, "have your voice heard, giving feedback through the forums", in the moment that they ban you because you gave a negative feedback or made your complaint, or because "you persisted to make complaints", they are breaking ONE MORE TIME the false ad/deceptive marketing.

I just like to remember you all of a recent news, when Steam removed a game called "Earth: Year 2066" (http://www.joystiq.com/2014/05/06/steam-removes-early-access-game-earth-year-2066-over-dishonest/)

of their "early-access" opportunity because they were performing exactly what CIG do in their forums. Disrespecting clients by banning them or deleting their complaints, just to appear that everyone was happy with their decisions and with their game. And if you pay attention, you can see that the CIG forums has been used just to keep this "false feeling" that everyone is happy with everything that they do, and to keep the fanboys "happy" and addicted enough so they throw more money in their faces in a seasonal way, as soon as their pockets are full again. In other words, just for marketing, instead the purposed announced at the beginning and advertised as a place to "have your voice heard". Even that "new rules" of the forums can be used against CIG. They are breaking the ad/marketing laws here too. Again, for this exact same reason, that game was removed from Steam and classified as doing false advertising.

And if they persist with their attitude, releasing unclear information, holding information and then delivering for others and not for the backers, breaking promises clearly to have more money opportunities instead to accomplish with that promise that was important to you and convinced you to pledge, feel free to open a complaint in the Federal Trade Comission (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1),

or contact authorities by other means. 

It is important not just to ask the refund (or even that you do not want to ask it) but to open the complaint so they have the authorities looking to them, so they do not repeat the same approach again and again, deceiving more clients and later just saying (oh! we cannot make everyone happy), which does not fit for situations when you promised something and did not accomplish that (not a client imagination).

If people want a revolution in the industry, do not need to make one that transform the concept of "customers" in "beggars".

Require your rights, because you have them!

 

  Roin

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/12/03
Posts: 2922

5/09/14 12:20:15 PM#2
Is it that time of the month again already? These post show up like clock work.

In War - Victory.
In Peace - Vigilance.
In Death - Sacrifice.

  Aeonblades

Novice Member

Joined: 10/12/12
Posts: 2125

5/09/14 12:22:19 PM#3
Hmm interesting. Looks like Star Citizen may end up going the Pantheon route at this rate.

Currently Playing: ESO and FFXIV
Have played: You name it
If you mention rose tinted glasses, you better be referring to Mitch Hedberg.

  Azoth

Elite Member

Joined: 7/08/04
Posts: 661

5/09/14 12:23:01 PM#4
When I gamble I accept the risks.
  nbtscan

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/06/06
Posts: 659

5/09/14 12:50:23 PM#5
Originally posted by Aeonblades
Hmm interesting. Looks like Star Citizen may end up going the Pantheon route at this rate.

With over 40 million dollars in comparison to a mere 187,000 though.

I don't really care about this game either way, but with this much money on the line I'm pretty sure they'll deliver.

  CrazKanuk

Elite Member

Joined: 10/06/09
Posts: 2043

5/09/14 12:57:28 PM#6
Originally posted by Aeonblades
Hmm interesting. Looks like Star Citizen may end up going the Pantheon route at this rate.

+1 Bah ha ha hahahahaha!!! 

 

It's probably 6 months behind IMO. Remember they just debuted the arena at Pax. Also, they originally quoted "Alpha" as being a dogfighter of some sort without any features but PvP. Arena seems to fit the bill. Just need to know when they're going to bundle it up and deliver it now :) 

 

 

 

 

Crazkanuk

----------------
Azarelos - 90 Hunter - Emerald
Durnzig - 90 Paladin - Emerald
Demonicron - 90 Death Knight - Emerald Dream - US
Tankinpain - 90 Monk - Azjol-Nerub - US
Brindell - 90 Warrior - Emerald Dream - US
----------------

  Vrika

Elite Member

Joined: 10/03/05
Posts: 2419

5/09/14 1:46:26 PM#7

Regarding your complains about forum moderation:

It's common practice that online forums have rules about how to behave. Because it's common practice, Star Citizen devs don't need to state it in their advertising. They are assumed to have the right to set and moderate rules on their forums unless they say otherwise, and they are assumed to have the right to ban people who don't follow those rules without giving refunds unless they say otherwise.

Trying to get a refund based on that would be legally bad argument unless you personally have faced an unjust ban on their forums.

Better to try to get refund based on the product being so late.

  dioniman

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/09/14
Posts: 2

 
OP  5/09/14 1:58:37 PM#8
Originally posted by Vrika

Regarding your complains about forum moderation:

It's common practice that online forums have rules about how to behave. Because it's common practice, Star Citizen devs don't need to state it in their advertising. They are assumed to have the right to set and moderate rules on their forums unless they say otherwise, and they are assumed to have the right to ban people who don't follow those rules without giving refunds unless they say otherwise.

Trying to get a refund based on that would be legally bad argument unless you personally have faced an unjust ban on their forums.

Better to try to get refund based on the product being so late.

I think that you did not understand. They advertised that one of the big advantages was partiicpate of the development with your feedback, having your voice heard. Feedback can be positive or negative. You do not have obligation to give only positive feedback and neither a "limited number of negative" feedback. Different from other kind of forums (of games already released), this participation, this idea of share your feedback, say what you want to say, was advertised by the company, that destroy the idea of "it is a privilege" that they have. If they wanted that as a privilege, they should not sell or advertise that as the ONLY way to give feedback, the ONLY open communication channel for that. They even asked for people, that won't hear feedback through support contacts, ONLY by their forums (it is in one of their comm-links). So, they never could ban people just because they only give negative feedback. It's feedback anyway. They offered this and they have to deal with this. Or, they should not have offered at all.

That, by itself, is an a deceptive marketing/false adverstising. As I said, Steam for example, remove companies from earlier access initiative, exactly due this reason, and it is considered false advertising (trying to let only "positive" things appear and derail/censure/delete negative threads).

But you are mistaken if you think that is the only and unique example of their practices. I tis just one. There are many. And tomorrow will be more. Companies that persist with this approach suffer penalties by US government entities.

But CIG don't really care. They are making tons of money from people that, if they were more honest in what they say, would not buy/pledge anyway. It's a system to make more money. Just that. They tell things, just to convince you to buy, and later, they "change their mind", and the reasons, are not "problems with development". No. I am not talking about things that are really clear that will change, due balance, like a ship spec.

Or, offering LTI again, when it was said "this is a last chance" in the past in their advertising, was a "problem with the development"? Or, a 20-year experienced developer does not know that the KS estimate (Actually is not even advertised as an estimate there and I challenge you to show me where, in that page, is anything saying that it is an estimate), or "subject to change". Why they did not add the disclaimer there? A 20-year business man, "just made a mistake"? And why they started to say "it's done when its done" only after fully funded? Only after they got all the money that they needed. Then, they started to say that.

Man. Sometimes, people are or just pretend to be naive.

LoL

  CrazKanuk

Elite Member

Joined: 10/06/09
Posts: 2043

5/09/14 2:42:03 PM#9
Originally posted by dioniman
Originally posted by Vrika

Regarding your complains about forum moderation:

It's common practice that online forums have rules about how to behave. Because it's common practice, Star Citizen devs don't need to state it in their advertising. They are assumed to have the right to set and moderate rules on their forums unless they say otherwise, and they are assumed to have the right to ban people who don't follow those rules without giving refunds unless they say otherwise.

Trying to get a refund based on that would be legally bad argument unless you personally have faced an unjust ban on their forums.

Better to try to get refund based on the product being so late.

I think that you did not understand. They advertised that one of the big advantages was partiicpate of the development with your feedback, having your voice heard. Feedback can be positive or negative. You do not have obligation to give only positive feedback and neither a "limited number of negative" feedback. Different from other kind of forums (of games already released), this participation, this idea of share your feedback, say what you want to say, was advertised by the company, that destroy the idea of "it is a privilege" that they have. If they wanted that as a privilege, they should not sell or advertise that as the ONLY way to give feedback, the ONLY open communication channel for that. They even asked for people, that won't hear feedback through support contacts, ONLY by their forums (it is in one of their comm-links). So, they never could ban people just because they only give negative feedback. It's feedback anyway. They offered this and they have to deal with this. Or, they should not have offered at all.

That, by itself, is an a deceptive marketing/false adverstising. As I said, Steam for example, remove companies from earlier access initiative, exactly due this reason, and it is considered false advertising (trying to let only "positive" things appear and derail/censure/delete negative threads).

But you are mistaken if you think that is the only and unique example of their practices. I tis just one. There are many. And tomorrow will be more. Companies that persist with this approach suffer penalties by US government entities.

But CIG don't really care. They are making tons of money from people that, if they were more honest in what they say, would not buy/pledge anyway. It's a system to make more money. Just that. They tell things, just to convince you to buy, and later, they "change their mind", and the reasons, are not "problems with development". No. I am not talking about things that are really clear that will change, due balance, like a ship spec.

Or, offering LTI again, when it was said "this is a last chance" in the past in their advertising, was a "problem with the development"? Or, a 20-year experienced developer does not know that the KS estimate (Actually is not even advertised as an estimate there and I challenge you to show me where, in that page, is anything saying that it is an estimate), or "subject to change". Why they did not add the disclaimer there? A 20-year business man, "just made a mistake"? And why they started to say "it's done when its done" only after fully funded? Only after they got all the money that they needed. Then, they started to say that.

Man. Sometimes, people are or just pretend to be naive.

LoL

 

First of all, if you think it's somehow impossible for a 20-year industry veteran to make a mistake, I think you may be a little naive yourself. 

 

Secondly, why would you think that Chris Roberts has 20 years of experience in managing a game company? In fact, Digital Anvil was the only other game company he founded and it wasn't around for longer than 5 years before it was sold and he left. In fact, he originally estimated that Freelancer would be a 2 year development cycle and it didn't get released for like 5 years, nevermind the time it was in development behind the scenes. So, it's not really naive at all. Maybe everyone who invested expected him to take 5 years. Based on his track record, he seems to throw out a 2-year development estimate for all games. That's just it, though, it's an estimate. 

 

Third, I really hope they don't care, honestly. I really hope that Chris makes the game that he envisions, not the one he thinks he can fit into a release schedule that he estimated. If that means waiting 5 years, I'll wait 5 years. I think that the majority of people are Wing Commander / Chris Roberts fans and they will wait. Crowdfunding is all about enabling people to create their vision, so if we start saying that "so and so was late on their kickstarter estimate" or holding people accountable to dates, you'll simply see developers adding 10 year dates, so why is that productive? 

 

Finally, as a project gets more funding I think that the expectation, for fans, is that the game will also expand. Based on their feedback to the community they've noted that they're adding new systems, planets, etc., etc. This is all work. This isn't something that magically materializes when you all of a sudden throw a million dollars at a project. No, more money means expanding the feature set, universe, etc., which translates to time. To pay for someone's time, they use money. See how this works? Or did you expect that as the scope of a project increased, it wouldn't change the timeline at all? That's naive.

Crazkanuk

----------------
Azarelos - 90 Hunter - Emerald
Durnzig - 90 Paladin - Emerald
Demonicron - 90 Death Knight - Emerald Dream - US
Tankinpain - 90 Monk - Azjol-Nerub - US
Brindell - 90 Warrior - Emerald Dream - US
----------------

  farfanugon

Novice Member

Joined: 10/19/08
Posts: 427

blaw blaw blaw

5/09/14 2:47:35 PM#10

Ive Got To Say It ...
.
Spacing In Type Dude
.
If Your Going To Write A Massive Wall Of Text
.
You Need Spacing .
.
Broken English And No Spacing , Its Just To Hard To Follow

  wucks

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/25/05
Posts: 117

SOE ate my hamster

5/09/14 6:43:08 PM#11

A massive project - which is now far larger in scale than originally envisioned - is going to be late. How can this possibly come as a surprise to anyone remotely interested in video gaming?


I really do have to wonder what could of happened to make you this bitter towards CIG/SC, making new accounts and spamming the same old inaccurate and down right wrong 'advice' every few weeks.

  LeGrosGamer

Novice Member

Joined: 7/06/13
Posts: 214

5/09/14 6:50:22 PM#12
My only problem with Star Citizen is that they keep releasing those "stretch goals" and by the time the game releases some players will have everything in game on day 1 and those that will start the game when it releases will take a long while to catch up.  Just release the bloody game already and enough with the stretch goals.  Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, Elite Dangerous will be the way better game, so SC can do what ever the hell it wants. 
  DocBrody

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/24/13
Posts: 1783

5/09/14 6:52:51 PM#13
SC is still more on schedule than Limit Theory or this Elite game, still scamming people out of 200 pounds for some incomplete alpha
  xxtriadxx

Novice Member

Joined: 7/04/10
Posts: 166

5/09/14 6:53:52 PM#14
Life is not fair and no amount of whining or waiting on a community organizer will change that.
  Kenrich

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/07/03
Posts: 106

5/09/14 6:54:31 PM#15
I Pledged for SC and I regret nothing !!