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Lifetime Subscription Dispute Ends In Banned Account?

A Norwegian gamer never thought his refund request would end in a lifetime ban

By Silek Tue 12 Jan, 2021 3:13 PM - Last Updated: Tue 12 Jan, 2021 3:49 PM
If a House Divided is the theme, Norwegian Redditor MattPoly, a ten year veteran of Star Trek Online, has players choosing sides and picking camps after his account was banned over a dispute involving allegedly missing items from a Lifetime Subscription purchase.

There are no shortage of gamers with a 'bad beat' story, and few rise to the ranks of making the news, but yesterday broke with the story of MattPoly's extremely well documented case and players have been quick to take a side and give an opinion.

MattPoly's original original post on Reddit explained the situation as it started with a concern about a perk related to a Lifetime Subscription he had purchased. While Star Trek Online is a Free to Play game, a Lifetime Subscription offers certain perks, some perpetual, to players willing to pay a one time fee.

He went on to explain that he contacted Cryptic Support concerning additional 'Shared Bank Slots', a perk he contended he should have received, and did not. Support responded, informing him that he had received all benefits and perks he was entitled to. MatPoly explains that he responded with screenshots and 'indisputable proof' that he was in fact owed these perks, but was met with the same response from Cryptic. As his post continues, he responded by demanding they fix his issue, or offer a refund, insisting that he would contact his bank if necessary. In response to this, MattPoly claims that Cryptic informed him that “any attempts on my part to get my money back would have serious repercussion to my account.”

Facing that, MattPoly contacted a lawyer in the US looking for advice on how to proceed and in a seemingly appropriate way, he sent a complaint letter specifically stating what his complaint was, and how he felt it should be resolved.

Cryptic responded with this:


And that would seem to have been the end of MattPoly's story. It's resonance however, would be felt by many of his fellow gamers on both sides of the issue. While most stood up for him and decried the appalling treatment he'd been subjected to while applauding his determination, many others seemed to take issue with the fact that he might be trying to stack rewards or game the system, with some going far enough to compare the situation as an example of entitled gamers and the 'fanbase mob'.

With such an outcry of response MattPoly addressed those following the story on Reddit posting,

“I want to thank everyone for the overwhelming amount of support in such a short time. It's also very unanimous, which helps fuel my resolve.

I have reached out to the community ambassador Kael as many of you have suggested. I doubt there will be a response before Monday. Will be sure to keep you updated with the outcome.

In the meanwhile I will continue working within the consumer rights system to see what their responses are from a more legal standpoint. I have seen several similar cases overturned but the outcomes have usually been losses on both sides.
At this point my account matters less and less due to the thought of having such a bad and unpredictable support system in place. This would always be in the back of my mind. Even starting a brand new one free account could be (sic) preferable.Ironically enough (sic) i'm sure if I had bought lifetime for a new account, all the rewards would be there without issue.The other side of this is the love for Trek, regardless of developers, publishers etc. That stings.”

Update 1: Shortly after publishing, Three of Seven reported that Ambassador Kael did indeed help out in this matter, and posted a reddit thread, tagging in MattPoly to say that the account has now been unbanned.

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Did Cryptic reward bad behavior, or did they owe this to him from the beginning? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Tue 12 Jan, 2021 6:04 PM
Interesting story. I had seen the headlines hit various news outlets, but this is the first I saw anything about the resolution.

As fun as it can be to bash Cryptic, I can see both sides of the argument here. The LTS unlocks a laundry list of perks for players, including exclusive ships, player races, items, etc. That's a lot of different subsystems within the game to try to "undo", and it is unclear how many of those exclusives the player may have made use of. We've all seen how even the most simple of fix requests can take forever for the small dev team STO has available. Coupled with a hostile threat of international litigation, giving back the money would be the easiest course of action to avoid that litigation, and locking down the account makes sense if they are otherwise unable to roll back the LTS unlocks. Retaining a lawyer is far more expensive than the price tag of a single LTS after all. It also is one of the worst possible choices that could have been made from a Customer Service angle, and in this case this Reddit post went viral and blew up in Cryptic's face.

Kael stepping in to make amends is good, but obviously a lot of people are going to doubt Cryptic even more going forward. That said, we only know what the Reddit poster is telling us about this story, so there may be pieces of the story we aren't seeing here, such as possible warning of the ban prior to it happening. The LTS sale page explicitly states "Subscription fees are non-refundable. We make no explicit or implicit warranties on the service period of the game.", so the expectation of a refund is an extraordinary action, and threats of "laywering up" suggest some degree of belligerence. I think there were probably faults on both sides of this story.
Wed 13 Jan, 2021 2:52 AM
I think that there are arguments for both sides of the issue here. I think that mattpoly made too much of an issue about a few shared bank slots but i also think that Cryptic went to far to fast banning a ten year old, life time, account. Both sides might have been less rigid in their communication towards eachother. The outcome, in my opinion, is the best mattpoly could ask for at this point, and both sides would be wise to let the issue rest from here on out.