• Report: #753184

Complaint Review: Valve

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  • Submitted: Thu, July 14, 2011
  • Updated: Tue, August 14, 2012

  • Reported By: Shirlee — Mesa Arizona United States of America
Valve
Internet United States of America

Valve Steam Bad Customer Service, Rip Off Artists, Take your money and hide in a hole. Internet

*Consumer Comment: This is an issue of miscommunication

*Consumer Comment: Customers still have rights

*Consumer Comment: Slight typo to my previous reply

*Consumer Comment: Valve > Most large publishers

*Consumer Comment: Valve > Most large publishers

*Consumer Comment: Valve > Most large publishers

*Author of original report: Never Piss a mom off!!

*General Comment: Valve is a company of criminals

*Consumer Comment: RE:

*Author of original report: Rebuttal

*Consumer Suggestion: There were many ways to solve this problem

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I downloaded the computer game Blur for my son through Valve into his Steam account.  The game did not work.

I emailed Valve/Steam - their response (after a week) was they do not support 3rd party software. HUH??? They sold it to me but will not help me??  I emailed them again how to get help and never got a response.  I emailed about 4 more times and never got a response.

I then filed a claim with my bank as I had used my bank credit card for the purchase.  My bank refunded my money but Valve/Steam disabled my son's account along with access to the numerous other games and upgrades and weapons. 

I again have emailed them several times and have gotten no response from them.  I have tried to find a phone number to call them and can't find one.

We have tried to uninstall the games and re-install but get the error that the product key code has already been used.  I have purchased 6 plus games ranging from $40 - $60 each, not to mention other fees for upgrades/weapons.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/14/2011 09:16 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Valve/internet/Valve-Steam-Bad-Customer-Service-Rip-Off-Artists-Take-your-money-and-hide-in-a-hole-Int-753184. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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2Author 9Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

This is an issue of miscommunication

AUTHOR: Nielk1 - (United States of America)

Valve really needs a better way to deal with people that are generally computer illiterate, or at least new to the way that digital distribution services work.

You bought a game on the digital distribution software Steam or elsewhere that registered on Steam, this game was Blur and was published by Electronic Arts.  To receive assistance with this game, as it is a 3rd party game on Steam (not a game made by Valve, the makers of Steam) you must seek it from EA.  Steam support is limited to issues with the Steam account or Valve published games.  'Steam Account' issues include those with Steam purchases.

From my experience, Steam support is run though a web interface.  You receive email notifications of replies and updates to your support ticket, however, I do not beleive you can reply to these email messages.  They are notifications of correspondence, not correspondence themselves, and thus you should go to the actual support site where you asked for assistance and continue your discussion with support there.  That is probably why they never replied to your emails, they never saw them because their system was never designed to process email based replies.

Now, the reason the account was locked was because you canceled the charge.  Thus, to Valve, the game purchase was not authorized.  In order to protect you from further fraud, the system locked your son's account till the owner could contact them and resolve the issue.  The automated assumption is that someone other than the owner was accessing the account and using the stored credentials for purchase, or, that the card was stolen and used for illegal purchases.  This was a system put in place to protect the consumer, not attack them.

The key in use error in unusual.  Did you buy this game on Steam or from another source giving you a key that was to be registered on Steam?  Once a key is registered with Steam, it is there for good, that is its only use, but the game is forever listed in the library for that user.  If you buy the game on the Steam platform itself, in its store, the same general rules apply.  For Steam to give this error, you would have to have attempted to "Activate a product on Steam" that was already activated on the same or another account.

Now, if the game, Blur, was giving you this error and not Steam, then you need to contact EA.  The game may have Digital Rights Management software outside of what Steam offers, as Steam's DRM does not involve any limit other than the fact you can only be logged in at one place at a time.  If Blur gave you this error, perhaps you were attempting to link a different EA account with the game.  I have not yet played Blur myself, though if it is anything like most EA games, you link the game with an EA account, which has nothing to do with Steam or Valve.  If you attempt to link this with a new account, when you have already linked it elsewhere, then EA is the company giving you trouble, not Valve.

In either case, to resolve the key issue, more details are probably needed.  Was this a game purchases on a platform other than Steam that was redeemed as a key to be registered on Steam, or was this a purchase from the Steam Store?

The problem here is consumer ignorance.  Now, I am not trying to be rude, ignorance is not stupidity or anything of the sort, it is a lack of knowledge on a given subject.  Valve seriously needs to invest in better customer service.  While their service is excellent, though sometimes a bit slow, for those that understand how the system works, those who do not often become extremely upset, do rash acts such as fight credit card charges, as a result have accounts locked, and flip out and begin reporting Valve to sites such as this one.

Valve fails to properly communicate in nearly all instances where this occurs.  This is most likely related to their small size compared to any other company doing the same work, that being digital distribution.

What is important in any situation is to remain calm.  In many cases, consumer anger only makes situations worse, preventing them from seeing what is really going on.  You are libel to get replies from individuals that point out where you made errors, but do it in a terse or rude way, and from users that agree with you because of similar negative experiences that are mostly, again, the results of ignorance on the consumer part and failure on Valve's part to adapt.

Oh, and most importantly, before you give me an angry reply, I urge you to do the same thing with me as I am saying you should do with Valve.  If you do not understand, take a moment, look at the correspondence again.  If something I said was confusing please let me know.  If something I said seemed to be rude, please don't take it that way.  I am not trying to be rude, I am simply trying to assist in resolving this issue.  I only know about it because it was posted on the Steam forum.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Customers still have rights

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Joji:

I guess we'll have to disagree.  To clarify for you, if you go to EB Games or ToysRUs or anywhere else I'm aware of that sells games even Amazon.ca and I get the game and upon inspection of the Terms of Service or the Privacy Policy you decide that you do not agree to abide by that policy then they will give you a refund.  What's more, if I buy a game from any of them I don't have to agree to their updated store policy before I can play the game that I already owned.  I've been a small business owner for 5 years now and before that I spent 16 years in retail management.  The reason I mention this is I want to be clear, I have the background to be considered an expert in my field and in customer service, Valve treats it's customers very hostile.  We have no rights after we purchase the product.  We have no recourse if we don't agree with some 16 year old kid's decision on if we can or cant get a refund.  I'm not meaning to sound advisarial, but I just wanted to explain where I am coming from since from your comment I got that I wasn't being clear enough.
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#3 Consumer Comment

Slight typo to my previous reply

AUTHOR: Joji - (Canada)

I made a slight typo. Steam is a distributor, not a publisher. Sorry for the confusion.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Valve > Most large publishers

AUTHOR: Joji - (Canada)

@Charles
You're wrong. They're not an evil company like EA or Activision is. They're only a publisher. They only publish developers' games through their service. Please explain what you mean by "Valve sell software, then abandons it.  This is a practice that is illegal in retail stores but Valve manages to get away with it all the time.". If a game isn't working on certain systems, then it shouldn't be Valve's problem but rather the game itself. You know, contact the developers' website? For example, if ARMA 2 isn't working on your system, contact Bohemia Interactive that their game isn't working on Steam. Otherwise, you can also post your issue on the Steam forums or on the forums of the game's official website if they have one. It's really that simple.

The reason why Valve closed her son's account is because they thought she bought the game, and later claimed back the money that she payed. Even if she get's her money back, the installation files still exists on her son's PC, along with the product key that is used for playing online. It's like getting the game without paying. That's the only logical answer I can think of.

And Shirlee, it doesn't matter which website you buy your games off (i.e. Steam, Origin, GMG, etc), if it doesn't work, think of other ways to get your money back or find ways to solve the problem (it's probably outdated video card drivers or problems with your video card, your PC is too old, or the game itself just has issues). Don't ever call the bank to refund your money. That will never work.

If you compare Valve to the big publishers such as Activision or EA, Valve is better than the others. Activision milks your wallet through dirty ways, from overpriced crappy DLCs to poorly made video games that would be replaced after a year. EA on the other hand use similar tactics as well. As for Valve, that's a different story. We're talking about FREE DLCs and high quality games with a good amount of replay value. Don't forget that most, if not all the games that they made and published are moddable. That's why everyone loves Valve Corporations.

PS. Buy games off Steam during Summer or Winter sales. Most games are usually at 50-75% off during those times. It's not always a wise idea to buy them right after they're released. It'll make your life easier.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Valve > Most large publishers

AUTHOR: Joji - (Canada)

@Charles
You're wrong. They're not an evil company like EA or Activision is. They're only a publisher. They only publish developers' games through their service. Please explain what you mean by "Valve sell software, then abandons it.  This is a practice that is illegal in retail stores but Valve manages to get away with it all the time.". If a game isn't working on certain systems, then it shouldn't be Valve's problem but rather the game itself. You know, contact the developers' website? For example, if ARMA 2 isn't working on your system, contact Bohemia Interactive that their game isn't working on Steam. Otherwise, you can also post your issue on the Steam forums or on the forums of the game's official website if they have one. It's really that simple.

The reason why Valve closed her son's account is because they thought she bought the game, and later claimed back the money that she payed. Even if she get's her money back, the installation files still exists on her son's PC, along with the product key that is used for playing online. It's like getting the game without paying. That's the only logical answer I can think of.

And Shirlee, it doesn't matter which website you buy your games off (i.e. Steam, Origin, GMG, etc), if it doesn't work, think of other ways to get your money back or find ways to solve the problem (it's probably outdated video card drivers or problems with your video card, your PC is too old, or the game itself just has issues). Don't ever call the bank to refund your money. That will never work.

If you compare Valve to the big publishers such as Activision or EA, Valve is better than the others. Activision milks your wallet through dirty ways, from overpriced crappy DLCs to poorly made video games that would be replaced after a year. EA on the other hand use similar tactics as well. As for Valve, that's a different story. We're talking about FREE DLCs and high quality games with a good amount of replay value. Don't forget that most, if not all the games that they made and published are moddable. That's why everyone loves Valve Corporations.
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#6 Consumer Comment

Valve > Most large publishers

AUTHOR: Joji - (Canada)

@Charles
You're wrong. They're not an evil company like EA or Activision is. They're only a publisher. They only publish developers' games through their service. Please explain what you mean by "Valve sell software, then abandons it.  This is a practice that is illegal in retail stores but Valve manages to get away with it all the time.". If a game isn't working on certain systems, then it shouldn't be Valve's problem but rather the game itself. You know, contact the developers' website? For example, if ARMA 2 isn't working on your system, contact Bohemia Interactive that their game isn't working on Steam. Otherwise, you can also post your issue on the Steam forums or on the forums of the game's official website if they have one. It's really that simple.

The reason why Valve closed her son's account is because they thought she bought the game, and later claimed back the money that she payed. Even if she get's her money back, the installation files still exists on her son's PC, along with the product key that is used for playing online. It's like getting the game without paying. That's the only logical answer I can think of.

And Shirlee, it doesn't matter which website you buy your games off (i.e. Steam, Origin, GMG, etc), if it doesn't work, think of other ways to get your money back or find ways to solve the problem (it's probably outdated video card drivers or problems with your video card, your PC is too old, or the game itself just has issues). Don't ever call the bank to refund your money. That will never work.

If you compare Valve to the big publishers such as Activision or EA, Valve is better than the others. Activision milks your wallet through dirty ways, from overpriced crappy DLCs to poorly made video games that would be replaced after a year. EA on the other hand uses similar tactics as well. As for Valve, that's a different story. We're talking about FREE DLCs and high quality games with a good amount of replay value. Don't forget that most, if not all the games that they made and published are moddable. That's why everyone loves Valve Corporations.
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#7 Author of original report

Never Piss a mom off!!

AUTHOR: Shirlee - (United States of America)

I can say that the issue was resolved, but took much effort on my part.  Mainly my emailing, writing and faxing letters to any person (including the CEO) I could find contact info on. It took about two weeks.  They reinstated my son's account, did not require me to re-pay for the game and in fact gave my son credit's to buy about 3 additional games.  If you know you are right and a company is committing a wrong you need to keep pestering them.  If you don't then they will never correct their actions.  I still think they have horrible customer service, but my son LOVES the games or whatever he uses STEAM for.
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#8 General Comment

Valve is a company of criminals

AUTHOR: Charles - (Canada)

Valve is a company that walks a neat line between what is horrific customer service and what is criminally liable customer service.  You did nothing wrong by contesting the charge with your bank as Valve was in breach of contract however, that won't help you.  In the United States you have almost no consumer protection thanks to your elected officials.  I don't mean to be rude but that is where the difficulty lays and if America had better consumer protection laws it would benefit the entire world of people who do business with American Companies.  Valve sell software, then abandons it.  This is a practice that is illegal in retail stores but Valve manages to get away with it all the time.

The gaming community is mistakenly agressively protective of the Steam platform.  They do not see the threat to the entire gaming and retail industry that this kind of absuive customer service creates.  They just see a company with a cool service that just happens to have bad customer service but who needs customer service anywahy?  If you check out the Steam Forums you'll see these users jumping all over other users with valid complaints against Valve.

As far as your problem goes, there is no neat solution other than choking things up to a learning experience and writing your congressman.  I'm sorry I can't be more help but even their CEO ignores letters and their staff will never provide you with legally required contact information.  You will have to search the internet to find it.  I wish you luck and would love to know if anything ever came of this.
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#9 Consumer Comment

RE:

AUTHOR: Joji - (Canada)

I'm only a customer. And I have over 30+ games on my Steam account. All games work and some of them lag like crazy because I do not own a gaming PC. Like I said, their customer service sucks really badly. I see you have tried to gain help through the Steam forums. You should have bumped the thread your made and wait to see if you can get any help whatsoever. It's a time waster, but this is life.

Try to see if you can recover your son's account by emailing Steam once again  and see if there's any luck. You are over exaggerating about the "Valve is a company of theft and they are a rip-off". If they are that bad, why would there be over 3 million Steam users Almost all my PC gaming friends has at least an Xfire and a Steam account. Yes, their customer service is horrible, but otherwise Steam is a great platform to store all your games you bought through Steam.
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#10 Author of original report

Rebuttal

AUTHOR: Shirlee - (United States of America)

To the guy who said Valve/Steam locking out my son was my fault - you are wrong and must work for that horrible sham of a company!!!! They could have told me where I could go to get information that might have helped me, better yet, they could have responded with something more than we can't help.  What they did is pure and simple fraud and theft.  What happens with one game should not affect the game play of the other 10 or so games.  Not all people are super techno geeks that know all about these computer games.  And yes I went to the forums and was offered no help.

This company stinks, they are thieves and have horrible customer service!!!
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#11 Consumer Suggestion

There were many ways to solve this problem

AUTHOR: Joji - (Canada)

Steam support is horrible, but keep in mind that there are over 3 million players using Steam every single day, so the Support Team is always flooded with questions non-stop. You should have checked which publisher published the game, and contact them instead. In this case, Blur was published by EA. So you go on EA, make an account, go to their live chat support, and tell them your problem.

If you can, please also tell the problem you have with your game. Does your game meet the required minimum specs? Does it show up errors? Perhaps you were missing certain software. Also, why didn't use go on the Steam forums and ask the community on how to fix the issue or search for your problem?

Refunding your money is something that you should never do with Valve/Steam unless this happens: https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=9114-WGHM-0381

Refunding your money will basically lock your son's account, which already happened. Try to see if you can ask Steam to unlock your son's account and re-buy Blur to compensate? I really don't know if this method will work (about unlocking your son's account), because such matters never happened to me in the past.

In simple terms, you were mainly at fault for not looking for other ways to solve the problem.
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