Some Gamers Are Really Pissed At EA For Screwing Up This Weekend

This weekend, Electronic Arts accidentally gave away thousands of free games thanks to a discount coupon, rewarded to anyone who filled out their marketing survey, that would take $US20 off any purchase of more than $US20. Some crafty gamers figured out that they could use the coupon more than once, and they walked away with a whole bunch of free EA-published games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age.

So on Sunday, EA stopped giving out codes. You could still fill out the survey, but you would no longer receive the coupon for $US20 off a game, as EA had promised.

An EA representative later said they'd be honouring all sales made over the weekend -- including the free games -- and people flipped out.

EA forum user Kutar:

You are punishing loyal customers meanwhile rewarding those who abused promo code to acquire multiple games.

That is not very nice. Grant us another survey along with coupon and promo code, or just one game price under 20 dollars.

We have the right to demand it.

Forum user Gorgon_Rider:

Are you kidding me? What about those of us that legitimately filled out your survey and haven't been able to use the code we were promised!?

So the guys that scammed the system (some of whom never even did the survey; they just got the code off the internet) get to keep their multiple free/discounted games and those of us that were honest and filled out your survey get squat? I really hope this isn't what you're saying. I really do.

Any response to this?

EA forum user boltfox20 sums up peoples' gripes:

Allow me to put this into perspective for those who don't seem to get it.

A service was rendered, here. The agreement was that we take a survey and the payment would be $US20 off of one game purchase of $US19.99 or more, with some restrictions. That was a fair deal, as many people agree.

The code offered was a universal code, one that could be obtained without completing the survey, and used multiple times. This is the fault of EA who obviously does not understand the internet at all.

Upon realising their mistake, EA immediately broke the code so no one else could abuse it, but they left the survey up. While the survey was still offering the $US20 coupon as payment, EA was not. As such, they are now getting free information by offering a bogus payment. This is known as scamming people.

When confronted on this issue, EA has chosen to respond by honouring the purchases of those who abused the system and not the coupons obtained by those wanting to use it properly after the fact. They have rewarded the abusers and punished their customers.

Believe me, for some of these people, it is no idle threat to take this to court. The e-mail clearly states that there is a payment offered for completing the survey, a payment that has yet to be given to those of us completing it on the second day and after. $US20 is not the only thing at stake here. That is merely payment for services rendered. There is also the ability to have them pay the court costs and to force them to offer compensation to those who did work for them and have yet to receive their payment.

If a payment is not given in some fashion to the amount of $US20 to spend on an item of our choice, then this survey is a scam, something not tolerated by the BBB or the internet at large. EA is in for a world of hurt if it doesn't get its act together. While I, personally, will not be doing anything, I know how the internet works.

EA will feel the burn on this one.

Forum user Ratboy422:

In the same boat. If EA does not fix this for the people that wanted to use the coupon to buy a game, before oct 21st as posted, Im going to Best Buy and cancelling my pre-order of both NFS and MoH. Might as well just steal them because it sure looks like that what they support. Not paying customers.

That's just a sampling of some of the complaints hitting EA's forums, Reddit, and other gaming message boards across the web.

I've reached out to EA for comment and will update should they respond.


Comments

    It is baffling that they'd honor those initial purchases! Surely they have the ability to weed out any games purchased with that coupon and block them from use. Instead they punish people trying to do the right thing

      Absolutely! It's ridiculous.

      Cancel all items purchased using that code, reissue secure codes to people who legitimately did the survey. Simple as that.

    Really they should provide what the survey promised.

    But going to court? Steal their games in retaliation? Grow up, dudes.

      I've been studying law for a short time now, and I've discovered that America doesn't have more laws, or much stricter laws generally. It's just that people over there aren't at all afraid to seek enforcement of laws. This is clearly a violation of a contract, and they'd probably win enforcement of the contract if it was taken to court.

        I'd say that Americans are more litigious in general, a byproduct of the huge lawsuits in the 80s and 90s that helped set the more rational precedents we rely on today. While many of the old loopholes no longer exist, people are still spurred on by success stories and genuinely believe that they can get $10 million dollars for spilling coffee on themselves.

        So it's not surprising that they will threaten legal action when confronted with something as trivial as not getting $20 off a game, or an unsatisfactory ending to a game (such as the complaints filed after Mass Effect 3).

        Maybe in a handful of cases they're actually justified and entitled to some form of compensation, but they're not pursuing those cases because they know what their entitlements are, they're pursuing them because they have a sense of entitlement regardless.

        Last edited 16/10/12 12:22 pm

      I agree it would never go to court but in what way is pirating a game of value to the 20 dollars promised in retaliation childish if anything it's justice? As stated they had their time stolen if they didn't recieve the promised game discount for the survey. I don't care so much if EA allows the games to remain but the people who didn't abuse the system shouldn't be punished and wronged.

      You don't read tech news much do you? There are usually quite a lot of cases like this in the courts at any one time, and the general outcome is that the consumer is favoured. I'd say that a class action lawsuit is in the works, although I seem to recall EA doing one of those bogus "You must agree to litigate individually in order to use this service" EULAs.

      Stealing their games? Stupid. Going to court? Probably worthwhile.

    Lol, gamers angry at EA?

      What's new?

    If you went to a shop and they had products with $0 on the price tag, you damn well can get them for $0. The only people that are mad, are the ones that missed out and jealous that people got so many free games that they paid for originally.

      THIS!

        No you can't. Most stores will honor prices that they have put up incorrectly to keep customers happy, but they don't legally have to. If it's priced incorrectly the store has the right to refuse to sell it to you, or to inform you of the correct price and give you the option to purchase or not. I used to work as a manager in retail for quite a while so I know this to be the case in Aust at least.

      While I’m not a fan of EA at all, your analogy is inaccurate.

      EA never put a $0 price tag on their games, and it was clearly NOT their intention to give away access to all their games for free.
      While it would be a massive pain in the ass for EA to chase them, anybody who could be proven to have known about the EA system error and who took the games anyway could be charged with theft.

      A more accurate analogy would be walking into a store while the only clerk was in the shitter and taking whatever you wanted because no one was there to tell you not too.

      If you want an example of how this works in the real world, here’s a story about individuals being charged for knowingly taking money from a malfunctioning ATM.
      http://www.smh.com.au/business/bank-free-money-glitch-amount-remains-a-mystery-20110302-1bdhn.html

        This is probably more like a mistake where a coupon didn't have the T's & C's printed on it, so they can't enforce the conditions they forgot to tell everyone about. That said, EA would have had no issue, legally, with revoking the games purchased/accessed with the coupon under their EULA for Origin. Valve have the same powers under Steam's user agreement. It would just be an insane PR nightmare.

    What a bunch of spoiled & ungrateful children.

      Really? So if someone ran a booth at a games expo and promised a $20 voucher for filling in a survey and then didn't honour it, you'd be like "that's ok, I'm not spoiled, so I won't complain"

        Its ONLY 20 bucks. If your going to go to court over such a small amount of money, you are, as Jesse said, spoiled & ungrateful.

        On the other hand, EA would not want to be in court as it would be bad for there rep, speitlay on charges of scamming, so if it did happen, then there fucked.

        Grow up dude; its just a survey. Its not like you're handing over your kidneys.

    I feel sorry for EA. they made a mistake, and now everyone is cyber bullying them.

    Legally EA should honor the $20 voucher - I can see why they took it down though. It's all about damage control.

    Not sure about the justification to steal their games - pretty sure that's not what they were aluding to at all.

    I don't know. I'm proud to call myself a gamer and I see it as something that defines me - but these views are frankly embarrassing and do nothing to strengthen the culture in the public eye. For shame.

      You're a fool if you think a corporation like EA would be affected by something as petty as cyber bullying.

        Justo11's opening declaration was most likely a joke, as the phrase 'cyber bullying' has been recently used by a number of goliaths upset when david fought back, most prominently Alan Jones.

        To be clear, though, noone has 'stolen' anything. They may have acquired a discount which was not intended by the vendor, but it was nonetheless provided with the vendor's consent, because the vendor wrote the system by which the voucher works. This is more like a shop failing to display T's & C's on a ticket which says "one per person; one use only".

    Tell me again how EA can provide a simple, effective, alternative purchasing system that can be a real alternative to Steam?

    People use origin? What EA is worth playing nowadays.

      Battlefield 3. arguably the best FPS bar none

        I guess you've never played Team Fortress 2 or anything similar made by Valve?

        And Sim City is not too far away :D

      MASS EFFECT 3.

    What ever they do they will get crap for it. If they disabled the free/discount games people would cry foul over them not honouring the codes, even if they were abused. Now we see that they are honouring the code they get crap from people who bought the games. I am sad because I missed out.

    "We have the right to demand it." Ah, no actually you don't.

    "So the guys that scammed the system...get to keep their multiple free/discounted games and those of us that were honest and filled out your survey get squat?" Yeah this is generally what happens when people are dishonest; they get something for nothing at someone else's expense and the honest people, by definition, do not. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

    "While I, personally, will not be doing anything, I know how the internet works." Do you now? Well all the best with your keyboard warrior attitude there friend, may it serve you well.

    How old are these people? I mean really this is not the first time in the history of retail (be it online or IRL) where a promotion had to be cancelled abruptly to stop people abusing it because someone screwed up royal. If you chose to do the survey (no one was forcing you to do it) you really don't have an excuse to throw a tantrum when nothing was taken from you except maybe 5 minutes of your time (which you volunteered anyway). Granted, EA probably should have taken down the survey when they nullified the coupon but the fact is the didn't, so show a little maturity and move on.

      *they didn't

      If you enter into a contract, over the internet or otherwise, you will be entitled to seek enforcement of that contract if you have provided consideration (ie: upheld your part of the bargain). It's hard to see it being a worthwhile investment of your time and money to seek enforcement of a $20 discount, but whether in Australia or America, you have a right to try.

    @Z

    This would be the same Steam that 2 days ago prevented me from installing a game... despite having the physical discs, having been legitimately bought in a retail store?

    This would be the same Steam whose help section consists of a forum, where the answers to help requests consist of a group of evangelists who, rather than offer assistance, tell people asking for help that problems like this are part of an online architecture and they should just get over it?

    At least EA will answer a damn email, and has tech support worth talking about.

    Last edited 16/10/12 9:32 am

      EA's customer is surprisingly good online.

        I agree, their customer service is very good. Origin itself is still pointless and terrible though :p

    deleted

    Last edited 19/06/15 9:33 am

      "you just missed out on getting for free?"
      actually the $20 was payment for filling out a survey

    How long does it take to do the survey, out of interest? If it's a five or ten minute job for a $20 reward, it's past time to move on, seriously. If time is money, you've already spent more than your lost $20 bitching about it.

    Heads up for all you silly people.

    Origin and STEAM are the same thing.
    They are BOTH DRM.
    They are BOTH online shops.
    They are BOTH shit.
    But you know what, I use both. Why? Well, in this day and age, how else am I suppost to get my games if I live in cotory and all we have is a fucking overpriced EB Games?

    I will say this tho. Origin is a better program than Steam on the bases that it downloads at a MUCH FASTER rate... that may or may not have something to do with STEAM being the hipster nerd lover, so every one uses it.

    Lest we forget that Steam got shit when it was first out. Orgin is not a bad program. People just don't like differnt things. Sucks to be those people tho... you miss out on a lot of cool stuff if you don't like differnt things.

    Also, ME3s ending was not bad. You lot just have small minds and could not understand that the repers would have had to be made at some point. lol

      Have to agree with you on download speeds - Origin goes as fast as my connection can handle, while Steam quite often chugs away at 200k/s. Not cool. And if it's not smart enough to find a fast server, then it should be.

        FWIW I tend to get about 600-800k/s over Steam.

      Magical starchild pops in at the last minute to railroad you, with the brilliant logic of "our killer robots will save the universe from killer robots". Oh yeah, it was brilliant.

      The problem's on your end if your speed sucks. So long as it's not during peak time like a Summer Sale, I max out at 2M/s every time. Steam sorely needs a built in download manager with speed limiters, scheduled times etc. But hey, you obviously have a beef with Steam and the like but can't be arsed to source your non-Steamworks games from anywhere else, so enjoy that butthurt.

    I didn't even get the email :( US only?

    I would assume that in order for EA to cancel all those sales, it would take some kind of investment. They would need to run it as a project, with associated overhead, quality assurance and so on. It may cost them more to act than any estimated lost sales from the weekend. The "stolen" sales do not equate to actual sales lost. It would probably be generous to say 5%. EA is a public company, right? So they are beholden to shareholders and this is obviously something that is getting some attention. So they may well be making the best decision at this point as far as the bottom line and trying to mitigate damage. Public errors often draw shareholder ire at management.

    It's not the $20 that matters; it's the fact that fraud is illegal.

      How exactly is this fraud? No one lost anything and EA didn't profit from anyone.

      This is more likely to be resolved under the law relating to breach of contract than criminal law's fraud or tort law's deceit, though I suppose the latter two are both valid options.

    i think jason needs to get his facts right

    real gamers dont use origin.

    I remember when EA said they wouldn't have sales on origin because it would reduce the value of the IP... and yet here we are

    Whatever happened too, 'Bank error in your Favour?'

    HANG ON. hangonhangonhangonhangonhangon...

    Are EA not sending new codes for people who had PREVIOUSLY complete the survey? Or are they saying "you can still do the survey, but we won't give you a code?"

    Because if people are doing the survey AFTER EA announced the latter, and people are now like "WTF GIMME CODE YOU SED I GET CODE I DID SURVEY I WANT CODE OR BLOOD"...

    Then they're all a bunch of clown-dick fuck-wits.

    The only issue I see here is EA not taking down the survey to alter the code mechanism when they stopped accepting it on Origin. By not removing the survey, they are intentionally breaching an agreement between themselves and anyone that completes the survey, which is grounds for litigation. But no-one in their right mind is going to go to court over a $20 coupon and a 5 minute survey.

    As for EA's blunder resulting in free games? As hyperthx said: "Bank error in your favour". Nothing they can really do about it, except fire the idiot that implemented the mechanism.

    I was ready to take this article seriously and rage right until I saw this at the very end

    "I’ve reached out to EA for comment..."

    With your hand? With something in your hand? With your mind powers that can form the shape of a disembodied hand like Bigby's Reaching Hand (what level do you need to be to cast that?) or some other magical item that you "reach" to a company with?

      There's a light, where the darkness ends. Touch me now, let me see again.

      not sure if serious....

        In my disdain for the use of "reached" when referring to emailing/talking to a company. Yes that is serious.

        Bigby's Reaching Hand however is not a real spell. Unfortunately.

          it's a common term, literally it doesn't makes sense, but i understand it...

          and now i'm dissapointed, i really wanted to cast bigby's reaching hand....

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