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Author Topic: STEAM stole my money!! >:(  (Read 8933 times)
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Alice
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« on: November 19, 2004, 04:17:35 AM »

Well, I decided to take the plunge and buy Half Life 2.  I must have been paying to much attention to the console scene recently, because I have not even heard of "Steam" before.  Oh well, no big deal right?

I installed the game and CC source from 5 CDs and was ready to roll.  I was ready to rock.  I was... brought to a "Steam" account creation screen where it told me I had to verify my CD-key.  Well, of all the obnoxious things, I thought... but what choice do I have?  I dropped $60 already so I create the Steam account and then went to verify my "cd-key".  I typed in the key and then was shown a progress bar while it "verified" the key.

"I'm sorry, but this cd-key has already been registered to another Steam account."

WTF?  I checked my email and saw this:

Quote
Dear Steam user,

This is an automated message generated by Steam account administration.

Steam has detected that your copy of Half Life 2 has already been registered to another Steam user. Your product's CD-Key (the number printed on the CD case which you were asked to type in after installing the game) matches one already in our database.

You will not be able to play Half Life 2 unless you provide an unclaimed CD-Key. To provide an unclaimed CD-Key, you will need a copy of Half Life 2 which has not already been registered on Steam. Double-click on the name of the game in Steam's "Games" window and then follow the given instructions.


I guess the "instructions" they are referring to are the instructions to pay another $49 for a new key.  Yeah, right.

I tried to take the game back but I was told that since this is a "Steam" game, they cannot accept returns because the key had been exposed.

So I contact Valve and they told me that since I bought the game retail, I needed to contact the publisher.

I contact the publisher and I am told that I need to mail in the UPC code cut from the box, take a "picture" of the game CD, and mail in the original sales receipt.  After they complete their "investigation", they will either inform me of the results.  WTF?  What possible "result" could there be?

I am not even going to start jumping through those hoops.  I guess I just got screwed out of $60.  What can I do?  Contact the better business bureau?  The box and manual are rather worthless, so I can't really sell it.  I guess I will just throw it in the garbage and chalk this one up to a hard lesson learned.

I suppose there is a key generator out there somewhere that pirates are using to register Steam accounts to download the game and play at my expense.  I hope they enjoy it, because $60 was my 2 month gaming budget.  I really wanted to play this game too.
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ChrisGwinn
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2004, 04:23:09 AM »

Where did you buy it from?  I wonder if someone from the store had installed it before they sold it.
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JuniorDan
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2004, 04:34:00 AM »

As a senior store manager I know how important it is to make the customer happy. If I was you I would take the game along with the the proof of purchase and raise hell in the store demanding your money back or a new game.
Ask for the DM # along with the corprate number.
most managers know when it goes that far the customer will come out on top and they the manager will be looked down upon.
you may receive up $25 in gift card or the above a new copy of the game and a free strat guide.
Dont take this sitting down.
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Alice
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2004, 04:38:19 AM »

I am contacting Citibank and disputing the charges.  I bought this at ebgames.  I am not sure what the end result will be, but this is the only thing I have left to do.  I am going to have to box up this game and ship it signature required back to ebgames, which is again going to cost me money, but hell...

Screw this game.  I have such a bitter angry taste in my mouth right now over this whole thing, I don't even want to ever play this game.  I am sure it is really really cool, but there are several others out there that are equally as good, I'm sure.  I am not going to have any money to spend on games until January now anyway.

The thing that pisses me off the most about this is that I really thought the game was in the box when at was at the store.  I picked it up, looked at the cool lady on the box cover, read the back, decided to purchase.  And the damn game wasn't even in the box it turns out.  What a fraudulent evil way to do business.  Screw Valve.  I'll never touch their junk again, even if they decide to release an "offline" version.
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th'FOOL
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2004, 04:39:51 AM »

Quote from: "Alice"
The box and manual are rather worthless, so I can't really sell it.  I guess I will just throw it in the garbage and chalk this one up to a hard lesson learned.


Ummm, now I bought it through steam so i don't know this firsthand, but I read somewhere that the retail version of the game didn't actually come with a manual....

 :question:
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2004, 04:43:46 AM »

Mine didn't come with a manual
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dangerballs
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2004, 04:44:18 AM »

Quote from: "th'FOOL"
Quote from: "Alice"
The box and manual are rather worthless, so I can't really sell it.  I guess I will just throw it in the garbage and chalk this one up to a hard lesson learned.


Ummm, now I bought it through steam so i don't know this firsthand, but I read somewhere that the retail version of the game didn't actually come with a manual....

 :question:


It comes with a quickstart card.  Steam users can access it by right-clicking on Half-life 2 and selecting Manual.
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Alice
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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2004, 04:48:26 AM »

Quote from: "th'FOOL"
Quote from: "Alice"
The box and manual are rather worthless, so I can't really sell it.  I guess I will just throw it in the garbage and chalk this one up to a hard lesson learned.


Ummm, now I bought it through steam so i don't know this firsthand, but I read somewhere that the retail version of the game didn't actually come with a manual....

 :question:


Yeah, you caught me.  I am the evil imaginary anti-Steam fairy that is just trying to piss on Steam's boots.

Reference card, paper sleeves, ATI advertisement. orange Cds.  wtf.
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Jeff
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2004, 04:49:48 AM »

Alice, after reading your last post (er, now 2 posts up), I guess you can just discard my PM slywink

Sorry this happened to you. I think it's shitty, but typical, the way they all deny responsibility.

What did you mean "the game wasn't in the box" -- you got it at EB, and they took the cd's and stuff from behind the counter, and then put it in? They do that for "security" reasons, but yeah, it sucks.  

I'd bet money one of the employees stole your code. In my view, this is an EB fault, and I wouldn't be so quick to blame Valve. In a way, Valve is right, you bought VU's distribution through EB, and VU owns that game. Them and EB are responsible for what happened, IMO.

juniordan nailed it, you could probably get satisfaction by contacting the EB DM and calmly explaining what's going on.
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Rob_Merritt
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2004, 04:52:39 AM »

Quote from: "dangerballs"
It comes with a quickstart card.  Steam users can access it by right-clicking on Half-life 2 and selecting Manual.


Mine came with just 5 cds. Thats it. Nothing else in the box
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Alice
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2004, 04:54:04 AM »

I should note that I tried to log into Steam and select the "forgot my password" option.  Then one of the options is to "enter cd-key" to get your username and password.  So I entered my cd-key and it told me that an email had been sent to the steam account that registered this key.  I guess its no surprise that nothing appeared in my inbox.
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Rob_Merritt
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2004, 05:15:12 AM »

Alice, don't give up yet. Some people have claimed to have gotten "forgotten password" emails a week after they request them from stwam. So it might just be chewing through the system somewhere.
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Daehawk
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2004, 05:21:27 AM »

That opened box shit is just 1 reason not to buy new games from EB
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2004, 05:26:24 AM »

Quote from: "Daehawk"
That opened box shit is just 1 reason not to buy new games from EB


Exactly. When the seal got broken, the cd-key was put at risk. I really think EB is to blame here. Talk to the DM, tell him you got an opened box and you were told by Steam that the cd-key you just paid $60 for was reported as in use. Games dependent on a cd-key should only have the seal broken by the buyer.
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Rob_Merritt
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2004, 05:29:47 AM »

If you buy from EB or gamestop online they aren't broken.
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Tim Maynard
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2004, 05:50:05 AM »

Sorry that happened to you Alice. The whole Steam verification to get the game to work has scared me away from buying HL2. When I bought a video card in January it came with a free steam download of HL2 when it became available. The offer also included the original HL and the expansion packs. I already had a copy of HL but I decided to download the freebie from steam. I setup my account and entered my code only to get an invalid code message. I tried a few more times and got the same message. I've sent a few e-mails about my problem and I haven't received a response. I know that companies have to take measures to deter piracy but they are going to chase away some honest customers in the process.
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Jumangi
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« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2004, 06:44:49 AM »

Well your doing what you have to do. Dispute the charges. You should also go back to the store and let them know that when they refuse to do a exchange. The few times I have been given the run-around when this stuff has happed I've simply said "Either give me a refund/exchange or I'm calling the bank and disputing the charges". Everytime they have gotten cooperative.
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dangerballs
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« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2004, 06:47:59 AM »

Vivendi/Sierra had this exact problem with their cd verison of Half-life before.  They printed a entire batch of duplicate keys, so there were tons of people who got the same key as someone else.  I wonder if that is what happened again.
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Dafones
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« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2004, 08:57:32 AM »

I'm going to offer the moron/jerk suggestion: did you uninstall Steam and HL2 and then try the CD key again? I only wonder if you originally mistyped the key by accident, or if you're seeing a 1 (one) and mistaking it for an l (el) or something, or a 0 (zero) for an O (oh). Something stupid like that.

If you're absolutely certain that you typed the key in right, then go back to EB and give them hell. Ask for everyone's name that you talk to, first name and last. Then get manager's names and numbers and state that you're going to mention them specifically when you have to talk to people higher up. Make them sweat if they're not being reasonably helpful. Don't be nasty though, because an intelligent, level headed, and persistent customer will get what they want more than someone who shouts and swears at them - most of the time. Just don't stop until you get what you want.
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FlyingElvis
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« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2004, 11:33:26 AM »

You got good advise several posts back. Return it to EB and raise hell with them. Talk to the manager if you get nowhere.

Raising hell here might make you feel better, but it won't get you up and running, assuming you still want to play the game.
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« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2004, 11:45:13 AM »

Quote from: "Tim Maynard"
I setup my account and entered my code only to get an invalid code message. I tried a few more times and got the same message. I've sent a few e-mails about my problem and I haven't received a response. I know that companies have to take measures to deter piracy but they are going to chase away some honest customers in the process.
I remember reading in steampowered forum that you can mail the coupon to Valve to proof that you owned the cdkey and they will be able to deactivate the fraud account and give you the game. Good luck.
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jztemple
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« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2004, 01:15:39 PM »

Quote from: "Daehawk"
That opened box shit is just 1 reason not to buy new games from EB


I haven't had that problem with games I pre-order, they are using just getting them out of the cardboard shipping container when I show up  :wink:

I completely sympathize with Alice's problem and all I can offer is echo what others have suggested and talk to the DM and try the "lost password" email route. And contacting your credit card company is always a good idea. Be prepared to write them a letter with all the details if you don't get satifaction from EB so you can have the charges removed from your credit card. My experience with the credit card companies is that they are pretty reasonable about these situations if you are willing to take the time to explain it to them. It's in their best interest to keep you willing to order things using a card rather than not doing so, and $60 is pretty much a drop in the bucket to them.

One final thought... I hope all those people (like those at Penny Arcade) who are promoting systems like Steam as the wave of the future and think that getting games in boxes from a brick and mortar store is archaic have something like this happen to them. I bought my copy in a store where they know me, and if my copy didn't work I know they would exchange it for me, since I'm a good customer and have a rapport with the sales staff. No way that's going to happen when your dealings are with an automated sales computer, or with some troubleshooter in India to whom your phonecall is just the umpteenth complaint of the day.
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farley2k
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« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2004, 01:41:27 PM »

[sarcasm on]

As with many anti-piracy methods this is a great opprotunity for you to learn more about how to steal games.  Take this time to visit the seedy underside of the Internet.  I am sure there is a way to play HL2 single player without connecting to Steam

[/sarcasm off]


Unfortunatly this is the kind of thing that pushes ligit customers to piracy.  Why risk a purchase when if your pirated copy doesn't work you are out nothing but time?
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« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2004, 02:15:29 PM »

Quote from: "Rob_Merritt"
Quote from: "dangerballs"
It comes with a quickstart card.  Steam users can access it by right-clicking on Half-life 2 and selecting Manual.


Mine came with just 5 cds. Thats it. Nothing else in the box


Where did you get it from? Mine came with the CD's, a reference card, and a $20 mail-in rebate for the new ATI videocard.
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angrycoder
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« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2004, 03:20:27 PM »

Its been said several times in the post, but you need to take this up with EB. A consumer who doesn't know how to stand up for his rights as a consumer will get screwed over every time.
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Knightshade Dragon
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« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2004, 03:22:47 PM »

Quote
As a senior store manager I know how important it is to make the customer happy. If I was you I would take the game along with the the proof of purchase and raise hell in the store demanding your money back or a new game.
Ask for the DM # along with the corprate number.
most managers know when it goes that far the customer will come out on top and they the manager will be looked down upon.
you may receive up $25 in gift card or the above a new copy of the game and a free strat guide.
Dont take this sitting down.


And there is the best advice.  Take it to the DM, just know that you'll be dealing with some corporate shill who hasn't a damned clue about your outrage and will use EB's corporate RMS training to try to calm you down.  Be clear with what you want up front and don't take no for an answer.
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Rob_Merritt
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« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2004, 03:47:52 PM »

Quote from: "Ralph-Wiggum"
Quote from: "Rob_Merritt"
Quote from: "dangerballs"
It comes with a quickstart card.  Steam users can access it by right-clicking on Half-life 2 and selecting Manual.


Mine came with just 5 cds. Thats it. Nothing else in the box


Where did you get it from? Mine came with the CD's, a reference card, and a $20 mail-in rebate for the new ATI videocard.


gamestop.com
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Fuzzballx
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« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2004, 07:27:00 PM »

Quote from: "Daehawk"
That opened box shit is just 1 reason not to buy new games from EB


My EB doesn't break the boxes on preorders or new AAA titles for about a week.  They keep em behind the counter on small shelves and hand them out when requested in a new factory sealed box.  They only break the boxes once they've been out a week or two and then put the boxes on the back shelves where the PC games are then safely hidden out of sight to the console customers.  I only buy games from EB on the day of or day after release since this new break box policy started, though.

However, I have seen numerous used copies of StarWars Galaxies and Dark Age of Camelot for sale on the used pc game shelf....thats fucked up.
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« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2004, 07:46:46 PM »

Quote from: "Fuzzballx"

However, I have seen numerous used copies of StarWars Galaxies and Dark Age of Camelot for sale on the used pc game shelf....thats fucked up.


really?  i've got both of those games.  i guess i should see about selling them to eb then.  

/sarcasm

that is messed up though.  imagine someone just getting into online games and not knowing that online games work the way they do.  i wonder what eb would say when someone comes back with a used copy they bought which is still being used by the first buyer.  'sorry, we can't take returns on opened and online software' ?  what a bunch of bull.  probably some stupid clerk who took them in as credit rather than follow the rules.
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jonsauce
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« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2004, 08:01:41 PM »

I saw the SWG and DAoC boxes for sale in my EB too.  I couldn't believe it.
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« Reply #30 on: November 19, 2004, 08:12:13 PM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
Quote
As a senior store manager I know how important it is to make the customer happy. If I was you I would take the game along with the the proof of purchase and raise hell in the store demanding your money back or a new game.
Ask for the DM # along with the corprate number.
most managers know when it goes that far the customer will come out on top and they the manager will be looked down upon.
you may receive up $25 in gift card or the above a new copy of the game and a free strat guide.
Dont take this sitting down.


And there is the best advice.  Take it to the DM, just know that you'll be dealing with some corporate shill who hasn't a damned clue about your outrage and will use EB's corporate RMS training to try to calm you down.  Be clear with what you want up front and don't take no for an answer.


Yeah that is the best plan.  


Good luck.
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AttAdude
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« Reply #31 on: November 19, 2004, 08:31:47 PM »

i still cant figure out why this guy is so lasai faire about the whole thing.  Id be up in fucking arms over this crap.  you can bet id get my money back, or get a new game.
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Alice
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« Reply #32 on: November 19, 2004, 10:23:50 PM »

For one thing, I work all day long.  After taking on all the responsibilities of family and home, I usually only have a few minutes to myself to actually play games on the console or PC.

I went to the store once and ask for a refund and was told no.  I have not ask to speak with the DM, however.  Maybe I should do that.  But honestly, after I work all day, the last thing I want to do is go to the mall to start fighting over this thing again.  It was stressful enough just going in there to buy it in the first place.

Valve does have a policy where they will "deactivate" the cd-key from the person that is pirating it.  They ask me to mail in a $10 "reset" fee.  Screw them.

I've contacted my credit card company and opened a dispute charge over this.  I've already received a provisional credit back to my account while they take 90 days to investigate.  I did have to go to Office Depot and mail this thing back sig requested, however; which costs me another $10.

I just wanted to play the damn flippin game!  If I had any idea that the game on the CD was encrypted, I would not have purchased this title.  Even if an EB employee stole this key, I still feel it is Steam's fault that this doesn't work.  

I've read that its standard practice for eb employees to open products and play the CDs a few days before selling the items as new.  That might very well be what happened.  Who the hell knows.  Duplicate CD keys... stolen keys... encrypted CDs... f*ck it.  I'm done with this game.  I was conned out $60 one way or another.

And the way I see it, is that Valve got their damn money, so what do they care.  In that regard their Steam technologies works.  Money went out of my bank account and into theirs.  Even if I get the charges reversed, they money stays in their account.  Screw them.

[/code]
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AttAdude
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« Reply #33 on: November 19, 2004, 10:32:07 PM »

U know man i feel totaly sorry for you.  if you where in my area id take your box and get that refund for ya my self.  All it would take is 10 mins of my time.
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« Reply #34 on: November 19, 2004, 10:40:25 PM »

But this isn't Valve's fault.  They didn't steal your CD key.  This is a problem that EB should deal with.  They are a store that specializes in game sales, you would think that they would at least know a thing or two about how the CD keys work, and not expose the key to theft as they did.  Because that is the whole problem.  They took the game out of the box exposing the CD key.  Anyone could have (and probably did) take the key and use it, screwing over the honest customer.  EB should know what games use secure CD keys like this and not take them out of the box.  I can think of a couple of solutions for this:

-have some "dummy boxes" to display on the shelves.  They don't have to contain any game.  You take the empty box to the counter and they swap it with a sealed copy.  Empty box can go back on shelf for next customer to buy.  Video stores do this.  It's not like it's hard.

-publisher supplies CD key on a scratch-off card, like a lottery ticket.  That way even if the box is opened the CD key is not exposed.   Store employees show customer that CD key is protected when they buy the game.  Again, this isn't hard.  I think ATI did this with the HL2 coupon they provided with their video cards.  The paper clearly stated that if it was scratched off the card could not be returned.  Simple.

I know I'm dreaming here but I don't think either of these methods is unreasonable.  The publisher needs to make sure retailers understand the product and the retailers (EB) need to protect their customers against fraud.
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« Reply #35 on: November 19, 2004, 10:42:58 PM »

Quote from: "Alice"
...


Quote from: "AttAdude"
i still cant figure out why this guy...


Quote from: "AttAdude"
U know man...


Alice is a guy?
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egrudzin
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« Reply #36 on: November 19, 2004, 11:04:57 PM »

Well Alice Cooper is a guy.  Scary, but still a guy.  So why not?
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Alice
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« Reply #37 on: November 19, 2004, 11:26:30 PM »

[/img]
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Jeff
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« Reply #38 on: November 19, 2004, 11:50:56 PM »

This isn't Valve's fault. As crazy as it sounds, you didn't buy Valve's game, you bought Vivendi's game, from EB, who opened your box, exposed your key, then sold it to you.

And yet for some reason, you still blame Valve, and refuse to place any blame on EB, or make a simple call to the EB DM.  (you don't have to go down to the mall and fight with them)

I once had an incident with a very rude EB employee, and called the DM. The guy not only gave me the game the incident was over, he also gave me a $50 EB gift card as well, all without me asking for anything. So, you never know..
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« Reply #39 on: November 19, 2004, 11:51:56 PM »

I'm betting VU/Sierra screwed up  and printed a whole bunch of duplicate keys again.  You must not be alone as it was asked enough times to be posted in their faq section of support.  I didn't see where it said you had to submit money, but it  is still a load of crap to have to jump through even though you made a legit purchase.  I'd be severely pissed also.  Link.
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