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It started out as something simple. EA were running a 50% off sale, and I decided that now would be a good time to go ahead and purchase†Battlefield 3 Premium†and see how all those map packs I missed changed the game. I logged into the Origin client, I added the game to my cart, and logged into PayPal to make the purchase.

Payment Authorization Failed.

I thought that was odd, but I had come across a few locations that wouldnít accept my credit card details. So I tried to purchase the game again, this time with a different card, one I use all the time for online purchasing.

Payment Authorization Failed.

Perhaps it was a problem with the Origin client? I logged into the website, setup my cart once more, and then used the online credit card entry instead of PayPal this time.

Payment Authorization Failed.

At this point, Iím almost ready to give up. I decide to persevere, and log into EAís Live Chat support option. There I am greeted by a nice enough fellow named Alejandro who notices that my account has been flagged as a risk. Apparently, this is a normal process conducted by Origin to question the security of accounts that havenít purchased in a long time. This is feasible, I actually havenít made a purchase on Origin before thanks to review codes, and I was advised to call customer service at 10:00am tomorrow.

The sale ended at midnight, but Alejandro assured me that I would still receive my 50% off discount.
This morning I called the Origin hotline, an American number and I was placed on hold. After one hour and forty-seven minutes, my patience was wearing thin. At one hour and forty-eight minutes, my call was disconnected.

I was furious.

I was at a crossroads. Do I give up now, vow never to use Origin again and move on with my life? On the other hand, Iíve already spent a good portion of my day sorting this out.

I decided to hit the Live Chat service again, in a desperate attempt to receive my DLC and be on the road to happiness. Here I was greeted by Ronald, who upon hearing about my long wait, was sympathetic. He told me he couldnít deal with my case, but would pass me on to a specialist who could do so.

Thatís when I met Aseem R.

Aseem R took a look at my case, then told me he would need to redirect me to another specialist team.
Hang on a minute, wasnít I just transferred. Thatís when Aseem R told me that I would need to call a customer service number, a completely different customer service number than the one I was given the previous evening. To add insult to injury, they wanted to charge me $2.48 a minute to receive support. They want to charge me, just so I can give them my money?

The following is a direct transcript, spelling mistakes and all, of what happened during that live chat session.

Aseem:†Thanks for contacting EA Customer Experience, my name is Aseem. How may I assist you today?

Me:†Case number 09134827

Aseem:†hello

Me:†My name is Stephen Heller. Apparently my account has been flagged as a risk. I should have three purchases awaiting clearance. I only wanted one of those purchases, but the Origin service kept denying me.

Aseem:†Okay. Donít worry for that we will have to redirect you to the specialest team
Okay 1902 261 600, Case: 09139810

Me:†No.

Aseem:†Please contact on the above number and you will be assisted Okay

Me:†Someone can call me, I have already been on hold for 1.5 hours. After I was on the live chat last night, and that number has A $2.48 per minute cost. I want someone from Origin to call me.

Aseem:†This is a number which you have to call

Me:†Last night I was told to call 1-866-543-5435 and I was on hold for 1.5 hours. I have been transferred 3 times already today on live chat. I am not going to pay $2.48 per minute to have this issue resolved.

Here there is a lenghty silence of approximately 5 minutes.

Me:†So is this the only solution you are going to offer me?

Aseem:†I can understand but in this case you will have to call the contact the pone support

Me:†No worries. I will close my Origin account. Seeing as I am a gaming journalist, I am also going to write about this dreadful customer service experience. Thanks so much for your time.

Aseem:†yuor most welcome

Aseem:†Thanks for contacting EA please feel free to contact us anytime.

Now I will admit, my last comment was a little snarky, borderline on being a dick, but after almost five hours across two nights of trying to give Origin my money, I was rightly pissed off. EA offers the option to have their support call your number from their website for US residents, and I felt that if I could say anything to make this customer service officer help me, this could have been resolved. As a regular Steam and GOG user, never have I had so much trouble trying to purchase a digital game.

In the past I was happy enough to tell those complaining about Origin to get over it. Now, I think I have become one of those people. Itís especially disheartening, because I know that the Australian team is great at what they do. Whoever is running Origin Customer Service needs to lift their game.

What is the worst customer service experience you have had with an online distributor?
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