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BadKharma
24-11-2011, 11:46 PM
Hello everyone,

I am new to the forums and made this account to speak my mind about something that has been nagging me during the last couple of days.

As it says in the title of this thread my Steam Account has been banned. The reason that was given to me was that a transaction I made on my Steam acc through Paypal was disputed for reasons unknown to me and this led to a chargeback to my account. Steam support seems to be unwilling to help me in any sort of way because they supposedly have a "zero-tolerance policy" when "fraud" is concerned even if there is no fraud in play. Strangely enough there is no mention of this practice in the Steam Subscriber Agreement. I searched for similar cases on the Steam forums and there are quite a few that are similar to mine and nearly all of these people didn't get their accounts back. I always thought that Steam/ Valve were okay but this whole account suspension thing has opened my eyes.

My tip to everyone, don't use Paypal on Steam! If there is ever a problem with the transaction your account will get banned and you probably won't get it back. Steam are a bunch of scumbags who don't give a damn about any of us gamers. I know I certainly won't buy anything from them anymore.
I lost an account worth hundreds of euros for a negligible 7 euros, so be warned.

And to all Steam fanboys, please keep your opinions to yourself. You can glorify them as much as you want, but they're still a horrible and apathetic corporation that doesn't care about any of its customers. /endofrant

If you made it this far down the post I thank you for your attention and wish you a good day.

BadKharma

Nalano
24-11-2011, 11:49 PM
What have you done to contact Valve?

E-mail? Phone?

I ask because I've noticed a far more conciliatory relation through voice than through textual mediums.

Smashbox
24-11-2011, 11:50 PM
Steam are a bunch of scumbags who don't give a damn about any of us gamers.

I strongly disagree with this statement.

soldant
24-11-2011, 11:54 PM
Assuming there's truth to this, it probably stands as a valid counterpoint to "Steam never does anything wrong" which permeates these forums. Banning the entire account due to a disputed transaction seems sort of overkill, but you should still try to find out the reason why it was disputed.

BadKharma
24-11-2011, 11:56 PM
What have you done to contact Valve?

E-mail? Phone?

I ask because I've noticed a far more conciliatory relation through voice than through textual mediums.

I have written several emails and not received a single helpful reply to my problem. Since I live in Europe I am not sure where to reach Steam support on the phone. Couldn't find a number, that wasn't located in America, anywhere.

BadKharma
25-11-2011, 12:00 AM
Assuming there's truth to this, it probably stands as a valid counterpoint to "Steam never does anything wrong" which permeates these forums. Banning the entire account due to a disputed transaction seems sort of overkill, but you should still try to find out the reason why it was disputed.

I have contacted both Steam support and Paypal, but since my account was only banned when the dispute was already closed, I didn't have any way to prevent the suspension. I didn't receive an email from Steam, warning me of the possibility of a ban, or an email from Paypal, that they wanted to start a dispute, either.

BadKharma
25-11-2011, 12:01 AM
I strongly disagree with this statement.

Easy to disagree if you don't bring counter-arguments, isn't it? :)

BadKharma
25-11-2011, 12:03 AM
By the way, here's the link to a post on the steam forums by a guy who has the same problem: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2013440

Drake Sigar
25-11-2011, 12:05 AM
Bad - I promise I'll be more sympathetic to your plight if you stop beginning the word 'dispute' with a capital letter every time.

Edit: Thanks!


I strongly disagree with this statement.
Smash, have you changed your avatar slightly? I don't like change. :/

Nalano
25-11-2011, 12:07 AM
Couldn't find a number, that wasn't located in America, anywhere.

Nor can I. The only number I can find is 425-889-9642, which is their headquarters in Washington state.

I wish you the best of luck in getting this resolved. Clearly they need better service in the UK and the EU.

BadKharma
25-11-2011, 12:11 AM
Yeah, that's the number I found as well, but thanks for looking. I can completely agree with the last statement.

Smashbox
25-11-2011, 12:18 AM
Easy to disagree if you don't bring counter-arguments, isn't it? :)

I feel like the burden of proof that they're all scumbags who don't care about any game players may fall to you. But since you asked: Steam may have some anecdotal problems with customer support and partner relations, and I don't think they can do no wrong (nor do I realistically think that's an opinion permeating the forums) but they do make an effort to provide a better service than many similar companies.


Smash, have you changed your avatar slightly? I don't like change. :/

Yes, Medusa's wearing a Skyrimish helmet to up her armor rating. For now.

Mistabashi
25-11-2011, 12:27 AM
Just to be sure, what method did you use to contact Steam about this? Did you raise a support ticket or send emails to somewhere? If the latter, what email address did you send it to? I would always recommend using the support ticket system as you are guaranteed that your message goes to the right person, but if that isn't getting you anywhere you can always try emailling gaben@valvesoftware.com, he does seem to take the time to read most things people send him.

BadKharma
25-11-2011, 12:30 AM
I wrote several steam support tickets through the link that it gave to me when I tried to log-in to my account. When I got an answer I would reply to them through the ticket and the email directly. Thanks Mistabashi, I might give that a try.

BadKharma
25-11-2011, 12:34 AM
I feel like the burden of proof that they're all scumbags who don't care about any game players may fall to you. But since you asked: Steam may have some anecdotal problems with customer support and partner relations, and I don't think they can do no wrong (nor do I realistically think that's an opinion permeating the forums) but they do make an effort to provide a better service than many similar companies.

A few weeks or so ago I would have completely agreed with you, but I have never been treated this indifferently by online support before. They seem like they really don't care about my problem and don't really try to fix it. The generalisation might have been a little overexaggerated but the steam support tickets I've received back so far gave me that impression.

JamesG
25-11-2011, 12:48 AM
You're not alone with this problem, and its one of the reasons I stopped using Paypal with steam. Generally if you push things enough the solution tends to be giving you a 'grace period' in which you must re-purchase whatever it was that caused the problem in the first place. Hardly an ideal solution if that item was purchased as part of a daily deal. (Also, I strongly recommend avoiding Paypal on the second attempt if you can. If the problem re-occurs you are in substantially more trouble.)

BadKharma
25-11-2011, 12:54 AM
Thank you very much James, I guess I'll keep pushing them nicely then :) Should they re-activate my account I'll be sure not to use Paypal again.

SirKicksalot
25-11-2011, 12:55 AM
You know, for all the hate they get, EA has stellar support for Origin.

I make all my Steam purchases using Steam Wallet. It's just safer to stash a lot of money there and slowly draining it than risking credit card or PayPal SNAFUs. I'm European so I only buy stuff during sales anyway. As a bonus, Steam Wallet transactions work even during the big sales when credit cards are rejected all the time.

vinraith
25-11-2011, 02:17 AM
I ask because I've noticed a far more conciliatory relation through voice than through textual mediums.

That is a very useful thing to know, thanks Nalano.

@BadKarma

Best of luck in getting this resolved quickly and fairly. This stuff happens far too often, and Valve support isn't what you'd call sympathetic.

Nalano
25-11-2011, 02:26 AM
That is a very useful thing to know, thanks Nalano.

It's usually because they take your calling as proof that you're you. It's also legal proof that you've attempted to contact them.

Megagun
25-11-2011, 11:18 AM
I've always wondered why Steam support doesn't have a live chat feature. You'd think that something like that would be standard these days, but no.....

ZIGS
25-11-2011, 12:02 PM
I've always wondered why Steam support doesn't have a live chat feature. You'd think that something like that would be standard these days, but no.....

Well, can you imagine the staff needed to attend to all the requests? I'd much rather they just improve the by-email form of contact

Kadayi
25-11-2011, 12:05 PM
And to all Steam fanboys, please keep your opinions to yourself. You can glorify them as much as you want, but they're still a horrible and apathetic corporation that doesn't care about any of its customers. /endofrant

You're not really familiar with the idea of a discussion forum are you?

Memph
25-11-2011, 12:08 PM
I am a happy Steam user, but surely noone can argue that an account ban over one transaction is nothing short of ridiculously overkill. Everything else on the account is bought and paid for. Why can't they just block/remove the one title the dispute is over rather than just slap the ban button? Monumental laziness is the only answer I can think of.

Anyway I think many forum frequenters have seen enough of this happening to know not to use paypal in the first place. Good luck with getting your account back.

The Mechanical Aggressor
25-11-2011, 12:39 PM
Slightly off topic, but I've always found it highly amusing that there are Steam fanboys. I didn't know shops had fanboys. I wonder if there are Tesco and Sainsburys fanboys who have long internet arguments.

PeopleLikeFrank
25-11-2011, 12:43 PM
Tesco & Sainsburys never made Half-Life :p

snortmort
25-11-2011, 12:55 PM
This happened to me also about 2 weeks ago. There was no warning by email, I just couldn't login with a message saying the account was suspended. Some googling quickly revealed that the most common reason for this is payment dispute, generally from Paypal.

I checked my paypal account and a game I had bought about a month before had its payment reversed by Paypal. The reason for this was I had recently changed bank, the bank was unfamiliar with my spending habits (buying shit beyond midnight!), and blocked the payment to Paypal.

This sets in motion a chain of automatic events on both sides, Paypal and Steam. Paypal raise a dispute, without your knowledge unless you check your account, eventually it is resolved by them taking the money back off steam. This is met with an automatic account suspension from Steam.

It would appear the only time a human gets involved is when you cannot login. I was blissfully unaware of this situation building for over a month.

The reason Steam has a zero tolerance of this is because it often means 'fraud'. Stolen Paypal accounts, credit cards etc etc.

What made the situation all the more galling for me is that I rarely if ever use Paypal and I used it on this occasion simply because I couldn't be arsed to go down stairs to get my new debit card, and Paypal had those details stored.


The problem is Steam's largely robotic and ineffectual support system, as I do kind of understand why these systems must be in place. As far as they're concerned I got a game and I haven't paid for it.
I logged a support ticket the same day. I knew from Google that it takes at least 48hours to get a response. I got a response roughly within that timescale. It was obviously a stock reply, either generated automatically or pasted by a human who maybe just read the words 'suspended' and 'paypal'.

Anyway that response basically said I had to resolve the dispute at Paypals end, but the account will be opened again whilst I do that. Fine, but the issue is Paypal have closed the dispute automatically, and you cannot re-open it, even by calling them.
So this is where you get stuck in limbo.
They also state that the game that was bought is locked, and you also lose the ability to use Paypal on steam.

For now my account is open, but I fear it will be closed again eventually as I'm unsure what I have to do.
I've had my account since the very day Steam started, and have well over 200 games on it.


I don't dislike steam in any way, I'm not bitter, just angry, and it has definitely opened my eyes a little bit. I do now think twice about where I buy games from.

Creeping Death
25-11-2011, 12:56 PM
Slightly off topic, but I've always found it highly amusing that there are Steam fanboys. I didn't know shops had fanboys. I wonder if there are Tesco and Sainsburys fanboys who have long internet arguments.

I certainly know a few people that prefer tesco over other stores because they believe they have better prices/own brand products than the competitors, and they'll do the weekly shopping there every week and rarely step foot in other stores. Surely, for as far as you can be for such a think, that's tesco fanboyism?

Drake Sigar
25-11-2011, 01:07 PM
Snortmort - Certainly something to think about. Digital distribution has grown so rapidly these past years, and yet they're often entirely governed by automated responses. If Paypal or Steam or indeed any online service wants me as a customer, they have to make the appropriate support available first. Till then I'll stick with my boxed retail copies.



Slightly off topic, but I've always found it highly amusing that there are Steam fanboys. I didn't know shops had fanboys. I wonder if there are Tesco and Sainsburys fanboys who have long internet arguments.

Probably not, but I'm imagining the employees of both companies meet in an empty car park for a musical gang war.

TillEulenspiegel
25-11-2011, 01:17 PM
Surely, for as far as you can be for such a think, that's tesco fanboyism?
Fanboyism would be reflexively defending them (and not another company) when they're accused of doing wrong - say, from poor customer service to animal cruelty. And I don't think many people like that exist for supermarket chains.

The other thing is just liking to shop there, which may be a purely rational decision with little emotional attachment.

Same with Steam, really. I often like what they offer, but I'm fully aware of the drawbacks and I'd never step in to defend them without evidence.

snortmort
25-11-2011, 01:25 PM
Snortmort - Certainly something to think about. Digital distribution has grown so rapidly these past years, and yet they're often entirely governed by automated responses. If Paypal or Steam or indeed any online service wants me as a customer, they have to make the appropriate support available first. Till then I'll stick with my boxed retail copies.





Biggest lesson for me personally was probably not to put all my eggs in one basket. I'm a terrible hoarder, more a games collector than player, and I nurtured my Steam collection over years, busily hoovering up bargains without a care.

Having it all suddenly go was a massive jolt, and I'm just more cautious now. If I see a bargain on steam, I'll try and find it elsewhere first. Whereas before, just having a game on Steam was an added attraction; another to add to my collection.


I've just rechecked the ticket, and it was closed with the comments I mentioned above, and that was over a week ago, so I'm not sure where I stand. It states that if Paypal actually take back the funds I'll lose the account. Well, that had already happened before they re-opened it.

I have read in several places people saying you must re-purchase the game to put yourself back in favour with the Valve overlords. But that doesn't say that in mine and I'm unsure if that will make any difference.
In my case the game was actually a gift (I always buy games for my sons as gifts if they want anything from steam), and all record of that purchase, and the gift itself has vanished. So it would just be logical to buy it again anyway. I don't actually think that would change anything else as I think the case is closed.

snortmort
25-11-2011, 01:32 PM
Thank you very much James, I guess I'll keep pushing them nicely then :) Should they re-activate my account I'll be sure not to use Paypal again.

I did read around that it is very hit and miss how quickly you can get this resolved. Some are resolved quickly, others have a nightmare. There's no rhyme or reason to it.
I definitely understand the anger and frustration, and total panic if I'm honest! But I figured early on that I would have to be extremely patient, and calm, if I stood a chance of getting my account back.

I don't know if it helped, but when I logged my ticket I pasted the entire contents of the dispute log from paypal, and the original purchase details from my paypal activity.
I acknowledged the problem and explained what had happened. I just tried to help them, help me, as much as possible, and stayed very polite.

Within 2 days my account was back, and (touch wood) it's still open.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.

Skalpadda
25-11-2011, 01:39 PM
I quite like Steam, but I hope our lawmakers get around to updating and clarifying consumer protection laws for this sort of thing soon. Effectively punishing a paying customer because their bank or Paypal messed up is pretty horrible, especially since there doesn't seem to be a clear way of sorting out the mess afterwards.

soldant
25-11-2011, 01:47 PM
Tesco & Sainsburys never made Half-Life :p
Exactly. Steam was accepted because of the goodwill Valve built up with the Half Life series, which has has been left for dead apparently. People have decided that Valve are always good and EA are always evil. To be fair Valve do have a good track record, but instances like these are clear examples of why any digital distribution platform should be treated with caution and be constantly scrutinised, not just Origin/anything other than Steam.

Man, if this happened on Origin, there'd be a hundred comments complaining that it isn't fair, it's against the consumer's rights, EA eat babies, etc...

deano2099
25-11-2011, 02:40 PM
Slightly off topic, but I've always found it highly amusing that there are Steam fanboys. I didn't know shops had fanboys. I wonder if there are Tesco and Sainsburys fanboys who have long internet arguments.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h676I2T0F-8

Theblazeuk
25-11-2011, 03:03 PM
Slightly off topic, but I've always found it highly amusing that there are Steam fanboys. I didn't know shops had fanboys. I wonder if there are Tesco and Sainsburys fanboys who have long internet arguments.

I suppose its because you're allowed to say "Yes it has its faults but Ill continue to shop there as it's good value and it is better than the competitors" without being called a blind fanboy outside of the internet.

Keep
25-11-2011, 03:14 PM
I did read around that it is very hit and miss how quickly you can get this resolved. Some are resolved quickly, others have a nightmare. There's no rhyme or reason to it.

To me, that screams "There's one guy in the office who understands this problem". How long it takes for it to get bounced his way is how long resolution'll take.


Automated systems & uncaring customer support, it's a growing problem isn't it? No way to run a company.

Juan Carlo
25-11-2011, 05:29 PM
People love to bitch about Origin, but from everything I've heard about them their customer support is stellar. Valve could learn a thing from EA in this regard, especially when it comes to having live people available to answer your questions. With steam it seems support tickets always take at least 48 hours, if not more, and even then it's almost always a robotic response.

Juan Carlo
25-11-2011, 05:40 PM
The reason for this was I had recently changed bank, the bank was unfamiliar with my spending habits (buying shit beyond midnight!), and blocked the payment to Paypal.
.

I've had so many headaches with this, it's really not funny. I know this stuff is there to protect you, but all it's done for me is create hurdles. For my last bank they used to shut off my card everytime I bought something outside of the USA which was a massive pain in the ass as my bank controlled my card, yet VISA controlled the fraud prevention. So if I called my bank to get it re-enabled, VISA would still have the card shut off--so usually I would just have to order a new card every time it got shut off.

I've gotten to the point where I'm really reluctant to buy anything online if it's not from one of the main "big" online retailers as you never know when the bank will decide to flag something as fraud and shutdown your card.

CuriousOrange
25-11-2011, 06:07 PM
My brothers account got banned, he contacted them and they were very useful and quick at getting it reactivated. You have to take into account however many million people use Steam, of course some people are going to have problems and encounter irritating or incompetent support staff. It would be interesting to see some statistics, but I would guess that somewhere around 99% of users never have any problems with Steam or have their problems fixed quickly.

The internet is never representative. My brother didn't go online to post about how they responded quickly. He just went back to gaming.

Scumbag
25-11-2011, 07:32 PM
I'd say the lesson is use PayPal as little as possible. Not saying Steam is perfect by any means, but I've had issues with PayPal over the years. Used to buy and sell heavy metal vinyl a lot and I must have had about 300 worth of stuff taken from me via PayPal over disputes where people claim the item had not been sent.
Unless using Ebay, stay away from PayPal unless you really must use it.

Nalano
25-11-2011, 11:06 PM
I'd say the lesson is use PayPal as little as possible. Not saying Steam is perfect by any means, but I've had issues with PayPal over the years. Used to buy and sell heavy metal vinyl a lot and I must have had about 300 worth of stuff taken from me via PayPal over disputes where people claim the item had not been sent.
Unless using Ebay, stay away from PayPal unless you really must use it.

As a way to send money to people you know without coming across the exorbitant international fees that Western Union and other "traditional" wired money transferers charge, it's a great tool.

As a replacement for bank transfers and eCommerce, it's a notoriously suspect system.

archonsod
26-11-2011, 12:37 AM
I am a happy Steam user, but surely noone can argue that an account ban over one transaction is nothing short of ridiculously overkill. Everything else on the account is bought and paid for. Why can't they just block/remove the one title the dispute is over rather than just slap the ban button? Monumental laziness is the only answer I can think of.

Because they have no way of knowing if it's just the usual Paypal cock-up or an attempt at fraud.

It's not so much Valve's actions which are the problem as their utter incompetence when it comes to resolving the issue. Plus their excuse for it smacks of stupidity - in any other company if they routinely had issues caused by a certain payment method, they tend to drop that payment method until it's sorted out.


Slightly off topic, but I've always found it highly amusing that there are Steam fanboys. I didn't know shops had fanboys. I wonder if there are Tesco and Sainsburys fanboys who have long internet arguments.

I think they're called "the middle classes".