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gimperial
28-01-2012, 01:03 PM
3 days ago Steam banned my 250+ game/1000GBP spent account.

They refuse to say why, apart from saying I violated the Steam Subscriber Agreement - which I read, and I haven't.

Their notoriously bad customer service has been unhelpful, basically saying the same thing (you violated the SSA and your account won't be reinstated).

Even if I did violate the SSA, how is it at all OK to not be clear about why you're locking someone out of their account forever? I'm not going to make a new account and buy games because it would probably just get banned as well.

R-F
28-01-2012, 01:08 PM
Send in a mail saying you're going to complain to the media watchdogs, you should get a reply telling you exactly what you did within a few days, if not a complete unbanning.

I've used it to get full refunds on game purchases, since Steam is flirting with removal of statutory rights in what they do.

I've never heard of anyone actually being banned from Steam, though, that's just weird.

Rii
28-01-2012, 01:09 PM
Sounds to me like you have a fair idea why you were banned.

But yeah, Steam is a monster and its tyranny should not go unopposed.

gimperial
28-01-2012, 01:15 PM
I have 2 ideas - one is I helped some friends get cheaper games from my region (Russia). Some paid me via paypal (Steam doesn't allow this) and some via pints/beer/other games. This was strictly between friends - I didn't sell games online/ebay/on the Steam forums etc.

In Steam Support's second reply, they specifically said it wasn't because I was gifting a lot. And if it was, why didn't I get a warning like this guy: http://i.imgur.com/ALt6b.png

Either way, my beef with Steam Support is that they won't say why.

My other theory is they banned me because they think I'm using a proxy to buy games at Russian prices (which I'm not, I'm actually here for another 6 months) in which case it's a false positive and I shouldn't be banned.

The point is unless they tell me why I'm banned, I can't know if it's a false positive, and what I should/shouldn't do to not get banned in the future.

I'm ok with being banned for gifting friends games in exchange for money, as that's not allowed, but they should say that that's why, and so far they've implied that that's not the reason. And I haven't done anything else wrong.

Kaira-
28-01-2012, 01:25 PM
Steam doesn't really need any reasons to close your account, though that doesn't mean they just go and close them "for the lulz".

Rii
28-01-2012, 01:30 PM
Let this be a lesson to you not to pay for video games.

buemba
28-01-2012, 01:38 PM
If Steam support won't help you e-mail Gabe Newell directly. He probably won't do anything either, but you never know...

gimperial
28-01-2012, 01:44 PM
I have, some friends did as well on my behalf. No surprise, he ignored the emails....

soldant
28-01-2012, 02:33 PM
Two things:

1) I know people will jump on me about it, but "If this was Origin, there'd be six hundred comments and blood in the streets by now."

2) Off topic, but on that image linked, there's a line that says "We are always working with publishers to adjust their prices to be in line with what can be found at local retailers and online shops." Can we infer from this that publishers ultimately have the larger say in how prices are set on Steam, thus the ridiculous case of "Steam price >= retail shop price" (as seen in Australia) is the fault of the publishers?

flukie
28-01-2012, 02:37 PM
Its basically because prices in russia are far better for video games than EU/US and they don't want people getting those games at those prices, I buy games from russia and activate them on steam but I will stop now just hearing about this case study.

Drake Sigar
28-01-2012, 03:13 PM
1) I know people will jump on me about it, but "If this was Origin, there'd be six hundred comments and blood in the streets by now."
*Jumps*

The thread has only been here an hour and a bit, on Saturday no less. And there are plenty of us who aren't entirely comfortable with our somewhat diminished consumer rights thanks to mandatory online services like Steam forcing their digital contracts on us and circumventing the proper legal channels. No company should be able to seize an absolute fortune's worth of games, I don't care how well-intentioned they are.

squirrel
28-01-2012, 03:14 PM
How's consumer right protection in your country?

For customer service part, dont just email or send electronic messages. Make sure you talk to anyone at Valve directly, at least a phone call. This is definitely not something routine. Maybe there are just some misunderstandings to be cleared, but clearance can only started by serious conversation.

But your case raises a more serious concern which I have been complaining about: publishers do not have legitimate reason to justify geo-price discrimination. Online activation DRM must be abolished or our consumer rights could never be respected and enforced.

Shane
28-01-2012, 03:16 PM
Its basically because prices in russia are far better for video games than EU/US and they don't want people getting those games at those prices

Isn't it wrong to ban people for using proxies from an ethical standpoint?

Rii
28-01-2012, 03:20 PM
Ah, the difficulties involved in pricing something that has no cost...

gimperial
28-01-2012, 03:41 PM
By the way I never used proxies, I actually am in Russia. And I wasn't buying retail games that need Russian IP activation, I was buying games on Steam and gifting them. Most of the time for free.

But really I just want Steam to improve their crappy support, and tell me WHY they banned me.

squirrel: Steam Support doesn't have a phone number unfortunately, otherwise I'd be all over it.

Tei
28-01-2012, 04:02 PM
Corporation can move production to asia and other countries, but wen you start using the same globalization to benefit mere citizens, you become the enemy.

TailSwallower
28-01-2012, 04:02 PM
Its basically because prices in russia are far better for video games than EU/US and they don't want people getting those games at those prices, I buy games from russia and activate them on steam but I will stop now just hearing about this case study.

I was in Russia during the Christmas sales and bought a handful of things. I wonder if they're smart enough to be able to pick someone that's actually in Russia from someone who's using VPN (or whatever it's called). Either way, it's been a month and nothing has happened to my account, so I assume I'm fine.

Funnily enough though, they wouldn't let me make any purchases with my Australian address listed... So in the end I had my Australian address listed, but with Russia as the country.

Cooper
28-01-2012, 04:25 PM
Corporation can move production to asia and other countries, but wen you start using the same globalization to benefit mere citizens, you become the enemy.Key point here. Globalisation is uneven.

buemba
28-01-2012, 04:35 PM
But your case raises a more serious concern which I have been complaining about: publishers do not have legitimate reason to justify geo-price discrimination.

I disagree. If publishers want places like Russia, China and Latin America to become relevant gaming markets (And they should, as Steam's recent success in Russia proved) games there can't cost the same as they do in the US or Europe.

c-Row
28-01-2012, 04:37 PM
Corporation can move production to asia and other countries, but wen you start using the same globalization to benefit mere citizens, you become the enemy.

It's only frowned upon if you are not super-rich.

SirKicksalot
28-01-2012, 04:42 PM
1) I know people will jump on me about it, but "If this was Origin, there'd be six hundred comments and blood in the streets by now."


If this was Origin, there would be no need for this thread as EA's live chat support is actually helpful.

Unaco
28-01-2012, 04:46 PM
But your case raises a more serious concern which I have been complaining about: publishers do not have legitimate reason to justify geo-price discrimination.

Of course they do. It's called the 'cost of living'.

Nalano
28-01-2012, 04:56 PM
By the way I never used proxies, I actually am in Russia. And I wasn't buying retail games that need Russian IP activation, I was buying games on Steam and gifting them. Most of the time for free.

But really I just want Steam to improve their crappy support, and tell me WHY they banned me.

squirrel: Steam Support doesn't have a phone number unfortunately, otherwise I'd be all over it.

Not in Russia, it doesn't. However, what you're doing definitely sounds like something Steam would want to stop somebody from doing.


Of course they do. It's called the 'cost of living'.

This. Purchasing power of the average Chinese citizen, for instance, is far lower than the average American citizen, so pricing things the same makes little sense (and as such, for instance, a Big Mac costs a buck fifty less in China than America).

asskicker
28-01-2012, 04:58 PM
Make a thread on the steam forums, that sometimes gets their attention.

Rii
28-01-2012, 04:59 PM
Of course they do. It's called the 'cost of living'.

The usual practice is to charge similar amounts everywhere and stiff shit for those markets that can't afford it. That's how real products work, because they actually cost something to make. Differential pricing exists with games and films precisely because they are not real products and every sale - regardless of dollar amount - is 100% profit.

Differential pricing is actually a good thing, as it enables a broader audience to enjoy the experience and demonstrates just how arbitrary and counter-productive the system of setting prices for games and unleashing the violence of law on those who can't or won't meet your demands actually is. After all, there are rich Russians and poor Americans: the only reason price differentiation exists across nations but not between individuals within nations according to a great number of criteria (not just income) is because the latter type is very difficult to do.

And the solution to that problem, of course, is not to impose such differentiation from top-down at all, but rather allow it to grow from bottom-up: that is to say, let consumers differentiate themselves by voluntarily contributing to producers whatever amounts they can and are willing to.

Nalano
28-01-2012, 05:00 PM
That's how real products work

No, no they don't (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Mac_Index).

gimperial
28-01-2012, 05:01 PM
Not in Russia, it doesn't. However, what you're doing definitely sounds like something Steam would want to stop somebody from doing.

I think my message got lost in the stuff about pricing, but I never denied that - in fact I accept that it's a bannable offense. But why can't Steam give a warning, or disable trading/gifting, or at the very least, TELL me that that's why they banned me? Instead of just banning and going silent. Plus if you read the OP, they actually said the ban wasn't due to excessive gifting, so it could have been something else that is a false positive. And it's not really Steam's business who I gift games to and whether they pay me with sexual favours or beer or not. But even so, I just want to know exactly why I'm banned.

And they don't have phone support anywhere, even if you're in the US (or if they do it's very well hidden - I looked for ages).

gimperial
28-01-2012, 05:02 PM
Make a thread on the steam forums, that sometimes gets their attention.

They never help with account issues on the forums, but I did message BurtonJ who is a Valve employee, but he ignored me.
Also someone's made a thread on my behalf: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2508426

Nalano
28-01-2012, 05:06 PM
And it's not really Steam's business who I gift games to

Sure it is, when you're circumventing price strictures.


And they don't have phone support anywhere, even if you're in the US (or if they do it's very well hidden - I looked for ages).

t: 425-889-9642
f: 425-827-4843

That wasn't so hard.

That said, there's ~300 Valve employees and ~20,000,000 Valve customers. You can have fast service or individualized service, just not both.

asskicker
28-01-2012, 05:06 PM
They never help with account issues on the forums, but I did message BurtonJ who is a Valve employee, but he ignored me.
Also someone's made a thread on my behalf: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2508426

Well I've seen plenty of threads of people telling their story and eventually a Valve Employee will ask for their ticket number.
But then, I've seen plenty of thread where people don't get help... :P

PeopleLikeFrank
28-01-2012, 05:09 PM
Two things:Can we infer from this that publishers ultimately have the larger say in how prices are set on Steam, thus the ridiculous case of "Steam price >= retail shop price" (as seen in Australia) is the fault of the publishers?

I thought this was A Known Thing.

Unaco
28-01-2012, 05:10 PM
Just to check... To the OP: You've never had your Steam account suspended before this? Perhaps a temporary ban that was lifted if you agreed to abide by the T&C's/SSA? Which you've now failed to do? Or lifted while they looked into the situation, and have now decided to ban?

When you say you helped 'some friends' get cheaper games... just how many is some? How many games? How organised was it, exactly? How many games, bought at the Russian prices, have you traded with people not in Russia?

Also, you weren't by any chance involved in abusing the Winter Sale and Coal collecting, were you?

Rii
28-01-2012, 05:14 PM
No, no they don't (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Mac_Index).

Yes, they do. There are other factors but there is an underlying reality to physical property that serves as the baseline and which is usually the predominant factor in setting prices.

Which is why McDonalds has different social cachet in different societies: the cost of the products is relatively fixed, but the income differential between societies makes one nation's junk food consumed disproportionately by the poor the other nation's delicacy consumed disproportionately by the rich.

In IP land there would be as many McDonalds restaurants per square mile in South Sudan as in the United States. But there isn't because the vast majority of Sudanese can't afford McDonalds' products because meat (even McDonalds' "meat") is farking expensive.

Nalano
28-01-2012, 05:18 PM
the cost of the products is relatively fixed

I just linked you something that contradicts this very statement. You're replying to it at this very moment.

Jesus H. Christ: Businesses charge what the market will bear. That's why Heineken is more expensive in the US than in the Netherlands - not because it's hard to import (American Heinekens are made in America) but because it's "imported." It'd be stupid to block out a whole market because they can't afford a price point that's slated towards a population with greater purchasing power, as all that matters is that you're making a profit.

gimperial
28-01-2012, 05:20 PM
Unaco:
It was suspended during the Xmas sale. After 7 days, Steam Support replied saying they suspended to make sure it was me buying games for the account, because yes I was buying a lot of games for myself, and gifting a lot as well. They asked me to verify that it was indeed me buying them, I said yes it was, and they said they will make a note to make sure I don't get suspended in the future. Of course in my opinion, the note they actually made was "if he gifts again, ban him".

I guess what you're asking is if this happened: http://i.imgur.com/ALt6b.png
It didn't. T&Cs, SSA were never mentioned. As far as I was concerned, they made sure someone hadn't stolen my account and was gifting games away, and then they told me they'd make sure I wouldn't be suspended again.

As for numbers, I'd estimate I gifted about 70 games. About 50 of them I gave away for free (stuff like Limbo for $0.5, I'd just buy like 10 copies and give them away). And maybe 20 or so games where people either paypalled me, or IOU'd beer, drinks etc.

I was not involved with abusing the coal stuff in any way (in fact my account was suspended for half the sale - see above).

And once again, trading gifts for money is a bannable offense, and I am ok with being banned for that. But they should SAY SO. But so far they said this ban was not for excessive gifting.

Nalano
28-01-2012, 05:26 PM
As for numbers, I'd estimate I gifted about 70 games.

That's a lotta 50 cent games.

Also, this thread is getting hilarious: Because you werent specifically charged, you're committing perjury left and right.

Rii
28-01-2012, 05:28 PM
Jesus H. Christ: Businesses charge what the market will bear.

And when 'what the market will bear' translates to losing money on the sale because the population actually can't afford to pay what the product costs to produce, you don't sell a product there; or rather, you only sell to the relatively few rich folk around at or above the standard price.

Or maybe it's just that Africans don't like cars (except for rich Africans for reasons unrelated to their richness) and that's why there aren't dealerships selling $2 Honda Civics there to all and sundry.

Or maybe, just maybe, it's because Honda can't actually make a car that the average African can afford, because cars - not being intellectual property - actually cost money to make, and that restricts the possible market space.

gimperial
28-01-2012, 05:28 PM
That's a lotta 50 cent games.

It might even have been more, it's a rough estimate. But if you read the SPUF thread I linked, that's nothing money wise compared to the amount of gifting that goes on in that community. For example there's currently a $3000 worth of Steam games giveaway going on.

Nalano
28-01-2012, 05:30 PM
It might even have been more, it's a rough estimate. But if you read the SPUF thread I linked, that's nothing money wise compared to the amount of gifting that goes on in that community. For example there's currently a $3000 worth of Steam games giveaway going on.

Gifting in general isn't the problem. Gifting from Russia is, and "other people do it too" isn't exactly an excuse. :p

gimperial
28-01-2012, 05:32 PM
Gifting in general isn't the problem. Gifting from Russia is, and "other people do it too" isn't exactly an excuse. :p

That wasn't my excuse though, I've said several times that if I'm banned for gifting for money (which isn't allowed by Steam) I'm totally OK with that.
But if gifting from Russia is a problem, why has Steam not disabled it? It's either OK, or it isn't. And if that is the problem, why can't they tell me that that's why I'm banned?

They also specifically said there are no limits to how much you gift, from any region. The only thing that isn't allowed is gifting in exchange for money.

Nalano
28-01-2012, 05:34 PM
That wasn't my excuse though, I've said several times that if I'm banned for gifting for money (which isn't allowed by Steam) I'm totally OK with that.

Doesn't matter if you profit from it, just that it occurs. And gifting within Russia isn't an issue.

gimperial
28-01-2012, 05:42 PM
Doesn't matter if you profit from it, just that it occurs. And gifting within Russia isn't an issue.

The fact is - there are many screenshots of Steam support saying that gifting from Russia to other regions is A-ok. The only thing that isn't, is doing it for money, whether it's for profit or not (mine wasn't for profit). Gifting from Russia to the US is most definitely not a bannable offense. Doing it in exchange for money is.

But Steam Support still haven't told me why I'm banned, and as far as they are concerned I was just gifting a lot of games to friends, because I know that they haven't hacked my paypal ;)

Cooper
28-01-2012, 05:47 PM
That's how real products work, because they actually cost something to make. Differential pricing exists with games and films precisely because they are not real products and every sale - regardless of dollar amount - is 100% profit.Yeah, games cost nothing to make, and whenever a game is sold it's all profit. None of it goes to covering the costs of actually producing the game because they just pop out of thin air.

Games cost little to nothing to press and distribute. Even less if digitally distributed. But they don't cost nothing to make. I'm all for the free flow of information, and games are fundamentally information. But good information doesn't just happen.

Also, pretty much all exercises in voluntary pricing have failed to indicate that they generate enough income to cover the costs of production. All you get are people who couldn't afford it at full price paying what they can, and those who could afford it at full price, paying a lot less.

Nalano
28-01-2012, 05:53 PM
Games cost little to nothing to press and distribute. Even less if digitally distributed.

Which would then stand to reason that every sale is a profitable one, tho not equally profitable, and certainly not 100% profit.

Rii
28-01-2012, 06:01 PM
Yeah, games cost nothing to make, and whenever a game is sold it's all profit. None of it goes to covering the costs of actually producing the game because they just pop out of thin air.

Of course they don't ... but what of it? Producing a game (or any other form of IP) is a risk voluntarily assumed by everyone involved. Society owes them nothing.


Also, pretty much all exercises in voluntary pricing have failed to indicate that they generate enough income to cover the costs of production. All you get are people who couldn't afford it at full price paying what they can, and those who could afford it at full price, paying a lot less.

Flawed methodology in a biased environment leads to invalid results.

Cooper
28-01-2012, 06:50 PM
Of course they don't ... but what of it? Producing a game (or any other form of IP) is a risk voluntarily assumed by everyone involved. Society owes them nothing.



Flawed methodology in a biased environment leads to invalid results.

I never said we owed them anything. But I quite like people who make games 'taking a risk'. And I'd rather foster an environment where more people are willing to take those risk. And environment where they are highly unlikely to see any renumeration for that effort is not such an environment.

And as to your second point: The world is not a laboratory. Society and consumer habits even less so. If the environment is biased, then you need to conduct experiments in that biased world.


I would love a world where things were not so biased and consumer habits were different. If you have any suggestions as to how to change that, I would gladly listen.

The discussion around HOW we create an environment that fosters creativity and good information production by renumerating (which does not necessitate financial renumeration) that production AND accepts that information can will and shoul pass freely is far, far more the interesting discussion to be having.

deano2099
28-01-2012, 07:31 PM
Jesus H. Christ: Businesses charge what the market will bear. That's why Heineken is more expensive in the US than in the Netherlands - not because it's hard to import (American Heinekens are made in America) but because it's "imported."

But isn't the availability of cheap personal importing, brought about by the internet, and especially appealing for digital products, a legitimate factor in altering what the market will bear?


Gifting in general isn't the problem. Gifting from Russia is, and "other people do it too" isn't exactly an excuse. :p
I'm fairly sure Steam have developers capable of outright blocking gifts from Russia to people in other territories. They can clearly identify when this happens so why not just block it using technical measures. Or if it's only 'excessive' gifting that's the problem, decide on a number for 'excessive' and stop any trades over that number.

More generally, when did this 'no gifting for money' thing start? I wasn't aware of it, we've had a 'data smuggling' thing going on in these forums and I seem to remember "buy a double pack and split the cost with a friend" was something Valve heavily marketed with Portal 2?

gimperial
28-01-2012, 07:43 PM
words

This is the only place I've found it in writing:
https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=4502-TPJL-2656#giving

Note that that isn't actually part of the SSA, just a separate kb article. Also excessive gifting is not the problem - at least not according to Steam Support. In their one and only reply to me, they said excessive gifting was not why I was banned. It's why I want to know why i was banned, but there's no way they will tell me, which is why I was hoping RPS would ask - they know how to get answers...

But you make a good point - in the case of 4 packs, do they really expect one person to pay for all of them from the goodness of their heart? I don't think that's ever happened, and anyone buying 4 packs has had 3 people paying the buyer.

BenWah
28-01-2012, 07:43 PM
"I helped some friends get cheaper games from my region (Russia). Some paid me via paypal (Steam doesn't allow this) and some via pints/beer/other games."

Yeah, that's an ordinary predictable and expected ban.

Steam has to enforce region restrictions on games. You bypass it repeatedly you get banned.

Sometimes they pay different people based on the region purchased. Sometimes a different product goes to different regions, this might be because of a legal requirement for blood or whatever. Steam is licensed to sell particular products in particular regions for particular prices. Often whole regions are forbidden to buy the product at all.

If steam doesn't enforce the region restriction they are violating their contract with publisher.

Russia has drastically lower prices for many games on steam right now so there is newly a rush of people trying the same thing you did and getting banned. The temptation right now is pretty high. The problem is so bad that many publishers have withdrawn their product from Russia completely, including ID, bethesda, etc..

There's lot of threads on steam forum where they establish that the region restrictions are a serious contractual and legal issue for steam that they have to enforce, and the region restrictions aren't their choice it is a requirement put on them by the publisher contracts.

Here's another Russian banned for this kind of thing, and showing many people are interested and active in these trades.
http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2492274

gimperial
28-01-2012, 08:14 PM
BenWah: I saw a few people post screenshots of bans, but they were given warnings first. That way they knew what they were banned for. Also they were doing it blatantly, just selling games for profit. I was doing it strictly between friends - so as far as Steam knew, I was just gifting (which is absolutely allowed, to any region). In my opinion there are easier ways to enfore this - like taking away the ability to gift or trade, instead of outright banning an account with $1000+ games on it.

But the reason I made this thread is because they haven't told me that that's why I'm banned. I wonder if it's because they don't have any proof - I didn't post about it anywhere (before getting banned, anyway).

Edit to clarify: Steam Support have said before that gifting games to regions where they are unavailable to buy is allowed. But either way, that's not what I was doing.

Nalano
28-01-2012, 09:43 PM
The fact is - there are many screenshots of Steam support saying that gifting from Russia to other regions is A-ok.

Link one, because all I see on the forums are Steam mods repeating "bypassing region restrictions is a bad idea."

gimperial
28-01-2012, 10:10 PM
Link one, because all I see on the forums are Steam mods repeating "bypassing region restrictions is a bad idea."

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=421931

Very bottom of the first post. They don't specifically say bypassing is allowed, but they do say gifting internationally is fine. If you want, contact Steam Support and ask if you're allowed to gift a game to your friend who is in a region where it's unavailable, they'll say yes (I've seen screenshots of that too but can't find them right now).

If they didn't want you to do it, they would jsut disable trading/gifting of games to a region where it's unavailable.

Nalano
28-01-2012, 11:56 PM
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=421931

That's not a screenshot.

Thanks for playing, though.

gimperial
29-01-2012, 12:45 AM
That's not a screenshot.

Thanks for playing, though.

I don't really see why I need to convince you. like I said, if you don't believe me, send Steam Support a ticket and ask. You'll get a reply (within 2 weeks). It's kind of irrelevant though because I'm not claiming innocence, I want Steam to say exactly what they're banning for.

soldant
29-01-2012, 12:53 AM
It's kind of irrelevant though because I'm not claiming innocence, I want Steam to say exactly what they're banning for.
Which I don't think is an unreasonable expectation. If you're going to get banned for something, particularly if you've invested money into it, you should be told why you're being banned. Whether you think he's innocent or not I think we can all at least agree on that he should be told exactly why they've decided to ban the account.

nsane
29-01-2012, 01:25 AM
gimperial, just let me say that if you take this issue to a trial, you should win. If the TOS aren't clear enough, if there is proof that others have done this without being warned/banned... you should win and take lots of money from them.

Valve has NO proof (only your word, and that's... silly) that you sold those games you gifted, "overpriced". And if you did, it's your problem. Valve should have implemented REGION LOCKED trading.

Nalano
29-01-2012, 01:40 AM
Which I don't think is an unreasonable expectation. If you're going to get banned for something, particularly if you've invested money into it, you should be told why you're being banned. Whether you think he's innocent or not I think we can all at least agree on that he should be told exactly why they've decided to ban the account.

But I'm not a judge or a Valve employee, so I can't say anything besides "hey, this guy is committing all manner of perjury; I find this funny."

soldant
29-01-2012, 02:17 AM
But I'm not a judge or a Valve employee, so I can't say anything besides "hey, this guy is committing all manner of perjury; I find this funny."
Oh by all means carry on, I'm just pointing out that it's not an unreasonable request for him to find out exactly why he was banned. I mean Valve isn't a silly little clan server with an admin who bans people "because of teh ghey lel", they have to make decisions and be held accountable for them, which includes detailing what the decision was in the first place.

Nalano
29-01-2012, 02:39 AM
Oh by all means carry on, I'm just pointing out that it's not an unreasonable request for him to find out exactly why he was banned. I mean Valve isn't a silly little clan server with an admin who bans people "because of teh ghey lel", they have to make decisions and be held accountable for them, which includes detailing what the decision was in the first place.

They also work on Valve-time, which is likely forever swamped by endless requests by their millions of customers. I suppose there's something to be said in our modern technocracy where actually supplying legions of live representatives is probably the biggest bottleneck a lot of these companies have.

gimperial
29-01-2012, 08:56 AM
They also work on Valve-time, which is likely forever swamped by endless requests by their millions of customers. I suppose there's something to be said in our modern technocracy where actually supplying legions of live representatives is probably the biggest bottleneck a lot of these companies have.

They've replied twice to me, both times copy pasting their "violated the SSA". The second reply also said the ban wasn't due to excess gifting, and it ended with "we will not be able to help you further with this issue", which means they'll be ignoring any further tickets from me (which they have been). I'm not really complaining about response times, and I certainly don't see how I'm committing perjury considering I've said I did someting that's a bannable offense.

All I want is for Valve to tell me why I'm banned. My guess is they have no proof.

hamster
29-01-2012, 09:45 AM
Email the RPS folk and there'll probably be some attention popping up shortly on the front page.

edit:
this is the kind of bullshit situation we've been talking about. It's bad enough hypothetically.

Kaira-
29-01-2012, 09:48 AM
All I want is for Valve to tell me why I'm banned. My guess is they have no proof.

They don't need proof of any sorts (or reason). Sad but true.

gimperial
29-01-2012, 09:57 AM
Email the RPS folk and there'll probably be some attention popping up shortly on the front page.

edit:
this is the kind of bullshit situation we've been talking about. It's bad enough hypothetically.

I did, unfortunately they ignored it. That's why I posted here

soldant
29-01-2012, 12:13 PM
Email the RPS folk and there'll probably be some attention popping up shortly on the front page.
But that would mean criticising Steam, which isn't allowed apparently. Origin? Yes, crucify them. Steam? No.

DaftPunk
29-01-2012, 01:03 PM
Can i borrow this thread and ask something stupid,i found out that i can gift CS:Source,but i am not sure if this is other copy of Source game or is it my,that i can gift. Anyone know if you can gift your own,already played game ?

soldant
29-01-2012, 01:11 PM
You can't gift games that are in use by your account, so you must have picked up a gift somewhere along the line, or bought an extra copy or something.

Bhazor
29-01-2012, 02:02 PM
Just want to say that it's true that Steam will ban you without explaining why. Happened to me once, it was only after emailing tech support for three days that I got an explanation. It was two weeks after that before they unlocked my account. What I learned is don't complain if you don't recieve a game. They'll accuse you of fraud and threaten to close your account.

Edit: Another example
http://rockpapershotgun.com/rpsforum/topic.php?id=4140

DaftPunk
29-01-2012, 02:46 PM
Yeah i noticed that,i had extra copy of CSS to i gifted it to my friend. Feels good :D

gimperial
29-01-2012, 02:57 PM
Just want to say that it's true that Steam will ban you without explaining why. Happened to me once, it was only after emailing tech support for three days that I got an explanation. It was two weeks after that before they unlocked my account. What I learned is don't complain if you don't recieve a game. They'll accuse you of fraud and threaten to close your account.

Edit: Another example
http://rockpapershotgun.com/rpsforum/topic.php?id=4140

Thanks for the story and link - I guess that was the point of this thread, to highlight how completely useless Steam Support is. You're lucky you got a reason though, I've had 2 replies from them so far, both times copy-pasting a standard reply, with the last one saying they won't be replying about this issue any more. So I'm basically never going to find out why I'm banned.

That's mainly why I contacted RPS - not because I think I've been wronged, but because Steam Support is terrible and deserves an article, because from reading Valve employees' replies on SPUF, they are under the impression that their support is the best in the industry, and that waiting days to weeks is a good thing because that way "the issue is solved". Except like in my case, it isn't, whereas live chat with Origin solved my (two separate) issues twice in 2-3 minutes.

And this is separate from the whole "if you're gonna ban someone's account with $1000+ of games, have the decency to tell them why" issue.

Bhazor
29-01-2012, 03:22 PM
Yeah I was really impressed with EA's customer support.
Though admittedly the problem I had was to do with their DRM software.
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?2155-Alright-whose-arse-should-I-kick

gimperial
29-01-2012, 03:25 PM
t: 425-889-9642
f: 425-827-4843


Guess you've never tried calling? Looks like I was right, Valve doesn't have phone support. That number just tells you to go to www.steampowered.com (http://www.steampowered.com)

John Walker
29-01-2012, 04:29 PM
I did, unfortunately they ignored it. That's why I posted here

Dude, you emailed on Saturday. It's Sunday now. Work starts again tomorrow. We have hardly ignored you.

John Walker
29-01-2012, 04:31 PM
But that would mean criticising Steam, which isn't allowed apparently. Origin? Yes, crucify them. Steam? No.

I'm sick of bullshit like this. We've questioned Valve a bunch, and are frequently critical. That they're less frequently and less egregiously evil than some others explains much of your invented discrepancy.

Rii
29-01-2012, 04:51 PM
That they're less frequently and less egregiously evil than some others explains much of your invented discrepancy.

On the other hand, their power in the industry does lend itself to greater oversight, particularly when their MO seems to be to say nothing about anything to anybody.

Did Valve ever bother to properly inform their users about that security breach of theirs?

Vexing Vision
29-01-2012, 05:27 PM
Did Valve ever bother to properly inform their users about that security breach of theirs?

Well, they've been a lot faster to do so than SOE. At least for me.

Speaking as someone very, very neutral - I dislike DRM, I always disliked Steam, why the hell can't you STILL pick which bloody directory to install your games in, seriously, is this 1980 -... the OP's insistence and self-righteous anger pretty much rings every alarm bell I had installed in my brain during my long, long years of customer service.

I'm surprised that Steam didn't give a reason. I find that really hard to believe, to be honest - their customer service is not exemplary, but it has been pretty accurate for me and uses far less "canned responses" than I would have expected it to.

On the other handm, I know exactly how EA's customer service works. From the inside. It's not their fault, but EA's customer service policies are bad - and that's why I'd rather pick Steam over Origin.

hamster
29-01-2012, 05:34 PM
I'm sick of bullshit like this. We've questioned Valve a bunch, and are frequently critical. That they're less frequently and less egregiously evil than some others explains much of your invented discrepancy.

Well, I don't know about that. There was a lot of talk on the front page about the Origin EULA but it was actually rather misleading because the same term is in Steam as well. There was of course the whole forum-ban thing and a bit of a back and forth with Origin but there are inexplicable bans on Steam as well. Not surprising, considering the number of users on both platforms, that sometimes there's a slip-up here or there. But the ability to just shut down a user account along with all the account's associated games is bullshit and should only be exercised in very specific, stipulated circumstances with clear reasons given.

gimperial
29-01-2012, 05:35 PM
Dude, you emailed on Saturday. It's Sunday now. Work starts again tomorrow. We have hardly ignored you.

Yeah, sorry, I thought it was Friday I emailed you. You did however ignore my email back in December, when they suspended me for 7 days (most of the sale, meaning I couldn't buy cheapcheap games).

I kind of gave up because I'm not really expecting an article or anything like that (considering I'm not exactly "innocent").

Nullkigan
29-01-2012, 05:37 PM
... the OP's insistence and self-righteous anger pretty much rings every alarm bell I had installed in my brain during my long, long years of customer service.

To be fair to the OP he was put up to the "make an immediate fuss" campaign by posters on something awful, where he's generally well liked in the steam thread.

Valve are infamous for their slow response times and it's still the weekend. A little more waiting is necessary.

Not that I think bans without explanations are ever warranted, especially given the amounts of money that can be tied up in a steam account, but peer pressure, loss of a considerable investment and suddenly having to change how free time is spent do go some way to explaining the distressed behaviour you're flagging.

gimperial
29-01-2012, 05:42 PM
Nullkigan: I wasn't put up to anything, and I'm not trying to make a fuss, or even get my account back. I want Steam to tell me why I'm banned, and provide proof (although that's less important). Their last reply was on Thursday, which clearly said they won't be relpying to me anymore ("unfortunately we will not be able to help you with this issue further"). That was their second reply to me, which was identical to the first apart from saying that I didn't get banned for excessive gifting, and saying they won't help me further.

Vexing Vision: twice they said it was for "violating the Steam Subscriber Agreement". I guess that's a reason, but having read it twice I didn't find anything I'd violated.

Bhazor
29-01-2012, 05:43 PM
RPS went a bit gung ho when they read the Origin user agreement. Forgetting it was basically the same as what Valve have been doing for years.

Steam is still one of the most restrictive and tempermental DRM systems out there but still gets a free ride.

Compare and contrast
Steam bans thousands of users from online game and refuse to reverse ban. One post and then declaration "Everyone who was banned gets a free copy of a game [which also uses the broken VAC system]? How can anyone still be upset"
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/07/26/valve-anti-cheat-software-goes-a-bit-glados/

EA suspends a handfull of people in games for cussing in the forums. Leads to six posts and adorable "investigation" implying their refusal to change system is a sign of evil intents. http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/05/ea-origin-bans-update-edition/

Sorry John but a lot of your rages at Origins and GFWL are about what Google and Valve have been doing for a decade (data mining, hardware scanning, signing away rights to sell your personal details). Maybe it's not bias but its certainly short sightedness.

John Walker
29-01-2012, 05:49 PM
Valve's version is optional. Origin's is not. That's the difference between spyware and opting into sharing data.

vinraith
29-01-2012, 05:49 PM
@Bhazor

Completely agree, but your second link is a duplicate of your first. You were thinking of this, I think:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/05/ea-origin-bans-update-edition/

vinraith
29-01-2012, 05:50 PM
Valve's version is optional. Origin's is not. That's the difference between spyware and opting into sharing data.

Wait, now I'm confused, what's optional about Steam for Valve games and Steamworks games?

Bhazor
29-01-2012, 05:53 PM
@Bhazor

Completely agree, but your second link is a duplicate of your first. You were thinking of this, I think:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/05/ea-origin-bans-update-edition/


My bad. Fixed.

Unaco
29-01-2012, 05:54 PM
Wait, now I'm confused, what's optional about Steam for Valve games and Steamworks games?

That's not what John is talking about. He's talking about the data sharing.

asskicker
29-01-2012, 05:55 PM
On the other hand, their power in the industry does lend itself to greater oversight, particularly when their MO seems to be to say nothing about anything to anybody.

Did Valve ever bother to properly inform their users about that security breach of theirs?

They send every single person an e-mail, isn't that enough?

vinraith
29-01-2012, 05:56 PM
That's not what John is talking about. He's talking about the data sharing.

Then that's an odd reply, seeing as that's not what Bhazor was talking about at all.

vinraith
29-01-2012, 05:57 PM
They send every single person an e-mail, isn't that enough?

No, they didn't.

Unaco
29-01-2012, 06:00 PM
Then that's an odd reply, seeing as that's not what Bhazor was talking about at all.

Really? When he says...


RPS went a bit gung ho when they read the Origin user agreement. Forgetting it was basically the same as what Valve have been doing for years.

He wasn't talking about the differences/similarities between the Steam and Origin data mining? And then this...


Sorry John but a lot of your rages at Origins and GFWL are about what Google and Valve have been doing for a decade (data mining, hardware scanning, signing away rights to sell your personal details). Maybe it's not bias but its certainly short sightedness.

He's not talking about the optional nature of Steam's data mining/hardware/software surveys, and Origin's that you agree to when you install? What is Bhazor talking about then?

vinraith
29-01-2012, 06:07 PM
He's not talking about the optional nature of Steam's data mining/hardware/software surveys, and Origin's that you agree to when you install? What is Bhazor talking about then?

Account bans, or didn't you read the provided links?

I suppose i should have said "not central to his argument" rather than "not what he's talking about at all," though.

Unaco
29-01-2012, 06:09 PM
Account bans, or didn't you read the provided links?

That wasn't ALL he was talking about though... Or did you not read all of Bhazor's post?

vinraith
29-01-2012, 06:12 PM
That wasn't ALL he was talking about though... Or did you not read all of Bhazor's post?

I already copped to that, can we stop drawing attention away from the central point now?

Bhazor
29-01-2012, 06:14 PM
I'll settle this.
This is what I meant.
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/08/24/eas-origin-eula-proves-even-more-sinister/

Incredibly vicious article about a stipulation that has been in Steam's privacy policy for years. Basically Valve retains the rights to send out your details to any company they work with.

My central point being that Valve get off lighter than EA for fuck-ups.

vinraith
29-01-2012, 06:19 PM
I'll settle this.
This is what I meant.
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/08/24/eas-origin-eula-proves-even-more-sinister/

Incredibly vicious article about a stipulation that has been in Steam's privacy policy for years. Basically Valve retains the rights to send out your details to any company they work with.

That's the weaker of your two arguments (the account ban one is better) because the opposition will argue all the livelong day about optional surveys and how Steam would never ever actually use that clause because they're so "nice" and not like those other big mean companies at all.

I know the language is the same, but it's still better to focus on what Valve's done rather than what they've reserved the right to do.

Unaco
29-01-2012, 06:21 PM
Incredibly vicious article about a stipulation that has been in Steam's privacy policy for years. Basically Valve retains the rights to send out your details to any company they work with.

My central point being that Valve get off lighter than EA for fuck-ups.

Yes, but you are missing what John said. And I said.

Steam/Valve ASKS your permission before the Hardware survey. It's an opt in, separate to installing Steam. You can use Steam and avoid the survey and having your data sent to them.

EA/Origin does not. When you install, you agree to it. You cannot use Origin without agreeing to this.

Bhazor
29-01-2012, 06:24 PM
Actually what I mean by their privacy policy extends to your personal details including but not limited to e-mail, home address, bank details, phone number and full name. All of which you sign away the rights to when you install steam. Same as Origin.

Again. EA bad. Valve good.

To go back to the OP I can verify that "Steam will ban you and not tell you why" and when it comes to this their customer service is terrible.

For the record and to avoid claims of fanboyism I just want to add all client based download services from Steam to GFWL are welcome to kiss the darkest portion of my pasty white marshmallow ass unless you're selling with at least 75% off.

Gamersgate and GoG 4 life yo.

buemba
29-01-2012, 06:57 PM
I'm surprised that Steam didn't give a reason. I find that really hard to believe, to be honest - their customer service is not exemplary, but it has been pretty accurate for me and uses far less "canned responses" than I would have expected it to.

I thought that was the customary MO of most internet services. When Yahoo banned my e-mail account years ago they didn't give me any reason despite my requests.

My experience with Steam's customer service have been all over the place. Sometimes I get a super helpful representative who goes out of his way to help me and sometimes I get a robot who just regurgitates canned responses that are only tangentially applicable to my situation.

deano2099
29-01-2012, 07:45 PM
I'm sick of bullshit like this. We've questioned Valve a bunch, and are frequently critical. That they're less frequently and less egregiously evil than some others explains much of your invented discrepancy.

Isn't there an issue though that Valve don't respond, whereas EA, etc. do, so they end up looking worse because of how news reporting and so on works?

EA seem to do something bad, make a statement about it making them look worse, then make another statement trying to make them look slightly better, all of which gets reported (here and other places) at every single stage.

Whereas Valve just do something bad, refuse to comment on it, so whoever the victim is has little verifiable evidence that news outlets can even use. So you either get nothing or just a single piece. I have a feeling Valve has refused to comment on stuff you've put to them enough times that that's almost news in itself...

duff
29-01-2012, 07:51 PM
I struggle to have much sympathy with the OP. In the space of a few posts we go from "I've done nothing wrong and had no communication" to "I've gifted 70 games from Russia for payment and Valve contacted me to clarify the situation and I didn't stop my actions". Yeh their communication and clarity is shit but you were playing with fire, did alarm bells not ring when they contacted you asking what the activity on your account entailed?

gimperial
29-01-2012, 08:02 PM
I struggle to have much sympathy with the OP. In the space of a few posts we go from "I've done nothing wrong and had no communication" to "I've gifted 70 games from Russia for payment and Valve contacted me to clarify the situation and I didn't stop my actions". Yeh their communication and clarity is shit but you were playing with fire, did alarm bells not ring when they contacted you asking what the activity on your account entailed?

Wow.

Find me one post where I said I've done nothing wrong. I've been saying the exact opposite throughout this whole thread.

I'm not seeking sympathy. I'm not even hoping to get my account back. In my first post I was clear what communication I'd had with Steam - 2 messages saying I violated the SSA, and nothing else. My second post said what I thought might be the reason for the banning. If you read carefully, most of the 70 games were given out for free. They contacted me in December to ask if it was someone else using my account - I said no. They said sorry, we'll make a note so that you're not suspended in the future. Gifting for money wasn't mentioned at all. You seem to think that I think I am innocent and haven't done anything wrong - I've said so many times in this thread that I know what I did is a bannable offence, but Steam hasn't said that that's why I'm banned, and it could be any other reason. What if they banned me because they suspect I'm using a VPN to pretend I'm in Russia? What if it's some other reason that isn't true? I want them to be clear about the reason.

Nalano
29-01-2012, 08:27 PM
I don't really see why I need to convince you.

Then why are you posting here?

CuriousOrange
29-01-2012, 08:34 PM
I find this bizzarre. You lot really are a bunch of loons. What has Steam and Valve done wrong in this situation? He was sending game in large quantities abroad and being paid for it. He should be banned, and he shouldn't be told why as he, all of us and Valve all know the reason he was banned.

As for the privacy issue. Origin knows all the EA games I have installed on my system without asking me if it could do that. Steam doesn't even know how many Steamworks games I have pirated and am running currently. I don't see how you can compare them on that issue. Origin as far as I can see is spying on my pc. Steam asks if it can check what hardware I am running. To even compare them makes you sound a bit dim and desperate for an argument against Steam.

I guess my point is. No one cares what you think. If you don't like it you should contact Valve directly, or not use it and support it.

Bhazor
29-01-2012, 08:48 PM
I didn't know why I was banned. Neither did the other guy I linked to.
Valve as I have mentioned have crap customer service and won't even tell you why you were banned.

Again. You sign away the rights to your personal details when you sign up to Steam. That isn't optional.

Althea
29-01-2012, 08:54 PM
Origin knows all the EA games I have installed on my system without asking me if it could do that.
I'm still pretty sure that this is due to your Origin account = EA account, so if you've got the game linked to your account installed it'll show up as installed, if not it'll show up in your account.

And no, Origin isn't spying. It's been proven to not be spyware.

gimperial
29-01-2012, 08:57 PM
Most games I gifted was for free. Some people reimbursed me the cost of the game. Some people did it with beer, some with money. But until I made this thread, Valve didn't know that - as far as they were concerned, I was making a lot of Xmas presents, and I doubt they're following my friends spending on beer.

If Valve suspected something it'd be nice to be warned, or at least told why I'm banned after the fact. Otherwise, like I said, what if they banned me thinking I'm using a VPN/proxy, and I'm not. I can't prove my innocence if they don't tell me what they think I'm guilty of.

I'm actually a big fan of Valve and Steam, just not Steam Support.

Nalano
29-01-2012, 08:58 PM
And no, Origin isn't spying. It's been proven to not be spyware.

On what, a technicality?

Fine print isn't disclosure.

Megagun
29-01-2012, 09:01 PM
Most games I gifted was for free. Some people reimbursed me the cost of the game. Some people did it with beer, some with money. But until I made this thread, Valve didn't know that - as far as they were concerned, I was making a lot of Xmas presents, and I doubt they're following my friends spending on beer.
This is the real problem here. Why would they ban someone who gifted a lot of games to other people? As far as they know, OP gifted a lot of games to other people. Until they know that he's asked for money in return, I think they have to give him a warning instead of banning him immediately to let him know that his account is suspected of violating the Subscriber Agreement. What if someone actually gifted loads of games to others because he's generous?

At the very least they should explain to him why exactly he was banned. "Because you violated the SSA" isn't explaining anything, really.

Nalano
29-01-2012, 09:03 PM
This is the real problem here. Why would they ban someone who gifted a lot of games to other people? As far as they know, OP gifted a lot of games to other people. Until they know that he's asked for money in return, I think they have to give him a warning instead of banning him immediately to let him know that his account is suspected of violating the Subscriber Agreement. What if someone actually gifted loads of games to others because he's generous?

Because it doesn't matter if he profited from it. Since when has piracy only been counted if you could prove it was done for a profit?

Bison
29-01-2012, 09:05 PM
So let me get this straight. The OP was banned, supposedly forever, in the last couple of days. And he was suspended, or banned if you will, for 7 days at the end of December. And he has no idea why. Well it would seem that you got a warning last month, but choose to ignore the warning. End of story I'd say.

gimperial
29-01-2012, 09:05 PM
Because it doesn't matter if he profited from it. Since when has piracy only been counted if you could prove it was done for a profit?

Uh, since when is gifting games through Steam for free piracy? Are you trolling? Are you saying that people who gift games through Steam should be banned?


So let me get this straight. The OP was banned, supposedly forever, in the last couple of days. And he was suspended, or banned if you will, for 7 days at the end of December. And he has no idea why. Well it would seem that you got a warning last month, but choose to ignore the warning. End of story I'd say.

Read the thread. There was no warning - quite the opposite, in fact.

Bison
29-01-2012, 09:09 PM
No. You said you were banned in December for 7 days. Most people would take that as a warning. Now you are banned forever and are confused as to why you are banned again. 2 bans in 30 days? Sounds like a pattern to me.

Nalano
29-01-2012, 09:12 PM
Uh, since when is gifting games through Steam for free piracy? Are you trolling? Are you saying that people who gift games through Steam should be banned?

When the game costs fifty fucking cents because you live in fucking Russia, yes. Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

gimperial
29-01-2012, 09:13 PM
No. You said you were banned in December for 7 days. Most people would take that as a warning. Now you are banned forever and are confused as to why you are banned again. 2 bans in 30 days? Sounds like a pattern to me.

Steam said the reason the account was suspended was to make sure it hadn't been hijacked and to make sure it was me using the account. They said they would make a note to make sure I would not be suspended in the future for large amounts of gifting. How is that anything like a warning? If it was then they sure were sending some mixed signals.

"If you are going to make large amount of purchases again, please reply to this ticket so there are no issues with your account in the future." "I will make a note of it on your account."


When the game costs fifty fucking cents because you live in fucking Russia, yes. Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

It was 90 cents in the US. There are games that are cheaper in the US than in the UK/EU, and vice versa for other games. I guess if you ever gift a game like that, you'd be happy to be banned.

duff
29-01-2012, 09:18 PM
Wow.

Find me one post where I said I've done nothing wrong. I've been saying the exact opposite throughout this whole thread.


Your opening post: "They refuse to say why, apart from saying I violated the Steam Subscriber Agreement - which I read, and I haven't."

Your second post: "I'm ok with being banned for gifting friends games in exchange for money, as that's not allowed", and later, "I accept that it's a bannable offense".

Your also complaining about not getting a warning from Steam. When they initially suspended your account and asked what was going on, why did you not take that as a warning to stop? You know why you were banned, you've admitted doing it. I don't think Steam's response was proportional to your actions, but making a thread saying you haven't done anything wrong and they gave you no warning is stretching the truth of the situation.

Edit: And yes you deserve clearer communication, I expect at some point they'll either confirm the banning was for abusing regional pricing or they'll give you a slap on the wrist and activate your account.

gimperial
29-01-2012, 09:22 PM
Your opening post: "They refuse to say why, apart from saying I violated the Steam Subscriber Agreement - which I read, and I haven't."

Your second post: "I'm ok with being banned for gifting friends games in exchange for money, as that's not allowed", and later, "I accept that it's a bannable offense".

Your also complaining about not getting a warning from Steam, but when they initially suspended your account and asked what was going on did you not take that as a warning to stop? You know why you were banned, you've admitted doing it. I don't think Steam's response was proportional to your actions, but making a thread saying you haven't done anything wrong and they gave you no warning is stretching the truth of the situation.

Saying I didn't violate the SSA is not the same as saying I've done nothing wrong - there's no mention of gifting for money being a bannable offense in the SSA - that's what I meant by not violating it. It's on a separate page somewhere on the support website. And yes, you're right, I should have taken it as a warning, but I didn't because they made it sound like it was their mistake by saying they'd make sure I wouldn't be suspended again/making a note. As for me knowing why I'm banned, see what Megagun said above.

Nalano
29-01-2012, 09:24 PM
but making a thread saying you haven't done anything wrong and they gave you no warning is stretching the truth of the situation.

Dude, you're nicer than I am. At this rate, it's practically lying.

And yes, they should be more forthright when it comes to explaining to him exactly how he got banned. But, really, we pretty much know the answer.

Althea
29-01-2012, 09:27 PM
On what, a technicality?

Fine print isn't disclosure.
No. A well-respected German magazine (CT Magazine?) looked into it, did tests and stuff and declared it not to be spyware.

Bison
29-01-2012, 09:28 PM
I think this is were your confusion begins.

gift (ghttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/ibreve.gifft) n. 1. Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.

sale (shttp://img.tfd.com/hm/GIF/amacr.gifl) n. 1. The exchange of goods or services for an amount of money or its equivalent; the act of selling.

duff
29-01-2012, 09:32 PM
It was 90 cents in the US. There are games that are cheaper in the US than in the UK/EU, and vice versa for other games. I guess if you ever gift a game like that, you'd be happy to be banned.

No, but gifting 70 or more games from Russia in such a small space of time looks alot more suspicious than a few genuine gifts. It looks like commercial activity akin to key code selling. Hence the initial suspension and now banning.

gimperial
29-01-2012, 09:36 PM
No, but gifting 70 or more games from Russia in such a small space of time looks alot more suspicious than a few genuine gifts. It looks like commercial activity akin to key code selling. Hence the initial suspension and now banning.

Except according to Steam, the initial suspension was because they thought my account had been stolen. If they had said we suspect that you are selling games (like they did here: http://i.imgur.com/ALt6b.png) then I wouldn't have made this thread. They also specifically said I was not banned for gifting a lot.

duff
29-01-2012, 09:46 PM
gimperial - my guess is the two suspensions are the act of individuals that have not communicated. I expect at some stage the person responsible for the second ban will get in touch with you. They may be lenient when you explain the situation. However, you should have taken the first suspension as a warning your actions were being flagged as suspicious. From what you've said it seems you were aware all along that your actions were going to get you into trouble, or there was a good chance of it.

Also, can I ask, when you contacted RPS did you mention the initial suspension or the selling of games? I ask because you didn't mention it in your opening post, and if RPS had championed your cause they'd look a bit stupid when all of these details you forgot to mention began to emerge.

Kaira-
29-01-2012, 09:47 PM
When the game costs fifty fucking cents because you live in fucking Russia, yes. Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

Let it be known from this day forth, that gifting games for too cheap prices shall be a bannable offence.

Because, you know, there's nothing about that in the Subscriber Agreement.

Except the part where they hold the right to ban you for any reason, or no reason, at any time.

gimperial
29-01-2012, 09:52 PM
gimperial - my guess is the two suspensions are the act of individuals that have not communicated. I expect at some stage the person responsible for the second ban will get in touch with you. They may be lenient when you explain the situation. However, you should have taken the first suspension as a warning your actions were being flagged as suspicious. From what you've said it seems you were aware all along that your actions were going to get you into trouble, or there was a good chance of it.

Also, can I ask, when you contacted RPS did you mention the initial suspension or the selling of games? I ask because you didn't mention it in your opening post, and if RPS had championed your cause they'd look a bit stupid when all of these details you forgot to mention began to emerge.

Yes I did mention everything in the email to RPS, both the first suspension and the selling. The OP was unclear (my fault), but I wasn't trying to mislead, and I expanded in the second post.

As for your other point, the tickets for both my suspensions have been answered by Tech Support Billy, so most likely the same guy.

And yes I'm aware that my actions could get me banned, but the point of emailing RPS and posting here is to get Steam to specifically state what someone did wrong when they ban someone who's invested a lot of money into Steam.

As an update, after saying they won't reply to me anymore, Tech Support Billy just replied saying "we are looking into this issue". So we'll see what happens...

deano2099
29-01-2012, 09:53 PM
Because it doesn't matter if he profited from it. Since when has piracy only been counted if you could prove it was done for a profit?

If Valve don't want people gifting games from Russia to other regions, why don't they just stop it though? I've also yet to see anyone link to this mythical 'you can't gift Steam games for money' clause in the EULA, there instead is a single paragraph on some support forums (not in the EULA) saying you can't 'circumvent regional pricing restrictions' but that's ridiculously woolly. If I'm living in Russia can I gift my mates back home games? If they then gift me a game back am I in the shit as they're 'paying' me? Or if they buy me a drink down the pub next time I see them? And how the hell are Steam meant to be monitoring that.

This guy is being totally straight with us, he's not actually looking for sympathy or his account back. He'd like better communication but that's about all. But his own personal circumstances don't actually matter. He was living in one territory, he gifted stuff to people in another territory. At some point Valve decided he was doing that too much and banned him. Clearly it's okay to do a bit, or they'd just disable cross-territory gifting. So there's a line, the line being when Steam get suspicious that you're doing it for money. In this case, he was doing it for money. He's admitted as much. But like he says, Steam had no way of knowing that. Apparently Origin is spyware, but somehow Valve knew his mates were giving him cash in the pub for games he gifted to them? He could have posted on here and not mentioned that he was trading these games for cash/drinks at all. Then people might have been more sympathetic. And it would have been perfectly valid as this is a gaming forum, and we really shouldn't be interested in personally judging the morals of one guy. We should be interested in Steam. And the information Steam had didn't include those points he's shared here, so they're not relevant.


No. You said you were banned in December for 7 days. Most people would take that as a warning. Now you are banned forever and are confused as to why you are banned again. 2 bans in 30 days? Sounds like a pattern to me.


Your also complaining about not getting a warning from Steam. When they initially suspended your account and asked what was going on, why did you not take that as a warning to stop?

He wasn't banned in December. His account was suspended. It's an entirely different thing. Sometimes, if Valve suspect that someone else has access to your account (perhaps because it's just started logging in from Russia and gifting a bunch of games to other accounts) they'll suspend the account until they can verify it's actually you logging in. This can be inconvenient, but it's actually customer service. It's for your benefit, so your credit/debit card doesn't get wiped out. It's certainly in no way a 'warning'. It's like getting caught for speeding and someone saying "you were burgled a month ago and the police came around to take a statement, did you not take that as a warning you needed to stop speeding?"

Totally different things.

The OP is guilty. Of something. We're not sure what but he seems to be holding his hands up to something. That doesn't mean Steam is in the right.

Prester John
29-01-2012, 09:54 PM
Banning acounts without providing explanation is pretty disturbing. Whatever the OP has or hasn't done is largely irrelevant in many respects. I am hard pressed to think of a situation where a commerical entity can deprive you of legitimately bought goods without well going through the courts.

There is a huge amount of hypocracy in the re-selling aspect. If i go buy some cheap rice in Russia, i can sell it in the UK at a substantially higher price and make some profitssss. Not so for these games apparently. globalisation, except when its commercially inconvenient, or being done a by a little guy. Software Intellectual property or Real Stuff? Copyright or sale of goods acts - whichever suits the big guys at the time it seems.

Anyway if Tesco came and cleaned my larder out after they caught me shoplifting they'd be the ones in court.....

Kaira-
29-01-2012, 09:59 PM
The OP is guilty. Of something. We're not sure what but he seems to be holding his hands up to something. That doesn't mean Steam is in the right.

He doesn't even need to be guilty of anything. All it needs is Valve turning their 'evil' eye on him.

Prester John
29-01-2012, 10:01 PM
The OP has been deprived of his goods without the chance to defend or explain himself. That goes against natural justice whether he is guilty or innocent. Guilty without a "trial".

trjp
29-01-2012, 10:03 PM
Firstly, as others have suggested, I suspect the OP knows why he's been banned and even partly expected it.

Nevertheless, he's entitled to a reason for the ban and if non is forthcoming I'd certainly take action against Valve accordingly.

Problem is, I've no idea what action you can take in Russia - I'm not even sure where you stand on US/EU/UK law specifically and I suspect the situation is complex and would require some digging.

One question would be whether purchases were made from a local (Russian/EU/UK/US) company or from Valve in the US - I know Origin, for example, have a European entity but I've no idea if Steam does??

If so - then only local laws would apply - but if you're buying from a US company then I suspect US consumer laws would apply globally?

gimperial
29-01-2012, 10:05 PM
I edited it into an earlier post but i'll repost: Steam Support just replied after saying they won't be replying to me anymore last Thursday, saying "we are looking into this issue". Not sure what changed their mind, but for now I'm going to wait and see what they say. Maybe I'll get my reason...

Jacques
29-01-2012, 11:14 PM
He doesn't even need to be guilty of anything. All it needs is Valve turning their 'evil' eye on him.

And yet EA are the devil and Valve can do no wrong, except when they do and the story is glossed over because it's Valve.

Cooper
29-01-2012, 11:30 PM
Valve, Origin, GFWL, whoever.

They are online services (not products). In the event of a dispute you have no recourse to consumer protection law. Especially if you are no from the US where they are based.

The service is given under pretty much zero guarantee that it will a) last for everyone nor b) not cease working for you at any given moment, with no prior warning. Nor reason.

Now we assume Valve are all nice. But they are a large corporation. Amongst large corporations people manage different sections (customer support, account suspension etc.) in very different styles. When an account is suspended with no clear reason this is not 'Valve' being arsey. It's some lass or bloke in an office who has the power to make that decision, and has made it. And in order to keep whinging from banned people down, you have no recourse to complaint. Nor would anything come of complaining, as that person is in that position to make those decisions because they are trusted to do so. Because they are trusted to do so, the odd moan from a banned account holder will just be ignored.

Valve in general might be great. But in any large corporation someone will make a decision you disagree with. And they can shaft you just because they felt like it.

So. Backup your Steam, Origin or other games and crack them when your account gets borked.

If you are not backing up your games from Steam - or whoever - then let's just hope you don't become a false negative for the customer support manage involved in banning accounts. Because hoping is all you can do.

IDtenT
29-01-2012, 11:49 PM
When the game costs fifty fucking cents because you live in fucking Russia, yes. Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.
Wait what? I don't even...

buemba
29-01-2012, 11:52 PM
They are online services (not products). In the event of a dispute you have no recourse to consumer protection law. Especially if you are no from the US where they are based.

In Brazil service providers have to abide to consumer law and all disputes must be resolved in the court where the consumer lives, and I imagine it's the same way in most of the World.

soldant
30-01-2012, 12:15 AM
EA/Origin does not. When you install, you agree to it. You cannot use Origin without agreeing to this.
I can't remember the exact wording but I do remember being able to opt-out of having data sent to 3rd parties.


Nevertheless, he's entitled to a reason for the ban and if non is forthcoming I'd certainly take action against Valve accordingly.
This is the key issue. Whether you think he has or hasn't done something wrong, he should be told exactly why his account was banned. This isn't like being banned from a game server, this is an account with licenses he is entitled to own. It highlights a larger issue with online distribution platforms like Steam or Origin; do something to upset the service provider, and they'll take away ALL of your games, apparently without giving you a reason for doing so.

duff
30-01-2012, 12:22 AM
It's like getting caught for speeding and someone saying "you were burgled a month ago and the police came around to take a statement, did you not take that as a warning you needed to stop speeding?"


But in this instance the two actions against his account are almost certainly related to the mass purchasing of gifts from inside Russia and the gifting of them to countries outside. Your account doesn't just get flagged everytime you log in from a different country, unless there are other reasons to make the activity suspicious, in this case the mass gifting of games. As I said earlyier, I don't think Steams actions are proportional or 'right', but in light of all the information I don't think they are as seemingly random and irrational as it was first implied. Although, like you say, the OP was quick to give all the facts I don't think it did his argument much service to make generalised and sweeping claims without giving all the information, because lets face it, many people will just read the first post.


Wait what? I don't even...

Its likened to piracy because the developer/publisher have the legal right to sell the game at whatever price point in whatever region they want. Just like dvds have regional restrictions. I think regional pricing is a good thing as it allows less wealthy areas of the world access to products they wouldn't otherwise have access to. That doesn't mean to say that the product can be profitably sold at that price point universally though, but rather you may aswell have some sales then none in that specific region. In this specific case the games are so much cheaper in Russia that its unlikely the developers would have been able to make the game to be sold only at that price point. Its screwing the developer over, not quite as badly as piracy because atleast they get something. But enough that, if everyone did it, jobs would be lost.

vinraith
30-01-2012, 12:27 AM
So. Backup your Steam, Origin or other games and crack them when your account gets borked.

If you are not backing up your games from Steam - or whoever - then let's just hope you don't become a false negative for the customer support manage involved in banning accounts. Because hoping is all you can do.

This, as always, should be everyone's takeaway here.

deano2099
30-01-2012, 01:17 AM
If you are not backing up your games from Steam - or whoever - then let's just hope you don't become a false negative for the customer support manage involved in banning accounts. Because hoping is all you can do.

Well, hoping or Pirate Bay. Either work. [side note: while I'm careful with my Steam account, I'm not that bothered as I know exactly what I'd do if I got banned from Steam. I'd never buy another PC game again and continue to enjoy playing whatever ones I wanted - I'm not saying that's my right, or it's okay or whatever, but it's exactly what I'd do and I surely can't be the only one].


But in this instance the two actions against his account are almost certainly related to the mass purchasing of gifts from inside Russia and the gifting of them to countries outside. Your account doesn't just get flagged everytime you log in from a different country, unless there are other reasons to make the activity suspicious, in this case the mass gifting of games.
Sure, but it was flagged as suspicious because hackers steal Steam accounts and then use them to buy a ton of games and gift them to other accounts, often for money. His account wasn't suspended because you're not allowed to do that, it was suspended because they thought it might have been hacked. A cop might pull over a car because it matches a report of a stolen vehicle and is behaving suspiciously, but you show your license and registration and they send you on your way.

If anything the first ban strengthens his argument, because he'd been doing this, his account had been flagged, they'd done an ID check, and he was told to carry on without so much as a warning. I'm confused that some people are somehow reading that as a first warning or something. It's the opposite. They saw the activity on the account, checked he was still the owner and gave him the thumbs up. To me that sounds like they're implicitly condoning what he's doing, not warning him off.



Its likened to piracy because the developer/publisher have the legal right to sell the game at whatever price point in whatever region they want.And generally, I have the right to buy games from whatever region I want too. Why does their right trump mine?

Nalano
30-01-2012, 02:38 AM
And generally, I have the right to buy games from whatever region I want too. Why does their right trump mine?

At whatever price point you want?

Really?

Jeez, if only I knew: This. Changes. Everything.

soldant
30-01-2012, 04:56 AM
Its likened to piracy because the developer/publisher have the legal right to sell the game at whatever price point in whatever region they want. Just like dvds have regional restrictions.
Which, interestingly enough, aren't supported by all governments. In Australia and New Zealand for example DVD region locking (i.e. the inability to change the region of a player) has very little legal support or protection. And although I understand your point about "developing markets" it's also blatantly obvious that publishers deliberately screw over some regions which are not developing markets purely to prevent people getting it cheaper than a brick and mortar store. This one hasn't been as conclusively investigated as many of us would like, particularly if there are agreements in place to try to encourage this kind of price-fixing.

The entire issue isn't black and white. Okay, with the developing markets stuff it is, because it's obvious that products sold there aren't going to be at a profit. But to think that all regional restrictions are fine and evading it is similar to piracy is ridiculous.

Tei
30-01-2012, 09:53 AM
Gimperial, can you write in one place the whole story?, here or in SA forum or other place. That way we can link to it in other forums to talk about it.

The data is now distributed in different posts and is hard to follow. The story is not simple, but I think your case is worth defending.

duff
30-01-2012, 10:22 AM
deano - your argument still relies on the fact that Steam initially pulled him up because the activity looked alot like someone illegally selling games. Personally, if I was doing such dodgy stuff and was contacted by steam, I would be concerned that my actions looked like those of an account hacker - regardless of what some customer service bloke says. Yeh their actual communication seems to be sending mixed signals, I'd be interested to see exactly what they said if the OP has any screenshots?

soldant - Indeed the issue is not black and white. But the only absolute solution is a universal flat price for everyone. And with the cost of making games this price would very likely shaft over the majority of the world's population that live in relative poverty to the West. Don't you think it would be quite tragic if the greed of relatively wealthy people led to the removal of access to games for a massive amount of people. I think it's the lesser evil.

Nalano
30-01-2012, 10:26 AM
soldant - Indeed the issue is not black and white. But the only absolute solution is a universal flat price for everyone. And with the cost of making games this price would very likely shaft over the majority of the world's population that live in relative poverty to the West. Don't you think it would be quite tragic if the greed of relatively wealthy people led to the removal of access to games for a massive amount of people. I think it's the lesser evil.

Way to turn a positive - selling games to Russia when nobody else wants to - into a negative.

gimperial
30-01-2012, 10:50 AM
your argument still relies on the fact that Steam initially pulled him up because the activity looked alot like someone illegally selling games. Personally, if I was doing such dodgy stuff and was contacted by steam, I would be concerned that my actions looked like those of an account hacker .... I'd be interested to see exactly what they said if the OP has any screenshots?


Illegally selling games and account hacker are two separate things. They made it sound like the latter. Don't forget they thought a hacker had stolen my account, not that I was a hacker.

http://pastebin.com/wZB8d2cz

I took message #9 to be the key one. I can see what you're saying about the warning, but if they suspected I was doing something wrong, they should have said so.

Hillbert
30-01-2012, 11:05 AM
Way to turn a positive - selling games to Russia when nobody else wants to - into a negative.

I thought his point was that we need region specific pricing otherwise it would screw over countries like Russia as the flat price of games would be aimed towards the western market, which would price out many other countries.

The selling to Russia is positive, but to do this we need region specific pricing.

Kaira-
30-01-2012, 11:08 AM
At whatever price point you want?

Really?

Jeez, if only I knew: This. Changes. Everything.

Let it also be known that you are not allowed to import games from this day forth.

gimperial
30-01-2012, 11:12 AM
Gimperial, can you write in one place the whole story?, here or in SA forum or other place. That way we can link to it in other forums to talk about it.

The data is now distributed in different posts and is hard to follow. The story is not simple, but I think your case is worth defending.


The whole story is in this thread. It's hard to sum it up because I've elaborated on stuff when people asked. Here's a short summary: http://pastebin.com/tRYt8M9D
(http://pastebin.com/tRYt8M9D)
Key point was that they said "we won't help you further", so I'd never have a reason for being banned which is why I made this thread. Since then, for some reason ST Billy has replied saying they're looking into the issue, so I may get a reason. I don't know why they've changed their mind, maybe this thread, or maybe all the people emailing ValveSoftware.

soldant
30-01-2012, 11:13 AM
I thought his point was that we need region specific pricing otherwise it would screw over countries like Russia as the flat price of games would be aimed towards the western market, which would price out many other countries.

The selling to Russia is positive, but to do this we need region specific pricing.
There's nothing wrong with region-specific pricing when it's used to assist developing markets. But publishers have taken this to mean "Protect profitsssssss at all cost!" in other regions when there's no need to. Here in Australia for example many of the major publisher's titles on Steam cost the same as a retail box... and these days it frequently costs more, sometimes by as much as $20. And it's all put in USD, not AUD, so if our dollar weakens we end up paying even more (as was the case with CoD4). Before that plenty of publishers refused to use digital distribution when they realised we were getting games cheaper.

Digital distribution isn't shackled by many of the problems involved with shipping a digital product, which has exposed the problem of region pricing in developed nations. It's perfectly reasonable to note that region pricing is fine for developing nations, but has problems in developed nations. There's no contradiction there, and no reason why they can't stand separate. I never said region pricing should be ditched (hell I even stated it was fine for developing markets) but it does have its problems and isn't a universal blessing.

Hillbert
30-01-2012, 11:48 AM
There's nothing wrong with region-specific pricing when it's used to assist developing markets. But publishers have taken this to mean "Protect profitsssssss at all cost!" in other regions when there's no need to. Here in Australia for example many of the major publisher's titles on Steam cost the same as a retail box... and these days it frequently costs more, sometimes by as much as $20. And it's all put in USD, not AUD, so if our dollar weakens we end up paying even more (as was the case with CoD4). Before that plenty of publishers refused to use digital distribution when they realised we were getting games cheaper.

Very true. I'm not sure there is one easy answer as it swings from the absurdity of pricing increases between places like the USA and Australia to bulk buying and gifting for profit in countries with a much cheaper pricing scheme.

As an aside I wonder what the country purchasing statistics on games with identical prices are? Something like SpaceChem, which has the same price regardless of country. Anyway, drifting off topic...

deano2099
30-01-2012, 12:15 PM
Localise the games for Russia? No-one is going to import a game if it's in Russian?

Fede
30-01-2012, 12:31 PM
Localise the games for Russia? No-one is going to import a game if it's in Russian?
Might not work. You need to pay for the localization, and it's not guaranteed that they will prefer the localized version. For example, a dev (one of the Dragon Commander guys, I think), in a recent RPS interview, said that Eastern Europe and Russia preferred to have the english version, as the localized ones were bad.

I think there were some people importing from Japan in the 90s, even if they didn't know japanese. So localizing will not stop it completely anyways.

gimperial
30-01-2012, 12:35 PM
Might not work. You need to pay for the localization, and it's not guaranteed that they will prefer the localized version. For example, a dev (one of the Dragon Commander guys, I think), in a recent RPS interview, said that Eastern Europe and Russia preferred to have the english version, as the localized ones were bad.

I think there were some people importing from Japan in the 90s, even if they didn't know japanese. So localizing will not stop it completely anyways.

This is true, 99% of localizations are awful, some take about a year to do and noone is going to wait that long to play an AAA game. Most under 30s in Russia have a basic enough grasp of English to be able to follow a game, and prefer the non-localized versions.

A lot of retail versions sold in shops are localized by the way, but I don't think they're selling that well.

A simpler solution for Steam would be to stop trades from Russia to more expensive regions, or put a monthly/weekly limit or whatever.

hamster
30-01-2012, 12:40 PM
Haven't you guys heard of the concept of parallel imports?

bwion
30-01-2012, 05:30 PM
At whatever price point you want?

If someone is willing to sell to me at the price point I want (and have the legal right to do so)? Then, uh, yeah, absolutely. Why not?

Nalano
30-01-2012, 05:58 PM
There's nothing wrong with region-specific pricing when it's used to assist developing markets. But publishers have taken this to mean "Protect profitsssssss at all cost!" in other regions when there's no need to. Here in Australia for example many of the major publisher's titles on Steam cost the same as a retail box... and these days it frequently costs more, sometimes by as much as $20. And it's all put in USD, not AUD, so if our dollar weakens we end up paying even more (as was the case with CoD4). Before that plenty of publishers refused to use digital distribution when they realised we were getting games cheaper.

Isn't that due to some weird arrangement your local retailers have?


If someone is willing to sell to me at the price point I want (and have the legal right to do so)? Then, uh, yeah, absolutely. Why not?

Whoever said they were willing to?

IDtenT
30-01-2012, 06:56 PM
Its likened to piracy because the developer/publisher have the legal right to sell the game at whatever price point in whatever region they want. Just like dvds have regional restrictions. I think regional pricing is a good thing as it allows less wealthy areas of the world access to products they wouldn't otherwise have access to. That doesn't mean to say that the product can be profitably sold at that price point universally though, but rather you may aswell have some sales then none in that specific region. In this specific case the games are so much cheaper in Russia that its unlikely the developers would have been able to make the game to be sold only at that price point. Its screwing the developer over, not quite as badly as piracy because atleast they get something. But enough that, if everyone did it, jobs would be lost.
He was likening gifting games with piracy. It doesn't matter what he bought it for. If you send someone a gift it is 100% not in any way like piracy.

Nalano
30-01-2012, 07:00 PM
It doesn't matter what he bought it for.

Unless it's circumventing region pricing restrictions.

Around and around and around we go...

gimperial
30-01-2012, 07:02 PM
Unless it's circumventing region pricing restrictions.

Around and around and around we go...
They are only restrictions in your mind, neither Steam nor the publishers care if you gift (gift, not sell) games to other regions, which is why there aren't any restrictions on doing so. Steam could very easily implement them if they wanted to.

vvv it's not free of "blood-sucking" publishers, who set the prices and the region-specific pricing

frosty2oo2
30-01-2012, 07:04 PM
imo this thread should be renamed....

if u take the piss, Steam will ban you and not tell you why (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?2848-Steam-will-ban-you-and-not-tell-you-why/page8)!
STEAM its stil a private company & at its heart its free of bloodsucking shareholders who's influence bring gems like region-specific pricing & why this thread wiffs of troll.

It makes me sad this post will bump it =(

Kaira-
30-01-2012, 07:11 PM
STEAM its stil a private company & at its heart its free of bloodsucking shareholders who's influence bring gems like region-specific pricing & why this thread wiffs of troll.

And this should convince me that Steam is capable of no evil? Riiiiiiiiiiight.

hamster
30-01-2012, 07:13 PM
Unless it's circumventing region pricing restrictions.

Wasn't what he was banned for anyway. Pretty durn annoying having one party to the agreement possessing the power to terminate the K...puts the burden on the buyer to respond.

Subatomic
30-01-2012, 07:20 PM
Unless it's circumventing region pricing restrictions.


That assumes regional pricing differences are somehow protected by law, and circumventing them is something wrong or immoral. Guess what: that's generally not the case. As long as its for private use only, you can buy tons of stuff cheaper in other countries. The only thing not allowed without paying the according tariffs is doing it commercially.

The only difference is that this is a lot easier to do with digital products compared to a physical product. Someone in Russia gifting me a few games is not fundamentaly different from a friend visiting the Netherlands and bringing a few pounds of cheaper coffee though. But there's nothing stopping Steam from setting relatively low caps to the number of games giftable from Russia, the same way customs officers have a cap on how much coffee is generally acceptable for "private use".

Nalano
30-01-2012, 07:31 PM
But there's nothing stopping Steam from setting relatively low caps to the number of games giftable from Russia, the same way customs officers have a cap on how much coffee is generally acceptable for "private use".

I, personally, am wondering why they haven't set up an in-system restriction like that, but I suspect it's because they still work off IP, and haven't simply just flagged entire accounts as "Russian."

That being said, none of this is about morality, but about Valve being caught between trying to enter a new market on its terms and reconciling their business decision with publishers and producers who don't want their shit done - after all, look at all the companies, like Bethesda, that still refuse to enter that market. This sort of activity isn't engendering any hope for those reticent publishers, and as such it's a balancing act.

And, of course, it all depends on your definition of "few." 70 from one account is significantly more than few.

gimperial
30-01-2012, 07:36 PM
I, personally, am wondering why they haven't set up an in-system restriction like that, but I suspect it's because they still work off IP, and haven't simply just flagged entire accounts as "Russian."

That being said, none of this is about morality, but about Valve being caught between trying to enter a new market on its terms and reconciling their business decision with publishers and producers who don't want their shit done - after all, look at all the companies, like Bethesda, that still refuse to enter that market. This sort of activity isn't engendering any hope for those reticent publishers, and as such it's a balancing act.



Refuse to enter the market?

Bethesda happily sells their games, even thru DD services: http://direct.cod.ru/goods/18744288/
They're sold at Russian prices, too ($17 for Skyrim) and at similar prices at retail.
Steam is the only place they don't sell games on in Russia, but that may be due to Steam's percentage cut, or any other reason. Possibly because Steam won't sell language-restricted games - the one I linked is Russian-language only.

As for Steam, an easy way for them to restrict by region would be to check what currency it's bought in, and place restrictions on games bought with Rubles. Or geoIP, which they already use for showing prices in the right currency.



And, of course, it all depends on your definition of "few." 70 from one account is significantly more than few.


I'll quote Steam support for you:

"5 Message by Support Tech Billy on Thu, 26th Jan 2012 4:35 pm

Hello *****,

Your account was not disabled for sending a large amount of gifts."

Althea
30-01-2012, 07:59 PM
Steam is the only place they don't sell games on in Russia, but that may be due to Steam's percentage cut, or any other reason. Possibly because Steam won't sell language-restricted games - the one I linked is Russian-language only.
Bethesda have, I think, a distribution deal with 1C, it's probably due to that. Fallout: New Vegas has an official group called Fallout: New Vegas (1C/Cenega), but I don't know how that affects other games.

Nalano
30-01-2012, 08:06 PM
the one I linked is Russian-language only.

Which means it's useless outside of Russia.


I'll quote Steam support for you:

"5 Message by Support Tech Billy on Thu, 26th Jan 2012 4:35 pm

Hello *****,

Your account was not disabled for sending a large amount of gifts."

You'll forgive me if I don't take your word for it.

Hell, for all I know this whole "gifting" debacle is one giant red herring that you've thrown out there so we can debate that and the ban is for something completely different that you've failed to disclose to us because, as it stands, you're currently the only source of information about this whole hullabaloo.

archonsod
30-01-2012, 08:25 PM
As long as its for private use only, you can buy tons of stuff cheaper in other countries. The only thing not allowed without paying the according tariffs is doing it commercially.

Most countries go on value rather than use. Doesn't matter if you intend to use that 300 rolex for personal use, you're still liable for import duty on it if you try and bring it over the border. It's only inter - EU trade that gets exempted, and that's down to the free trade laws.

Of course the other interesting thing about this is if you did purchase something and attempt to bypass customs via getting it labelled as a gift or the like, you're also guilty of fraud and tax evasion to boot.

gimperial
30-01-2012, 08:29 PM
You'll forgive me if I don't take your word for it.

Hell, for all I know this whole "gifting" debacle is one giant red herring that you've thrown out there so we can debate that and the ban is for something completely different that you've failed to disclose to us because, as it stands, you're currently the only source of information about this whole hullabaloo.

I'd offer to show you a screenshot, but I've got a feeling a troll like you still wouldn't believe me.

As for the reason for being banned, I never said that's why I've been banned. I said it's the only thing I could think of that I possibly did wrong. The point of the thread was to find out why I've been banned, because if it IS for something completely different, as you say, then I'd be innocent and should get my account back (while you may not believe me, I at least know what I have and haven't done).

Tei
30-01-2012, 09:17 PM
I hope this get fixed soon.

I understand that is now "on study", so if theres nothing new very evil found, the account will be reopened.

If *I* ever get banned from Steam, I hope steam tell me why. Don't like the idea of getting banned, without having a motive.

duff
30-01-2012, 09:23 PM
He was likening gifting games with piracy. It doesn't matter what he bought it for. If you send someone a gift it is 100% not in any way like piracy.

Except you don't receive money for gifts, thats selling/trading. 70+ gifts in a few weeks, is this guy Father Christmas?

vecordae
30-01-2012, 10:55 PM
From a customer service standpoint, not being given the specifics of why you were banned from a service sucks. From a security standpoint is is absolutely necessary. Telling someone exactly how they violated their service agreement could, given enough time and enough security violations, paint a very accurate picture of how your security triggers work and give potential pirates (I'm not sure there's a word for internet video game smuggling) and the like a really good idea of how to avoid detection. Since a company can get into serious financial or legal trouble for failing to provide a reasonable effort to ensure their service isn't abused in that way, they are usually willing to let customer service take a back seat on this one.

Also, in my personal experience the vast, vast majority of bans are completely legitimate and the people involved had either very obviously violated their service agreement or had a very long history of doing shady, but not obviously illegal things. I will state that my experience with this sort of thing occurred while I worked for a financial institution many years ago rather than a digital distribution company, but talking to my associates in the industry about it leads me to believe that they share a lot of similarities.

soldant
30-01-2012, 11:25 PM
Isn't that due to some weird arrangement your local retailers have?
That guy was posting about it a month or so ago, taking it to a competition watchdog to have it investigated. Thus this "agreement", if it's real, might not even be legal.

Nalano
30-01-2012, 11:42 PM
That guy was posting about it a month or so ago, taking it to a competition watchdog to have it investigated. Thus this "agreement", if it's real, might not even be legal.

'Course not. It'd constitute a cabal. Which is what I argued a month ago. :p

deano2099
31-01-2012, 12:54 AM
But there's nothing stopping Steam from setting relatively low caps to the number of games giftable from Russia, the same way customs officers have a cap on how much coffee is generally acceptable for "private use".

Also, if you openly bring too much coffee through, customs will either charge you import duties or confiscate it. They won't come around your house and take all your coffee away. Which is the other problem here. Even if it is wrong for him to do this (it's not), why ban him? Revoke the gifts and refund him, job sorted.


I, personally, am wondering why they haven't set up an in-system restriction like that, but I suspect it's because they still work off IP, and haven't simply just flagged entire accounts as "Russian."
The location of the account doesn't matter, just the price it was bought at. If it was bought in a Russia region (either legitimately or via a proxy), then disable gifting outside of that region.


And, of course, it all depends on your definition of "few." 70 from one account is significantly more than few.Most of which were low value stuff. I sent about 20 gifts from the summer sale, most of which were Limbo or Ben and Dan or whatnot which were less than 2 each. Actually that's a question I'd ask the OP - what was the actual totalvalue of the games he gifted? Because 70 games isn't a useful figure.

DarthBenedict
31-01-2012, 03:30 AM
Circumventing regional pricing is as bad as piracy which is as bad as stealing candy from babies which is as bad as eating babies.

You deserve to be banned, you baby eating nazi terrorist!

kinglog
31-01-2012, 04:51 AM
Also, if you openly bring too much coffee through, customs will either charge you import duties or confiscate it. They won't come around your house and take all your coffee away. Which is the other problem here. Even if it is wrong for him to do this (it's not), why ban him? Revoke the gifts and refund him, job sorted.

This isn't how Steam works - I have never gone into my own (idiotic) steam ban on RPS but they will happily take away everything without reason or warning. To be fair they explicitly claim that right in the TOS. In my mind it does not make them any less corporate thieves who I no longer trust with any serious (or even $50) sum of money. I see a lot of value in Steam and continue to use it for bargains, but to claim that it is inherently 'good' or would do no wrong without good reason is an uninformed and selfish point of view.

gimperial
31-01-2012, 05:13 AM
Well I have my account back, with this:
http://i.imgur.com/Dw9c0.jpg

Guess it was for the whole trading business.

Nalano
31-01-2012, 05:31 AM
Well I have my account back, with this:
http://i.imgur.com/Dw9c0.jpg

Guess it was for the whole trading business.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3rhQc666Sg

gimperial
31-01-2012, 05:40 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3rhQc666Sg



Gifting for money, presumably. The SS message said "due to fraud, not due to gifting too many games".

soldant
31-01-2012, 05:51 AM
So reading up on the Steam Trading Policy...

Trading items/gifts for money. You cannot add wallet credit or any form of money into the trade window. A common example of this is trading for items/gifts in return for money via PayPal.


Additionally in the Steam Trading and Gifts FAQ:

May I sell gift subscriptions?Steam Gift Purchases can not be sold. Attempting to sell a gift subscription is a violation of the Steam Subscriber Agreement (http://store.steampowered.com/subscriber_agreement/) and may result in your account being permanently disabled.


Finally, under "My Gift Has Been Revoked:"

Warning:
Never accept a gift from someone you do not know.
Additionally, do not pay someone to gift a game to you.


So basically the RPS Data Smuggling scheme where Steam is used is against the rules, and you should all be suspended and ashamed of yourselves.

Nalano
31-01-2012, 05:57 AM
Gifting for money, presumably. The SS message said "due to fraud, not due to gifting too many games".

I especially like the part where you get trading privileges again in ten years, 6:18pm.


So basically the RPS Data Smuggling scheme where Steam is used is against the rules, and you should all be suspended and ashamed of yourselves.

Once smuggled a game to an Aussie friend that way - an uncensored version of L4D2.

BenWah
31-01-2012, 06:22 AM
wow 10 years

rsherhod
31-01-2012, 06:23 AM
It is interesting that Valve consider 10 years to be 'permanent'.
All in all, this outcome is far more reasonable. It stops you doing the naughty, but doesn't amount to coming into your house an taking away all your toys. They should have just done this in the first place.

soldant
31-01-2012, 06:37 AM
Once smuggled a game to an Aussie friend that way - an uncensored version of L4D2.
STOP RIGHT THERE, CRIMINAL SCUM. Nobody breaks the law on my watch! I'm confiscating your stolen goods. Now pay your fine or it's off to jail!


Or to be blatantly serious, I used a glitch in the store at the time to get the uncensored version, because the censored version was bullshit.

Nalano
31-01-2012, 06:53 AM
STOP RIGHT THERE, CRIMINAL SCUM.

We've tallied your heinous deeds, and while there wasn't a listing for festooning the local market with a festive decoration comprised primarily of the leading citizens' intestines, we've arrived at a ballpark figure to sate the grieving families - at least, those who remain - and if you'll pay us 2,400 gold from the coffers you've piled from robbing the region blind and hand us your current supply of skooma, we won't have to send you to the cell you painted red with the gaoler's blood last week.


Or to be blatantly serious, I used a glitch in the store at the time to get the uncensored version, because the censored version was bullshit.

How the hell do you have a zombie game without blood and guts?

Yachmenev
31-01-2012, 08:33 AM
So, banned for sending gifts, but has not told us how many gifts that was sent? Have I got it right so far?

Nalano
31-01-2012, 08:36 AM
So, banned for sending gifts, but has not told us how many gifts that was sent? Have I got it right so far?


As for numbers, I'd estimate I gifted about 70 games.

tencharacters

ColOfNature
31-01-2012, 08:53 AM
2022? That's hardly any time at all in Valve-years.

Nalano
31-01-2012, 08:55 AM
2022? That's hardly any time at all in Valve-years.

He'll be just in time to start trading copies of Half Life 3.

deano2099
31-01-2012, 09:45 AM
So basically the RPS Data Smuggling scheme where Steam is used is against the rules, and you should all be suspended and ashamed of yourselves.

I am preparing for my ban for splitting a Portal 2 double-pack with a mate.

hamster
31-01-2012, 10:07 AM
So exactly how would Steam know that the gifts are being traded for money via paypal? Notice I said how "would" and not how "did."

Drake Sigar
31-01-2012, 10:27 AM
Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but if there's an issue with Steam's service which some people knowingly or unknowingly exploit, surely it's more productive for Valve to plug the gap in that service, rather than waste time punishing the people for doing something the service allows them to do. It's like banning people from your online game because they took advantage of a bug to kit themselves out (yes I'm aware Old Republic did exactly that). They're just a symptom of the real problem.

soldant
31-01-2012, 10:31 AM
How the hell do you have a zombie game without blood and guts?
The worst part about it was that Infected weren't even lit on fire. I played the censored demo and was batshit confused by Infected wandering around like they were swatting at invisible angry bees. Took me a bit to realise they were on fire.

Then again Valve just took the German version and pushed it through, which was even less than we got for L4D (which was uncensored).

Kaira-
31-01-2012, 11:48 AM
May I sell gift subscriptions?Steam Gift Purchases can not be sold. Attempting to sell a gift subscription is a violation of the Steam Subscriber Agreement (http://store.steampowered.com/subscriber_agreement/)
and may result in your account being permanently disabled.
[/QUOTE]

So, I guess it'd better never participate in those "let's buy a 4-pack" thingies ever again.

duff
31-01-2012, 11:56 AM
I think gifting a European an uncensored version of a game, or splitting a four pack deal, is a bit less dubious and damaging to the developer than shifting 70+ games purchased at Russian prices for personal gain. Tin foil hats can go back in the cupboard.

John Walker
31-01-2012, 12:28 PM
I'm glad to hear you have your account back.

For your information, their decision to look into the case happened after I emailed them. Could be a coincidence.

Stellar Duck
31-01-2012, 12:31 PM
I think gifting a European an uncensored version of a game, or splitting a four pack deal, is a bit less dubious and damaging to the developer than shifting 70+ games purchased at Russian prices for personal gain. Tin foil hats can go back in the cupboard.

Doesn't that depends on the price? One 50€ game or fifty 1€ games. I've done both. I've gifted a few full price game, but I've also bought a shit load of cheap games on sales to hand out to people. I think I've given away around 30 copies of Deus Ex GOTY at this point, along with a bunch of assorted Valve games I got cheap.

gimperial
31-01-2012, 12:45 PM
I'm glad to hear you have your account back.

For your information, their decision to look into the case happened after I emailed them. Could be a coincidence.

Thanks John. I'm sure it had something to do with it, so I really appreciate it.




vvv Exactly, that's all I set out to do with this thread - get Valve to state ban reasons clearly. Not to convince anyone of my innocence etc, as a few people have claimed.

Kelron
31-01-2012, 12:51 PM
Regardless of what you did or did not do, Steam really need to be clear about this kind of thing. I don't understand why Valve and other companies maintain a policy of silence in cases like this. Why can't they at least have the courtesy to tell people why they've been banned, which may have the added effect of dissuading other people from doing the same thing.

soldant
31-01-2012, 12:58 PM
Tin foil hats can go back in the cupboard.
Did you read the policies I quoted? It doesn't say anything about volume of gifts or circumstances. It specifically and unambiguously says "Attempting to sell a gift [...] is a violation of [the agreement] and may result in your account being permanently disabled." I can pull out scary statements just as well as any Origin EULA reader, which is mostly what I wanted to highlight here - terms and conditions and statements are often subjectively assessed and enforced, but the potential for their enforcement to occur under the stricter terms is always there. If we're going to hold up every other digital distributor, it's worth doing the same to Steam, particularly when this instance demonstrates that Valve will happily revoke your entire account including legitimately purchased games on a trading scheme. Fortunately they reversed the decision and banned them from trading, which is what should have happened in the first place. Steam Support didn't provide clear reasoning until today though, possibly after attracting RPS attention, thus it's a suspicious retraction and might suggest they intended suspension without providing a reason, which is concerning.

Valve would subjectively assess each incident if it was brought to their attention, but apparently they can revoke gifts or ban accounts if you're trading games for cash, whether it's to circumvent region censoring, regional pricing, or some other deal. Apparently they have the power to do so (though I couldn't find the relevant statement in the Subscriber Agreement, though I didn't look particularly hard to be honest), and if they decide that circumventing regional censorship, or selling off the other 3 licenses in your 4 pack is worth suspension, they can do it. Tin foil hats set to SHINY!

deano2099
31-01-2012, 01:25 PM
So exactly how would Steam know that the gifts are being traded for money via paypal? Notice I said how "would" and not how "did."

They wouldn't, unless they were monitoring forums like this and the data smuggling thread and stuff. Which raises interesting privacy concerns.

John, any chance of trying to a statement out of them on this whole gifting for money thing? It makes sense on its own, but seems totally at odds with the whole four-pack promotion thing they do.

Fede
31-01-2012, 01:47 PM
John, any chance of trying to a statement out of them on this whole gifting for money thing? It makes sense on its own, but seems totally at odds with the whole four-pack promotion thing they do.

Yes, please. It would be interesting to know. I haven't bought any of those packs, but Frozen Synapse's buy-1-get-2 springs to mind as another thing that might be at odds with this.

soldant
31-01-2012, 01:50 PM
John, any chance of trying to a statement out of them on this whole gifting for money thing? It makes sense on its own, but seems totally at odds with the whole four-pack promotion thing they do.
It doesn't, really. You can gift the other game to your friends. They're just not supposed to pay you for them, apparently. "Gift" implies no payment.

That said I think you're safe with the whole 4 pack thing. It's clear that the intention is to terminate accounts engaging in region pricing circumvention, presumably only those involved on a large scale, but the wording suggests they have the authority to take it much further if they want, and arguably circumventing censorship would be one of the bigger targets to hit.

It's strange in that it's rather explicit - do not sell gifts. I'm not saying that Steam is super sinister and out to get us, I'm just pulling out the terminology (much like people do for Origin or other services) and interpreting it in the strictest way possible. The statements in practice seem to be a lot more relaxed and far less sinister... but the capacity still exists for them to take the stricter interpretation apparently.

deano2099
31-01-2012, 02:42 PM
I think gifting a European an uncensored version of a game, or splitting a four pack deal, is a bit less dubious and damaging to the developer than shifting 70+ games purchased at Russian prices for personal gain. Tin foil hats can go back in the cupboard.

The problem is, people will defend Steam using arguments like this (which to be fair, are totally valid). But then when the inevitable false positive happens, and some guy who was legitimately sharing four-packs with his mates but bought a few too many and got banned, the same people will be the ones that right away turn around and say "well you were breaking the T&Cs, you deserve it"

Kaira-
31-01-2012, 02:46 PM
That said I think you're safe with the whole 4 pack thing. It's clear that the intention is to terminate accounts engaging in region pricing circumvention, presumably only those involved on a large scale, but the wording suggests they have the authority to take it much further if they want, and arguably circumventing censorship would be one of the bigger targets to hit.

Intention is interesting word, since it's only speculation. The clause said pretty clearly that any sold subscription can lead to ban. If anything, I'd say the intention might as well be to ban anyone who participates in "let's buy 4-pack together" thingies, and the clause supports this intention more than large scale region pricing circumvention.

soldant
31-01-2012, 02:56 PM
The problem is, people will defend Steam using arguments like this
Which is why I take such delight in highlighting this issue. It just goes to prove that even the most beloved services still have scary terms which might result in absolutely nothing to worry about... but people go apeshit talking about "the potential for things to happen" or assuming that because something is stated it always will be enforced/performed, thus I think it's worthy of attention. Again I doubt that there's an impending witchhunt that will sweep away accounts like a plague, but I doubt that EA were undertaking significant data mining activities and selling data to the RIAA. That didn't stop the rage and speculation, thus I expect rage and speculation here as well!

(Yes, I am stirring up trouble. Call it an art project.)


Intention is interesting word, since it's only speculation.
You are of course 100% correct and by the rather specific wording we can suggest that they could ban any sort of gift-for-cash setups... but look at it in practice, I mean these kinds of things with the 4-packs are discussed on the Steam forums yet aren't acted upon. I think it's reasonably safe to assume that it's only actually enforced when there's profiteering going on...

...but with that said, the possibility of a hardline stance exists, and that's reason enough to be suspicious.

John Walker
31-01-2012, 03:22 PM
Getting a statement out of Valve is incredibly hard work. If they respond to my first questions, I'll follow up about gifting.

duff
31-01-2012, 03:52 PM
The problem is, people will defend Steam using arguments like this (which to be fair, are totally valid). But then when the inevitable false positive happens, and some guy who was legitimately sharing four-packs with his mates but bought a few too many and got banned, the same people will be the ones that right away turn around and say "well you were breaking the T&Cs, you deserve it"

I'm not defending Steam at all. I've said elsewhere that their communication is awful and the initial perma-ban was out of all proportion to the offence. We should absolutely be trying to get Steam to improve their communication over instances like this.

But I do not think that buying games in bulk from developing countries and profiting from their sale is right. Do I think gimperial should be perma-banne for this? Probably not, either way my opinion on that doesn't matter. I still think it shouldn't be done in the first place.

That is clearly what the EULA is legislating against. Steam are not gonna start banning everyone who splits a four pack or gifts their German friend an uncensored copy of Saints Row, like some have concluded. Yes the EULA does need to be clearer on this issue. It is when trading becomes coordinated, large scale and commercial that action will be taken. And in my view, rightly so.

deano2099
31-01-2012, 04:12 PM
I'm not defending Steam at all. I've said elsewhere that their communication is awful and the initial perma-ban was out of all proportion to the offence. We should absolutely be trying to get Steam to improve their communication over instances like this.

But I do not think that buying games in bulk from developing countries and profiting from their sale is right. Do I think gimperial should be perma-banne for this? Probably not, either way my opinion on that doesn't matter. I still think it shouldn't be done in the first place.

That is clearly what the EULA is legislating against. Steam are not gonna start banning everyone who splits a four pack or gifts their German friend an uncensored copy of Saints Row, like some have concluded. Yes the EULA does need to be clearer on this issue. It is when trading becomes coordinated, large scale and commercial that action will be taken. And in my view, rightly so.

Which is fair enough. The problem is, history is full of places where agreements are made worded in one way but 'intending' something else and almost inevitably they end up being used for what they were worded for if it benefits the people on the other end.

gimperial
31-01-2012, 04:16 PM
words.

I agree with you in general, apart from the profiting. I was gifting games for free (no profit), and even when it wasnt for free it was either at a loss (for me), or breaking even.

Unless you mean that people having the chance to buy cheaper games were profiting.

Either way, don't confuse me with this guy: http://cheapsteam.cssdiz.ru/

duff
31-01-2012, 04:45 PM
Which is fair enough. The problem is, history is full of places where agreements are made worded in one way but 'intending' something else and almost inevitably they end up being used for what they were worded for if it benefits the people on the other end.

Yeh exactly, and that needs to be cleared up. As does their customer services, which with the amount of growth they have year on year, you'd think they could afford to have the best service in digital distribution.

gimperial - obviously your actions were not close to being on the level of that guy. I still don't agree with what you did though. Getting some mates a few gifts while your out there is one thing, but running up 70+ transactions seems like you took things to quite an extreme and things became organised.

TailSwallower
31-01-2012, 06:36 PM
They wouldn't, unless they were monitoring forums like this and the data smuggling thread and stuff. Which raises interesting privacy concerns.

I think it's more likely that they would be keeping an eye out for pairs of email address that are gifting and also exchanging money with Paypal at the same time - but that would require Steam to have access to Paypal's systems, which I assume would never happen.

So whilst I still think it's more likely than Valve checking potentially hundreds of PC gaming forums and cross-checking posters' names with Steam names, etc, etc, etc, I don't think it's likely at all.

Perhaps it's something really simple, like gimperial and his friends swapping Steam messages along the lines of "LOL tanx 4 teh cheep russhian gmes brobraham lincoln! Check yo paypaul 4 the fundz." Not sure if Steam can and do read messages sent within their own system, but that seems like the most obvious answer.

Unaco
31-01-2012, 06:59 PM
So whilst I still think it's more likely than Valve checking potentially hundreds of PC gaming forums and cross-checking posters' names with Steam names, etc, etc, etc, I don't think it's likely at all.

It wouldn't be that difficult for someone at Steam/Valve, when the account is flagged for a high volume of trades, to Google 'Gimperial Steam' and come across the SA thread(s) (http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3433246&userid=104191) where he/she was freely offering to buy at the Russian prices for people, and then "gift" them the game ("Russian prices are sometimes about 50% of US/UK prices, so if you guys see any with a huge difference like that let me know and I'll see what I can do"). And then see, it's not 'gifting', it's offering a service to circumvent the regional pricing.

Nalano
31-01-2012, 07:38 PM
It wouldn't be that difficult for someone at Steam/Valve, when the account is flagged for a high volume of trades, to Google 'Gimperial Steam' and come across the SA thread(s) (http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3433246&userid=104191) where he/she was freely offering to buy at the Russian prices for people, and then "gift" them the game ("Russian prices are sometimes about 50% of US/UK prices, so if you guys see any with a huge difference like that let me know and I'll see what I can do"). And then see, it's not 'gifting', it's offering a service to circumvent the regional pricing.

Which reminds me:


They wouldn't, unless they were monitoring forums like this and the data smuggling thread and stuff. Which raises interesting privacy concerns.

Public fora are public, no? God knows I don't want potential employers to find wacky shit on my Facebook account, but the smart part of me says, "then don't put wacky shit on your Facebook account."

Megagun
31-01-2012, 07:45 PM
They could also just hook an automated search engine to the Steam chat, which raises an alert every time someone mentions "paypal" on Steam Chat.

archonsod
31-01-2012, 07:53 PM
I think it's reasonably safe to assume that it's only actually enforced when there's profiteering going on...

Probably not to be honest. Gifting a few games a month is likely perfectly reasonable, and I doubt Valve have the ability to tell whether you accepted cash for them or not. Having 70+ games go from one account in the space of around a month on the other hand is going to get shut down even if they weren't selling games - it'll look a lot like money laundering, and from Valve's perspective it's better to drop a potentially innocent customer than have the Feds shut Steam down while they investigate.


Which is fair enough. The problem is, history is full of places where agreements are made worded in one way but 'intending' something else and almost inevitably they end up being used for what they were worded for if it benefits the people on the other end.
Yes. Welcome to reality where the point of a business is to make money, not to make people feel warm and fuzzy inside. Unless doing so brings in more money. Protip - if you're signing a contract which doesn't favour yourself, you're doing it wrong.

Nalano
31-01-2012, 08:12 PM
I think it's more likely that they would be keeping an eye out for pairs of email address that are gifting and also exchanging money with Paypal at the same time - but that would require Steam to have access to Paypal's systems, which I assume would never happen.

So whilst I still think it's more likely than Valve checking potentially hundreds of PC gaming forums and cross-checking posters' names with Steam names, etc, etc, etc, I don't think it's likely at all.

Perhaps it's something really simple, like gimperial and his friends swapping Steam messages along the lines of "LOL tanx 4 teh cheep russhian gmes brobraham lincoln! Check yo paypaul 4 the fundz." Not sure if Steam can and do read messages sent within their own system, but that seems like the most obvious answer.

Frankly, I don't think they went through the effort at all. I think his account got flagged after close of business on Friday, and was pre-emptively shut down until the matter could be handled by staff on Monday, who simply banned his ability to trade on the basis of volume more than anything else.

ColOfNature
31-01-2012, 08:24 PM
But... but... conspiracies! Spying! Victimisation! Your way lacks narrative. Booooring!

Nalano
31-01-2012, 08:31 PM
But... but... conspiracies! Spying! Victimisation! Your way lacks narrative. Booooring!

Well, it doesn't fit into the whole "Steam vs Origin" narrative because Steam's largely a known entity and Origin... isn't. We don't expect every little debacle with Steam to turn into a full-blown scandal because we'd have been deluged with similar such over the last decade.

gimperial
31-01-2012, 08:32 PM
Frankly, I don't think they went through the effort at all. I think his account got flagged after close of business on Friday, and was pre-emptively shut down until the matter could be handled by staff on Monday, who simply banned his ability to trade on the basis of volume more than anything else.

It was suspended daytime Weds, I emailed asking what'sup. They replied in 3 hours (wow, fast!) saying "you're banned, account won't be reactivated". I emailed back Weds 'noon saying why was I banned, was it all the gifting? They replied Thursday daytime saying no, and copy pasted the first message (banned, won't be reactivated).

Then there was silence until Sunday daytime, at which point they said they're looking into it (after RPS emailed them), and I was unbanned Monday daytime. Looks like contrary to popular belief, Steam Support do work on weekends.



vvv If it was simply flagged, why would they reply twice saying "your account is banned and will not be reactivated" & "we will not help you further with this issue"?

ColOfNature
31-01-2012, 08:41 PM
Well, it doesn't fit into the whole "Steam vs Origin" narrative because Steam's largely a known entity and Origin... isn't. We don't expect every little debacle with Steam to turn into a full-blown scandal because we'd have been deluged with similar such over the last decade.

I'm not even convinced there is a "Steam vs Origin" narrative, except in the fevered dreams of the EA marketroids. Origin, and any other digital distribution service, is destined to remain an also-ran in that particular race for the forseeable future, simply because Steam is already thouroughly embedded in the market.
There are a bunch of people who, reasonably or otherwise, have an axe to grind with Steam and are always ready to jump on any perceived fault. In the same way as there are a bunch who want to portray EA as some kind of institutionally evil megacorp. I don't buy into either, and while I'm more inclined to give Valve the benefit of the doubt than I am EA for historic reasons, they can be kind of gnomic in their dealings with the public.
In this case I reckon you've nailed it: someone has spotted this guy's behaviour and flagged it for further action, and it's simply unfortunate that the weekend intervened before it was resolved.

Nalano
31-01-2012, 08:50 PM
It was suspended daytime Weds, I emailed asking what'sup. They replied in 3 hours (wow, fast!) saying "you're banned, account won't be reactivated". I emailed back Weds 'noon saying why was I banned, was it all the gifting? They replied Thursday daytime saying no, and copy pasted the first message (banned, won't be reactivated).

Flagged, low level flunky. Another low level flunky reading the note written by the first because you asked.


Then there was silence until Sunday daytime, at which point they said they're looking into it (after RPS emailed them), and I was unbanned Monday daytime.

Running through the queue. Low level flunky responding to you again. High level flunky making final decision.


Looks like contrary to popular belief, Steam Support do work on weekends.

Is this regular tech support or is this account services? Because having a guy on call doesn't mean he's able to do anything.

I'm not saying, definitively, that that's the way it went down. I'm saying that your narrative of events is simply an interpretation.

gimperial
31-01-2012, 08:53 PM
Well, I'm not sure if they share Support accounts (I don't think they do), but it was the same guy responding to the ticket each time (Billy). He is either senior tech support, or in charge of accounts (back in December another guy replied first then passed me onto him).

And you're probably right, it's most likely just urgent stuff/account stuff that's dealt with on the weekends.

Nalano
31-01-2012, 09:07 PM
Well, I'm not sure if they share Support accounts (I don't think they do), but it was the same guy responding to the ticket each time (Billy). He is either senior tech support, or in charge of accounts (back in December another guy replied first then passed me onto him).

Did anybody state what his job title was or are you just assuming because he dealt with you?

And the people with authority to make final decisions on important stuff tend not to work weekends.

gimperial
31-01-2012, 09:13 PM
Did anybody state what his job title was or are you just assuming because he dealt with you?

And the people with authority to make final decisions on important stuff tend not to work weekends.

I never claimed to have insider knowledge, I'm going by the fact that when dealing with account issues, they're passed onto him. I have no idea what his job title is, but I'd hope/imagine that people dealing with bans are either senior, or dedicated to dealing with these issues.

You're speculating even more than I am - if it was as you say, then why didn't they say "we are looking into this issue" from the start? It's what they did back in December. But this time they said you're banned and your account won't be reactivated from the very start. They only said "we are looking into this issue" after being contacted by RPS.

Either way, neither of us know for sure what's going on. I was just correcting the whole "banned on Friday, unbanned on Monday" stuff, which wasn't true.

soldant
31-01-2012, 11:03 PM
Probably not to be honest. Gifting a few games a month is likely perfectly reasonable, and I doubt Valve have the ability to tell whether you accepted cash for them or not. Having 70+ games go from one account in the space of around a month on the other hand is going to get shut down even if they weren't selling games - it'll look a lot like money laundering, and from Valve's perspective it's better to drop a potentially innocent customer than have the Feds shut Steam down while they investigate.
Yeah what I meant to suggest was that Valve are only likely to bother to enforce the rules if there isn't significant gifting occurring which is indicative of region pricing circumvention. The people splitting a 4-pack with their friends probably haven't got anything to worry about.


In this case I reckon you've nailed it: someone has spotted this guy's behaviour and flagged it for further action, and it's simply unfortunate that the weekend intervened before it was resolved.
But with that said:


It was suspended daytime Weds, I emailed asking what'sup. They replied in 3 hours (wow, fast!) saying "you're banned, account won't be reactivated". I emailed back Weds 'noon saying why was I banned, was it all the gifting? They replied Thursday daytime saying no, and copy pasted the first message (banned, won't be reactivated).

Clearly Steam support was active around the time of the ban and did enter into a discussion with gimperial. They did not provide reasons for the ban at all, although it is now very clear that it was in fact the gifting. Which is fine, nobody says gimperial didn't get what he deserved. But Valve failed to disclose the reason for the ban and went with a full account ban, and given that they entered into a discussion (albeit a pretty poor one) about the ban I don't think it's reasonable to assume they were on a weekend break or on holidays or something. Suddenly the banning is reversed and it's made clear that the account ban was for the trading issue.

More than that though, if you suspect someone has done something wrong but haven't yet decided on a punishment, why the hell do you ban the entire account outright, refuse to disclose the reason or even look at it, and then later on decide to change your mind? Surely if they'd only ever intended to suspend trading they would have just done that in the first place? After all the entire issue was the excessive trading, to stop the activity it seems awful easy to just stop the trade interface, investigate, and then apply a full ban if warranted.

Jacques
31-01-2012, 11:04 PM
Did anybody state what his job title was or are you just assuming because he dealt with you?

And the people with authority to make final decisions on important stuff tend not to work weekends.

Bullshit, if you're running a company that includes customer service, you make sure someone is there at all times that can handle the situation.

Fede
31-01-2012, 11:42 PM
Getting a statement out of Valve is incredibly hard work. If they respond to my first questions, I'll follow up about gifting.
Thanks.

I guess that not answering might be better PR sometimes. :)

deano2099
01-02-2012, 02:09 AM
I guess that not answering might be better PR sometimes. :)

It is, and it's basically Valve's MO. It's mirrored in this entire debacle over how the refused to talk to the guy or even tell him why he was banned. It muddies the waters and makes it impossible for news sites to verify anything. If they'd outright said "you've been banned for excessive trading" then that's a news story someone like RPS can run. They can get a screenshot, verify it actually happened with Valve, then question if that's the sort of thing we should accept.

Whereas if you are Valve, and you just refuse to say anything, then it makes it hard for sites like this to do their job. Because for all they know, the guy could just be making it up. Valve don't have to lie, or deny they did it, because they just ignore the press. At least when EA were being twats over the whole Origin and forum ban thing, they were trying to communicate. They issued statements that made no sense sure, but that would have been less of a story had they just kept quiet.

I really think it's time someone called Steam out on this whole culture of silence thing. And I say 'Steam' because Valve deal wonderfully with the press when they have a game to launch.

deano2099
01-02-2012, 02:12 AM
Public fora are public, no? God knows I don't want potential employers to find wacky shit on my Facebook account, but the smart part of me says, "then don't put wacky shit on your Facebook account."

I've never understood this complaint about Facebook. Facebook isn't a public forum either. Who the hell is adding their potential employees as Facebook friends. That's one tight-knit industry. I put plenty of wacky shit on my Facebook account, but I'll never let anyone that isn't an actual friend see it.

As to the wider thing with Steam: yes. But given how tightly wound people are about the fact that Origin might tell EA what EA games you have installed, I figured it'd be something that'd concern people if they were.

soldant
01-02-2012, 03:52 AM
Whereas if you are Valve, and you just refuse to say anything, then it makes it hard for sites like this to do their job. Because for all they know, the guy could just be making it up. Valve don't have to lie, or deny they did it, because they just ignore the press. At least when EA were being twats over the whole Origin and forum ban thing, they were trying to communicate. They issued statements that made no sense sure, but that would have been less of a story had they just kept quiet.
Which is my biggest problem with the whole thing. Whether the guy did something wrong or not is largely irrelevant to that point; the point is that Valve refused to enter into a discussion with the user as to why they were banned. Their answer was "You're banned, too bad" along with some ambiguous statement that it wasn't due to gifting (when apparently it is). "Say nothing and ignore it" might work for Episode 3 or game releases, but not for customer service issues. If the guy gets banned and they have a valid reason which is clearly stated that's cool. But that isn't what happened here. And then there's the reversal of the ban without communicating the reason why. Valve's silence towards the user is unacceptable when you're taking away their entire library of legitimately-purchased games without giving them a reason for doing so. Ignoring the press? Harder to call.


And I say 'Steam' because Valve deal wonderfully with the press when they have a game to launch.
Actually Valve's dealings with the press only really picked up around the time of The Orange Box. During the HL2 development period Valve were abysmal at it. Hell they basically lied to everybody (press and public) saying that HL2 would make its September 2003 release date despite it being blatantly obvious it had no hope in hell of making it. Most of Valve's press discussions today are comical and more about community fun. Which is totally fine, and to be fair they have gotten much better at it (and it's far better than EA's stuffy business speak), but their MO is still "Say nothing and make jokes" for the most part. Except there's no way they can do that here.

Nalano
01-02-2012, 04:42 AM
Bullshit, if you're running a company that includes customer service, you make sure someone is there at all times that can handle the situation.

Having some guy staffing the help desk isn't the same thing as having a guy who can make decisions to cut off accounts worth thousands of dollars.


I've never understood this complaint about Facebook. Facebook isn't a public forum either. Who the hell is adding their potential employees as Facebook friends. That's one tight-knit industry. I put plenty of wacky shit on my Facebook account, but I'll never let anyone that isn't an actual friend see it.

When I joined Facebook, it was all of six schools. Since then it's gone through several orders of magnitude of growth and had its privacy policy (and user interface) reworked dozens of times. More importantly, Facebook has always had an opt-out view towards privacy, rather than opt-in. Unless you specifically state otherwise, it's up for everybody to see.

Especially when other people start posting drunk pics of you.

Vexing Vision
01-02-2012, 05:02 AM
Bullshit, if you're running a company that includes customer service, you make sure someone is there at all times that can handle the situation.

Not to disillusion you, but that is not how most current companies offering customer service work.

Ideally, it'd be the case, yeah.

gimperial
01-02-2012, 03:13 PM
Thanks for the article, John. Well put.

By the way, I posted this on SA yesterday but forgot to here:

"Due to excessive fraud, your [credit card/paypal/whatever] has been banned from our system. If you are caught engaging in such activities again, any accounts in your possession will be permanently locked."

Now I have no way buy games until I go back to the Uk in a few months and get a new card. And the Russian Steam Store doesn't take paypal (could have paid using that as it's tied to my bank account).

The Tupper
01-02-2012, 04:22 PM
Thanks for the article, John. Well put.

By the way, I posted this on SA yesterday but forgot to here:

"Due to excessive fraud, your [credit card/paypal/whatever] has been banned from our system. If you are caught engaging in such activities again, any accounts in your possession will be permanently locked."

Now I have no way buy games until I go back to the Uk in a few months and get a new card. And the Russian Steam Store doesn't take paypal (could have paid using that as it's tied to my bank account).


Want me to buy you whatever you want, gift it to you and you can pay me back via Paypal?

Sorry - couldn't resist.

Jacques
01-02-2012, 06:13 PM
Not to disillusion you, but that is not how most current companies offering customer service work.

Ideally, it'd be the case, yeah.


I disagree actually, I guess it really depends on the scale of the company though, most small to medium sized businesses will make the effort to ensure their customer service is decent.

With companies like Valve who literally can remove thousands of pounds worth of goods from people on a whim, you'd expect them to hold to higher standards, apparently they don't really give much of a shit though.

Nalano
01-02-2012, 06:53 PM
With companies like Valve who literally can remove thousands of pounds worth of goods from people on a whim, you'd expect them to hold to higher standards, apparently they don't really give much of a shit though.

Why do you say that? Because he was initially blocked? Your interpretation depends on whether you think they made one decision on his case or two.

soldant
02-02-2012, 12:06 AM
Why do you say that? Because he was initially blocked? Your interpretation depends on whether you think they made one decision on his case or two.
On the balance of probabilities, and perhaps even beyond reasonable doubt, I'd say that two decisions were made here. The first was the outright account suspension with refusal to assist (or even state the issue), as they are allowed to do. That seems pretty final. The second was a reversing of that decision and suspension of trading privileges. That seems like they realised they'd overreacted and decided to change the ban, possibly to avoid negative reactions.

You might argue that they'd only ever intended to suspend trading privileges and nobody was around to do that, but that doesn't make sense. Which is worse for the player - COMPLETE suspension, or a suspension of trading privileges? Which one would stop the region circumvention? Removing the trading option would have been the best scenario until someone could investigate it properly. Apparently Steam already knew what he was up to, so there was no investigation needed really. If they had enough suspicion to ban the account outright, they had more than enough to just suspend trading. It's scary to think that Steam's initial reaction to any possible problem is "Total suspension followed by communications blackout while we decide on a suitable punishment." It doesn't make any sense to completely suspend the account, then reinstate it and remove trading capabilities. It's even more suspicious given that it happened following an RPS query. If only one decision was made, it would have been to stop trading.

Furthermore, Steam Support outright said they wouldn't engage in discussion about the account suspension. Even if we go along with the idea that the account suspension was just a quick measure before someone decided a suitable punishment, there's no reason why Steam support couldn't say "Your account has been suspended pending an investigation that will take place soon." They did not, they just said they weren't going to help.

Steam/Valve dropped the ball on this one. Which is fine because all companies make mistakes, and fortunately something was done about it. But whether you think the punishment was justified or not, Steam Support's blatant refusal to assist is deeply troubling, not to mention that they've made it clear that they will suspend your entire account if they decide to. They are not the absolute benign force incapable of setting a foot wrong that everyone believes them to be. Steam is a digital distribution platform and suffers the same pitfalls.


Now I have no way buy games until I go back to the Uk in a few months and get a new card. And the Russian Steam Store doesn't take paypal (could have paid using that as it's tied to my bank account).
Ouch. But further suggests that Steam made two decisions here, and they're still making decisions. They've moved closer to a full account suspension which suggests that was always their original intention.

deano2099
02-02-2012, 12:56 AM
O
Steam/Valve dropped the ball on this one. Which is fine because all companies make mistakes, and fortunately something was done about it. But whether you think the punishment was justified or not, Steam Support's blatant refusal to assist is deeply troubling, not to mention that they've made it clear that they will suspend your entire account if they decide to. They are not the absolute benign force incapable of setting a foot wrong that everyone believes them to be. Steam is a digital distribution platform and suffers the same pitfalls.

I think Steam really need to reconsider their policy on this stuff. There was a point at which it made sense. Hell, there still is. If someone has three games on Steam, has played them all to death, and does some dodgy, it's probably in their best interests to just ban the account. It's fairly likely that the guy that gets banned will be annoyed but not too bothered and will just drop it. It's a solution a lot of companies employ: fuck people over for sums low enough that it's not worth them complaining (and on a large scale, hugely profitable - Transport For London make millions every year from uncompleted journeys charging a default maximum fare to Oyster cards).

But when people have over 100 games on there, many unplayed, and to a value reaching hundreds or thousands or $/ ... I can't comprehend exactly what the hell they think is going to happen? That someone will just drop it? "I just lost 1000 worth of games, ah well!"

When does that happen and the customer not kick up a fuss, go to the press, get legal advice and so on. Of course they bloody will!

warja
09-02-2012, 03:39 AM
I had my account suspended for three months because Steam thought I had reversed a $5 charge on my credit card, despite a)I didn't, b) my bank won't dispute a charge below $30, and c) providing a letter from my bank stating that I hadn't. (Very) short version is after demanding that they provide me with the VISA transaction number of the purchase they think I disputed their payment people suddenly backed off.

Transcript below:

nded account

Ticket number

4191-UIOF-4368



Category

Account Questions > Suspended account



Email

###############



Steam Account Name

#########



Operating System

Windows 7/Vista



Modify Question Properties (https://support.steampowered.com/modifyticket.php?ticketref=4191-UIOF-4368)

Print Question (https://support.steampowered.com/view.php?ticketref=4191-UIOF-4368&print=1)

Close (https://support.steampowered.com/ticketactions.php?do=close&ticketref=4191-UIOF-4368)
This Question's Message(s)1 Message by you on Sat, 29th Oct 2011 7:00 pm
Hi,

Steam is telling me that my account is suspended when I try and log in :( I've not received any notification as to why this is. Can you please help?

My login is "#####".

Thanks in advance,

Jason Ward
2 Message by you on Mon, 31st Oct 2011 8:38 am
Hi,

I've been unable to access Steam and all of my games for two days now, and I still have had no update as to why this has even occurred. I've been a strong supporter of Steam since the day it launched and while this is honestly the first issue I've ever had I'm a little concerned that I can suddenly lose access to the library of games that I've purchased over the years without even a reason given.

When can I expect this to be resolved?

Thanks,

Jason
3 Message by Support Tech Bret on Tue, 1st Nov 2011 7:26 am
Hello Jason,

Thank you for contacting Steam Support.

The purchase of a wallet credit with Visa ending in #### has been disputed. Your account has been locked due to the payment dispute.

To unlock your account, you will need to contact your bank and have the bank withdraw the chargeback, cancel the dispute and return the funds to Steam for this purchase.

As soon as the chargeback dispute is settled your account, and the disputed game, will automatically be reactivated.

If your bank is unable to withdraw the chargeback, we will need them to fax an affidavit that clearly states that they are unable to withdraw the chargeback and more importantly that the chargeback was not due to the credit card being used fraudulently.

Please have them fax it to 425-952-2788 Attn: Fraud Department.

Make sure that your bank has included the phone number for their dispute department so that we can verify the statement with them. Please reference this ticket number, 4191-UIOF-4368 , on your cover letter.

As soon as we can confirm this information with your bank, we will review the situation so we can make an exception and reactivate the account even though the chargeback is still pending.

We understand that this is an inconvenience, but we hope that you understand the logic of our actions. We appreciate your patience with this issue.
4 Message by you on Tue, 1st Nov 2011 7:49 am
Hi,

Cheers for the response. Do you know which charge in particular the bank
is disputing (date etc)? I'll try and get in touch with them, they never
informed me that they had done this :/

Regards,

Jason
5 Message by you on Tue, 1st Nov 2011 7:58 am
Hi,

Just called my bank and they say they don't have any disputed charges on that card. Can you please let me know which charge you believe is being disputed?

Cheers,

Jason
6 Message by you on Wed, 2nd Nov 2011 1:05 am
Hi,

Also would like to confirm what the next step is if the bank has not disputed any charges, but your system thinks it has.

Cheers,

Jason
7 Message by you on Thu, 3rd Nov 2011 3:49 pm
it's been the better part of a week and I am still unable to access any of my games. I have confirmed with my bank that there was never any problem with my credit card. So far I have had one single response from Steam Support.

How is this in any way acceptable?
8 Message by you on Fri, 4th Nov 2011 1:40 pm
Hi,

Should I assume that I won't be playing any games this weekend?

Jason
9 Message by Support Tech Roger on Sat, 5th Nov 2011 12:22 pm
Hello Jason,

I will list the purchase details below.

Date: August 7, 2011
Transactions ID: ####################################
Item: Steam Wallet credit ($5.00)

If you have any further questions, please let us know.
10 Message by you on Sat, 5th Nov 2011 4:44 pm
Hi,

As previously mentioned I have confirmed with my bank that there are no
suspended transactions on my card. Below is a statement from that date
(please note that as I am in Australia the day is one ahead of you). As
you can see this transaction was processed successfully


What do we do now?

Jason
11 Message by you on Tue, 8th Nov 2011 6:58 am
Hi,

10 days now, what's the plan?

Jason
12 Message by Support Tech Roger on Wed, 9th Nov 2011 12:09 pm
Hello Jason,

In order to investigate the issue further, please have your bank fax documentation stating there is no charge tied to the previously provided information and we will look into the issue.

Please have them fax it to 425-952-2788 Attn: Fraud Department.

Make sure that your bank has included the phone number for their dispute department so that we can verify the statement with them.

Please reference this ticket number, 4191-UIOF-4368 , on your cover letter.
13 Message by you on Wed, 9th Nov 2011 4:38 pm
I've put through a request to my bank to send you documentation stating that there are no disputed charges on that card.

It is utterly ridiculous that you can block off access to all of my purchases, with no notification whatsoever, based on a $5 charge that you incorrectly believe has been disputed.

With all of the money I have spent with Steam over the years why would I dispute 5 bucks?

Your ability to do this, and the fact that the sole burden of proof has been placed on me, has made me question every purchase I have ever made with Steam. I have always argued that the Steam model was the way the sale of video games should go in the future, comfortable in the knowledge that at any time I could have access to my purchases no matter where I was. But now that I know you can simply revoke this action at any time without notification or good reason I am seriously questioning how risky continuing to support this model will be.

Also, a 4 day response time to enquiries is terrible. Even my bank said they'll get back to me within two.

Let me know when you get your documentation.

Jason
14 Message by you on Fri, 11th Nov 2011 4:54 pm
Hi,

My bank is pushing back at me about sending you anything when there isn't anything wrong. They have however shown me the form I would have had to have filled out to have that transaction disputed, and I assure you I never filled one out. I'll keep trying to get them to send you what you want, but can you please confirm on your side that there is actually a problem here? I'll pay you another 5 bucks if that's what it takes.

My copy of Skyrim just arrived in time for the weekend and I can't play it.

Jason
15 Message by Support Tech Roger on Sat, 12th Nov 2011 2:43 pm
Hello Jason,

We have already given you all the information we have regarding the purchase(s).
16 Message by you on Sat, 12th Nov 2011 6:53 pm
Hi,

Just gotten off the phone to the bank again. They have confirmed again that there are no card disputes lodged over the last 12 months. The lady also said that they "don't really do that" when I asked her to send you guys a letter confirming this. They are adamant that all of my purchases have been processed correctly, and the bank statement I sent you confirms the one in question was.

If my bank won't send you a letter about an event that didn't happen where do we go from here? Is there no chance at all that this isn't an error on your side? I really don't know what to do here. You have my account held hostage over something that didn't happen, and I can't provide you with what you want. I can't make my bank send you something if they don't want to. They just keep repeating that the charge was never disputed. I can't even actually dispute the charge so I CAN reverse it because the charge was more than 3 months ago.

I need this case escalated on your side. Put me in direct contact with your fraud department if you have to. I have tried and tried to provide you with what you have requested but as my bank won't send documentation about an incident that DID NOT HAPPEN.

I'm sorry, but another response saying I have all the information I need isn't helping. I have tried to get you what you want but I can't. You have me at your mercy now.

Please, I just want my games back.

Jason
17 Message by you on Mon, 14th Nov 2011 6:09 am
Hi,

My Steam account was recently suspended because there was apparently a disputed charge on my credit card. I was asked by Steam support to get my bank to either reverse the disputed charge or " fax an affidavit that clearly states that they are unable to withdraw the chargeback and more importantly that the chargeback was not due to the credit card being used fraudulently", but my bank has confirmed that there is no dispute on that card and the transaction in question was completed successfully. As as far as they are concerned there was no incident on the credit card account they are unwilling to send any documentation. I have asked Steam Support repeatedly for an alternative solution to this but all I get back is "We have already given you all the information we have regarding the purchase(s)."

I need a viable solution for resolving this issue. I have provided a statement showing that the charge was successful, and offered to just give Steam $5 to cover the "disputed" charge (as completely unfair as that would be), but have received no response. I am stunned that Steam is willing to lose a customer over $5.

Please, I need this resolved. I have been trying for over two weeks to regain access to my games without any success.

Jason
18 Message by you on Mon, 14th Nov 2011 6:13 pm
Hi,

I am attaching my credit card statement that shouls the successful transfer.

Cheers,

Jason
19 Message by you on Mon, 14th Nov 2011 6:15 pm
Statement
20 Message by Support Tech Roger on Tue, 15th Nov 2011 3:25 pm
Hello Jason,

I have opened another inquiry with our payment processor regarding the purchase(s) requesting additional details.

I will update your ticket once I receive more information.

I have also made an exception and enabled your account while the investigation continues.

We appreciate your continued cooperation regarding this matter.
21 Message by you on Tue, 15th Nov 2011 3:53 pm
Thankyou Bret :) Let me know what they say.

Jason
22 Message by Support Tech Roger on Thu, 17th Nov 2011 2:46 pm
Hello Jason,

This is the response we received regarding the chargeback:

"----------------
--- CANCELLED REASON
----------------
Reason: No attachment provided

----------------
--- ORDER DETAILS
----------------
Merchant ID: 5479
Contract ID: 5479
Order ID: 58110016
Merchant reference: ######################

----------------
--- PAYMENT DETAILS
----------------
Payment method: Credit Card On Line
Credit card number: ****************
Currency: USD
Dispute Amount: 5,00

----------------
--- END
----------------"

Further information regarding this chargeback can only be answered by your bank/ card issuer.
23 Message by you on Thu, 17th Nov 2011 4:45 pm
Hi,

Thanks for the reply. I'll pass this on to my bank. Hopefully with this information they'll be able to track down what happened.

Thanks again,

Jason
24 Message by you on Fri, 18th Nov 2011 11:36 am
Just realised you suspended my account again, right before the weekend. Real nice.

This is the worst customer service I have ever experienced.
25 Message by you on Fri, 18th Nov 2011 4:18 pm
Imagine coming home one day and all of your furniture is missing, and you find out that it's because Ikea thinks you bounced a cheque on some placemats........

Is this even legal?

warja
09-02-2012, 03:39 AM
26 Message by you on Mon, 21st Nov 2011 6:13 pm
I said I'd give you five more dollars, how can that not be good enough?
27 Message by Support Tech Roger on Tue, 22nd Nov 2011 6:32 pm
Hello Jason,

Oour standard policy is to have the bank withdraw the chargeback before we reactivate your account. Since this is not an option in your case, I have reactivated your account with the expectation that you repurchase the chargedback title within the next 5 days. If you do not complete the new purchase in that time, your account will be disabled again.

You will need to use a payment method other than your Discover ending in 3298. When a chargeback happens, the payment account is banned. Since the chargeback has not been reversed the ban on your credit card account hasn't been reversed. Unfortunately, there is no way for me to do this manually.

Your account is now activated.

Please note, this is a one time exception to our policy, any future chargebacks or payment reversals will result in the account, and all the games therein, being permanently locked.
28 Message by you on Tue, 22nd Nov 2011 8:51 pm
Hi,

Thank you for your reply. I'm assuming the purchase in question is the two crates in Team Fortress2. Does this mean I have to log in to TF2 and buy two more crates? Just want to make sure I'm not wasting the 5 bucks.

I've attached the error I'm getting when trying to purchase $5 worth of wallet credit (through Paypal).

Jason
29 Message by you on Tue, 22nd Nov 2011 9:53 pm
Looks like the wallet purchase went through anyway. So, just need to confirm what I actually need to purchase.

Cheers,

Jason
30 Message by you on Wed, 23rd Nov 2011 6:27 am
And remember that you've only given me 5 days to make this purchase, so you may have to be slightly better than your average response time to answer my question or it won't happen at all.
31 Message by you on Thu, 24th Nov 2011 12:54 pm
Hi,

I would like to reiterate that I have purchased $5 of wallet credit, and just need to know from you what it is I need to purchase to appease your demands. If my 5 day time limit is breached due to a lack of response from you I will not take resposibility for not complying.

Jason
32 Message by you on Fri, 25th Nov 2011 4:36 am
Hi,

3 of the 5 days you have graciously allotted me are now gone.

What do you want me to purchase?
33 Message by Support Tech Roger on Fri, 25th Nov 2011 12:51 pm
Hello Jason,

Please purchase atleast $5.00 of Steam Wallet credit.

How you choose to spend it is up to you.

If you have any further questions, please let us know - we will be happy to assist you.
34 Message by you on Fri, 25th Nov 2011 2:47 pm
Hi,

I purchased that 3 days ago. Are we good?
35 Message by Support Tech Roger on Tue, 29th Nov 2011 6:58 pm
Hello Jason,

I am glad that the issue is resolved.

Please let us know if you encounter any further difficulty - we will be happy to assist you.
36 Message by you on Tue, 29th Nov 2011 8:21 pm
Hi,

Thank you again for your reply, but I fail to see how this issue has been resolved.

The way this issue has been handled from the start is completely unacceptable. It has taken a month to come to this
"solution". Just make a $5 purchase? Look at my purchase history. It is fairly safe to assume that you would not have had
to wait for long before I had spent another 5 bucks on my own, and suspending my account only made this harder for me to
do. On top of this I offered to pay you the 5 dollars weeks ago, but then it wasn't an acceptable solution?.

Your "solution" also states that my credit card has been banned from your system, and then goes on to threaten locking me
out from my games permanently. For a month you have stopped me accessing nearly $1000 worth of my purchased games, and have
continually treated me as guilty until proven innocent. Remember, whether it was my bank or yours that caused this issue in
the first place all I did was purchase something from your service. I never disputed that charge. I have made that very
clear from the very beginning. If all this happened this time from no fault of my own what's stopping it from happening
again? Why should I risk another cent on your service when you can at any time and for no reason take it all from me again?

At no point have you apologized for the way I have been treated, or offered any form of compensation. I may not be your
biggest spender, but I consistently make purchases from Steam. The horrendous way that this has been handled has caused me
serious concern as to whether I continue to use your service. Throughout this process what did you do to try and keep your
customer happy?

You may lose me as a customer over a $5 mistake. I know you may not care, but Valve are supposed to be very loyal and supportive of their customers. The treatment I have received over the last month is nothing short of the worst customer service I have ever
experienced.

I expect a response to this email. Escalate it to your manager, do whatever you need to do, but I need to know what you are
going to do to make this right.

Jason
37 Message by you on Tue, 29th Nov 2011 10:44 pm
Hi,

Just received a phone call from my bank (ANZ) regarding the letter you requested. They're unable to send anything directly to a vendor but can send me the letter to forward on to you. He did however mention that they don't ever dispute transactions below $35.

One thing they asked is can you provide the ARN of the transaction in question? Apparently this is VISA's transaction number. My bank believes that it's possible the transaction never left your system which would explain why you were never paid.

I've just gone over my purchase history and my bank statement again and noticed they don't exactly line up. See below:

Steam Transaction History:
30/7/11 14.99
1/8/11 5.00
4/8/11 5.00
7/8/11 5.00 Charged Back
9/8/11 2.49 Charged Back
9/8/11 5.00
14/8/11 5.00

Bank Statement:
1/8/11 14.99
2/8/11 5.00
5/8/11 5.00
9/8/11 5.00
10/8/11 5.00
15/8/11 5.00

The only charge that I can't find on my statement is the $2.49 charge on the 9th of August (the 10th here in Australia). The others seem to correspond within a day or two of each other. Are we definitely talking about a $5 transaction, and not the one for $2.49?

As I'm assuming I won't receive a response from you until sometime next week I will forward on the letter they send me as soon as I receive it. Again, if you can provide my bank with the ARN of the transaction they may be able to shed some more light on the situation.

Thankyou,

Jason
38 Message by Support Tech Roger on Fri, 2nd Dec 2011 4:54 pm
Hello Jason,

I have opened another inquiry with our payment processory requesting the ARN for the transaction in quesiton.

I will update your ticket once I receive more information.
39 Message by you on Fri, 2nd Dec 2011 5:37 pm
Hi Roger,

Cheers fo the update, let me know what they say. Letter from the bank is coming via snail mail unfortunately, but will fax through once it arrives.

Jason
40 Message by you on Sun, 11th Dec 2011 6:57 pm
Hi,

Someone mistakenly closed this case, I've reopened it.

Has your payment processor gotten back to you with that ARN number?

I've received the letter from my bank and will fax it through some time today.

Thankyou,

Jason
41 Message by you on Sun, 11th Dec 2011 7:13 pm
Hi,

I've just faxed the bank letter off. Please let me know that you've received it.

Cheers,

Jason
42 Message by you on Wed, 14th Dec 2011 7:31 am
Hi,

Has your fraud department received my fax, and have you tracked down that ARN number?

Jason
43 Message by Support Tech Roger on Fri, 16th Dec 2011 4:44 pm
Hello Jason,

I apologize about the delay.

We have not received any faxes regarding the purchase in question.

The only information our payment processor could provide were the transaction ids for both the initial purchase as well as the chargeback.

Transaction ID: 1010150139404432908
Chargeback ID: 324484635954324581
44 Message by you on Fri, 16th Dec 2011 6:55 pm
Hi,

Cheers for the feedback. I'll pass those numbers on to my bank but I'm pretty sure they said thoee were your internal numbers and don't indicate anything ever made it to VISA. They assured me that every charge to VISA would have an ARN. Can you get an ARN for any other transactions? If so that would indicate a priblem with this one.

Unfortunately I don't have a fax machine (it's 2011, who still uses faxes?). I'll have to wait until Monday when I get to work to resend the document.

Thanks,

Jason
45 Message by you on Mon, 19th Dec 2011 7:15 am
Hi,

Just a heads up that I faxed that letter through to your fraud dept. again today. Let me know if they got it.

Cheers,

Jason
46 Message by Support Tech Roger on Wed, 21st Dec 2011 1:39 pm
Hello Jason,

We received your fax.

I have opened another inquiry with your fax attached asking for the paperwork your bank or card holder provided our payment processor regarding the purchase.

I will update your ticket once I receive a response.
47 Message by you on Wed, 21st Dec 2011 3:52 pm
Cheers mate :)

Jason
48 Message by you on Fri, 30th Dec 2011 1:17 pm
Hi,

Somehow this case was closed. Again. I've reopened it.
Any news from your payment processor?

Jason
49 Message by Support Tech Roger on Sun, 1st Jan 2012 2:49 pm
Hello Jason,

I apologize about the delay.

We recently received the following response:

"Dear Team,

Thank you for your inquiry and letter of the bank. Please be informed that due to security reasons it is not allowed to provide us with full credit card numbers via the Global Collect Payment Console inquiry or attachment. We advise you to provide us only with the first 6 digits and the last 4 digits and blank the other digits. Please be advised that we have investigated the letter of the bank. The letter of the bank only mentions the transaction from July which were charged back by the customer in August. Please be informed that the transaction from this order was charged by Global Collect in August and that the chargeback was reported in October. Please provide us with a correct letter from the bank, so we can investigate this transaction and chargeback further. Thank you in advance, We look forward to receiving your reply.

Kind Regards, Ilse Vial Payment Services"
50 Message by you on Sun, 1st Jan 2012 7:01 pm
Hi,

Thanks for your response, I'd really appreciate some help with this issue as it has been going on for some time now and is all over a $5 charge. I have around $1000 of games in my steam account and use it daily, and it's really disappointing to be put through all of this over a $5 charge that my bank say never happened.

I apologise if the letter wasn't correct, I wasn't aware that the chargeback was reported in the month of October as no one has mentioned this previously.
It was very hard for me to get that letter from the bank, they initially refused to provide anything as there is no chargeback noted in their system and they said that they don't provide letters for things that never happened.

My bank believes that the charges you're talking about never made it to VISA, and therefore never made it to my bank.
They have said that if the charges did in fact make it to VISA there would be an ARN number for the transaction as this is standard and provided with every transaction. The bank say that if Steam don't have an ARN number this proves that the charges never made it to VISA meaning the problem is on Steam's end not on theirs; the charge stayed with Steam and never progressed (and was definitely never charged back). The ARN number from that transaction in question would prove to my bank that the transaction did in fact reach VISA. Steam support have stated previously that you cannot provide my bank with this number.
Steam's transaction numbers are unfortunately only relevant to Steam and don't prove anything to my bank.

Can someone please PLEASE provide me with the ARN number for the transaction to prove that it occurred? If Steam can't provide this number then it shows that the charge never left Steam's system and the problem is with Steam.

The bank have also said that their policy is to not dispute a charge below $35, let alone the $5 Steam are talking about.

I understand you are just doing your job and need to ask for these things from me, but I'm at my wits end now and really need some help. I've offered to pay the $5 again... I'd even pay more just to get this to all stop and to be able to relax and play my games again without worrying that they'll be taken away again.

Thanks again

Jason.
51 Message by Support Tech Roger on Thu, 5th Jan 2012 7:40 pm
Hello Jason,

We are investigating this issue further. As soon as we have more information, we will update your ticket.
52 Message by Support Tech Roger on Fri, 20th Jan 2012 2:47 pm
Hello Jason,

I apologize about the delay.

I asked again for the the paperwork sent to our payment processor from your bank regarding the chargeback and received the following response:

'Dear Sir/Madame, Please be informed that we have booked the withdrawn today. This will be reported to you in your next payment file. Hereby I hope to have you informed sufficiently. We apologize about the inconvenience. Kind regards, Stefan, Payment Services'

They have since withdrawn the chargeback in question and provided no explanation of the situation.

I am very sorry about the entire situation and how it was handled.

We will glady refund the your recent wallet credit purchase if you wish.

If you have any further questions, please let us know.

Nalano
09-02-2012, 03:50 AM
sounds like a paypal issue.

I READ ALL THAT SHIT

I WANT A COOKIE

deano2099
09-02-2012, 12:10 PM
Every time I see something like this I'm still shocked at how blatantly Steam end-run around the credit card chargeback consumer-protection system. I mean, at least act a bit embarassed about it.

Kaira-
09-02-2012, 12:50 PM
sounds like a paypal issue.

I READ ALL THAT SHIT

I WANT A COOKIE

If only Valve would bother to answer PayPal's emails, a lot of problems could be avoided.

http://www.reddit.com/tb/d79n8

Nalano
09-02-2012, 02:28 PM
If only Valve would bother to answer PayPal's emails, a lot of problems could be avoided.

http://www.reddit.com/tb/d79n8

Why you people insist on using a middleman is beyond me, especially when it's a known issue:

Steam wants to close a fraud ring where-in somebody makes a new account, buys a bunch of games, sells the account, then charges back all the games. So, Steam hates chargebacks.

Unfortunately, Paypal has a bunch of automatic chargeback policies because they're fuckwits, and people use Paypal as a middleman because they don't trust Valve to run away with their credit card info. So, Paypal accounts get knocked out more often than most.

It boggles the mind. Why use a middleman? Doesn't that just double the number of places shit can go wrong?

gimperial
09-02-2012, 02:50 PM
The guy on the previous page didn't use paypal.

And if there are chargebacks, then just take away those games, rather than the whole account.

ColOfNature
09-02-2012, 03:34 PM
So you mail cash direct to Valve? In what way is Visa not a middle man?

Kaira-
09-02-2012, 04:04 PM
Why you people insist on using a middleman is beyond me, especially when it's a known issue:

I take it you mail directly money to Steam? Or better yet, why insist on a middleman, why not go straight for the developers?

The fact is, Valve has piss-poor communication. Abysmal, even, as the database breach might have indicated. To me it would seem that Valve systematically ignores emails from PayPal. Seeing how PayPal is quite a large entity, one could imagine that to provide a good service they'd do everything in their power to ensure a pleasant experience to their customers, by taking the needed actions - replying to PayPal or even perhaps not offering PayPal as payment option if it's such a big hassle for them.

Nalano
09-02-2012, 05:02 PM
The guy on the previous page didn't use paypal.

He did. Read the backlog.


So you mail cash direct to Valve? In what way is Visa not a middle man?

I don't know if you're taking the piss or not, but seriously: Shitibank -> Valve has half as many places to go wrong than Shitibank -> Paypal -> Valve. You add middlemen for convenience (I certainly didn't get a bank account for the interest on my average balance of $laughable) and when they turn out to be inconvenient, then why do you insist on muddying the issue?

ColOfNature
09-02-2012, 05:38 PM
As far as I know there's no way of paying Valve without using some kind of middleman, whether it's PayPal, a Credit Card company, DIRECTebanking or whatever. I'm not trying to muddy the issue; just pointing out that whatever method you use to pay Valve involves some intermediary between your bank and Valve. PayPal may be more likely to cause problems (although in my experience they're no more or less troublesome than Visa are) but to say "just skip the middleman" is pointless.

bwion
09-02-2012, 05:42 PM
Based on my reading of it, he only used Paypal after his credit card got banned by Steam due to the chargebacks. So unless Paypal have invented time travel, they're nothing to do with the chargebacks that got his account suspended. (For once.)

Not that I disagree that involving Paypal when you have any choice in the matter isn't a good idea. Especially when dealing with a company that apparently has such a violent allergy to chargebacks that they will shut down your account at the merest hint of a disputed payment.

My guess is that the problem lies somewhere with Valve's payment processor.