Zynga infringes customer rights under EU e-commerce law

This is something all should know as it impacts all players.

The terms&conditions that the publisher of this game (Zynga, or I shall say Take Two Interactive now that they bought that company) uses to justify their refusal to allow refunds within 14 days even in the case of blatant cases, like the Gargoyles downgrading immediately after release, infringe our customer rights under EU law.

You may want to read this first:

Note that the refund can be requested without any justification. In the instance of the Gargoyle nerfing there was actually a very concrete justification as the products sold (the heroes) were changed from what initially advertised and paid for by the customers.

Also note that the exception to the 14-day rule about streaming of films and other media does not apply here either as that was meant to safeguard products that would lose their value once downloaded (for example you could watch a film and ask a refund thus unfairly benefiting of the whole value of the product). In this case the downloaded products (the heroes) have little immediate value as they need to be upgraded for future use, thus you do not benefit at al by asking them to be returned/refunded.

I did exactly so, received the refund from Apple and then was unfairly punished by the publishers who set my account to a massive (-33k) negative balance, far exceeding in any case the value of the refunded purchase. Not satisfied with that, they have now threatened to close my account if I do not clear the balance within 13 days. Tried to reason with their support but it is like talking with a brick wall.

Zynga hides behind their T&C and the usual mantra that they need to intervene to balance the game. That is ok if something over time stops behaving as expected, but for a new product to be changed within a week is totally unacceptable. Other publishers offer new products for free for a limited time to test their impact in the game, before removing them and do the adjustments prior to actual paid-for release. That is the correct practice and that way no one can feel cheated.

I will probably be (unfairly) kicked out soon after being a loyal paying customer for over 4 years. I feel cheated and disgusted, but if everyone stood up to defend their rights these things would not happen.
Cheers everyone!

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Best of luck to you, I cannot imagine Zynga/SGG altering the negative gem balance situation so you very well may be forced out of the game. I have heard about this extensively around the time of the morlovia ordeal and negative gem balances for players, but heard it happens in refund situations as well.

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The problem with this is that you did not pay for the heroes but you paid for the gems and you recieved them. You used those gems to summon a hero which was nerfed after the release. Did anyone force you to use your gems on that portal? No, you decided that you do. I know you feel you paid for the hero but thats only your motivation of your purchase of gems. You paid for those and got those as intended. You could ask for a refund but in that case Zynga unfortunately has the right to put your balance into negative. Is it justice? No. Is it lawful? Absolutely.

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As already said, you never buy a hero. You buy a lottery ticket with a chance of a hero. Even if a hero gets nerfed, the ticket is flawless. Otherwise would SG have a back pay claim if a hero was buffed?

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First off, i’m not a lawyer, and so can only make an interpretation based on the information that I read. Having looked at Zynga’s Terms of Service, in my eyes and without further legal analysis by someone who knows the local legislations applicable, there is a pretty clear statement that you just receive a limited license and own nothing that you “earn” or “purchase” nor do you even own your account.

Since Zynga own the heroes that are licensed out to the players… they can be changed as and when they see fit to suit the purpose of their services (the game).

Also, the comments being made about the gem purchases make sense.

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No I did not buy gems, I bought tokens specifically for that summon so they were intended specifically for that particular product, as advertised by Zynga/SG. And in any case the value of the purchased items was not anywhere near 33K gems.

But it is in any case a moot point as EU law stipulates that the customer needs NO reason to ask for a refund within 14 days, and no seller on a European marketplace can lawfully impose T&C that infringe the basic EU law.

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If you cancel a contract within 14 days, you must also return the goods.

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We agree on a lot of this. The ToS are clear. Where we may differ is that the gems were purchased for hero summons. Had the hero(es) originally appeared as the post nerph version, that may have affected that initial purchase. And I think that is the issue the poster has. And yes, SGG can be forced to refund and also choose to punish the player.
It is like a relationship in a trailer park.

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Tokens, gems, same thing they only mean a chance to get something not the actual hero. You paid for those, not the heroes. Yes, you have the right to ask for a refund which you did if i understand correctly. But they also have the right to stop selling you other stuff until you make up for that refunded purchase. Otherwise everyone would pay for lets say 10 pulls then ask for refund if they did not get the hero they wanted, rinse and repeat.

As a company they have the right to decide who they want to do business with. If i go into a bar i have the right to file an official complaint for whatever reason or ask for the manager, but next time i go into the same bar they have the right to tell me they won’t serve me anything.

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If you want to read more, here is the latest EU directive on the ssupply of digital content and digital services. Read in particular the wording of article 18: it applies to ANY contract whereby the trader supplies or undertakes to supply digital content or digital service to the consumer.
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019L0770

Besides the legal aspect, which clearly supports the customer, perhaps even more importantly there is a question of good and bad faith here.

Customers bought the products in good faith because of the perceived value of the advertised goods. Zynga/SG arguably published them in bad faith knowing (or at least suspecting) they would have to modify them since only a week later they did so. It is not something that became apparent over time, but should have been blatantly obvious.

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I absolutely understand your point and technically speaking you are right, it was kind of jerk move releasing an obviously op hero just to nerf it later and make heaps of dosh in the process. But they could say that those tokens you bought are also usable on other portals so nobody forced you to summon gargoyles. Yes, logically the offer is there for you to purchase and use the goods to summon on the corresponding event but this is just logic and it will not stand in court especially against such a huge company as Zynga with whole armies of lawyers.

You still didn’t buy a hero, you bought a lottery ticket. The consequences of a lottery are well known. Read Article 3 5. (d) of the Regulation.

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Actually no, Mr.Sabaton, that is not the case. In court Zynga would be hard-pressed not to lose.
Here is why:

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2019.323.01.0004.01.ENG&toc=OJ:C:2019:323:TOC
Council Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair terms in consumer contracts:

3.4. Unfairness assessment under Articles 3 and 4(1) UCTD
3.4.1. The framework for the assessment under Articles 3(1) and 4(1)

Contract terms are to be regarded as unfair under Article 3(1) if,

— contrary to the requirements of good faith,

— they cause a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations arising under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer.

Although the Court has so far not been asked to explain the relationship between those two criteria, the wording of Article 3(1) and of Recital 16 suggest that the absence of good faith is linked to the significant imbalance in the rights and obligations created by a contract term. Recital 16 refers to the bargaining power of the parties and explains that the requirement of ‘good faith’ relates to the question of whether a seller or supplier deals fairly and equitably with a consumer and takes his legitimate interests into account. In this respect, the Court (213) finds it particularly relevant to consider whether the seller or supplier could reasonably assume that the consumer would have agreed to the term in individual negotiations:

‘With regard to the question of the circumstances in which such an imbalance arises “contrary to the requirement of good faith”, it should be stated that, having regard to the 16th recital of Directive 93/13, the national court must assess for those purposes whether the seller or supplier, dealing fairly and equitably with the consumer, could reasonably assume that the consumer would have agreed to such a term in individual contract negotiations […] (214).’

This confirms that, for the purposes of Article 3(1), the concept of good faith is an objective concept linked to the question of whether, in light of its content, the contract term in question is compatible with fair and equitable market practices that take the consumer’s legitimate interests sufficiently into account. It is, thereby, closely linked to the (im)balance in the rights and obligations of the parties.

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Mr Pike, what part of the EU customer protection rule you don’t understand?
It does NOT matter what the customer purchases, we are still entitled to a refund.

@Aurlord
I seriously doubt that Zynga will remove the negative balance on your account. And that will of course come with penalties if it’s not corrected.

I do NOT agree with knee jerk rebalance on a new hero, especially when in Beta, some of the testers told Zynga that the Gargoyles were too powerful….

That said, these “sudden” rebalances are not rare - think of Telluria, Vela, Costume Krampus, Kalo etc etc… And I understand the frustration and resentment and anger that these sort of changes make.

But I personally have accepted that I did not “purchase” a specific hero when I won Kalo with my gems. He was a basic “raffle” prize to put it in crude terms. And I accept that I do not own the hero that I pull when using my coins / gems / tokens - It always belongs to Zynga and they will alter it as they see fit with a buff or a nerf to “protect” the game (as they say).

None of the above is new. The game owners have said frequently that players should expect regular rebalance for a variety of reasons……

So I doubt anything will change whilst Zynga continues to operate under the same terms of service

PS: lots of players said they would take legal advice and subsequent action against SG following the Telluria rebalance …. As far as I am aware nothing came of it

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Not sure what your issue is. You asked for a refund, and got it. Refund implies that you have to give back what you bought, so your negative gem balance because you spent it.

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As i see you shifted the conversation from asking a refund after the hero you summoned for got nerfed to Zyngas terms of service being imbalanced and heavily favouring the company not the customer. Im not a lawyer so cant tell if you are right or not, but are you willing to take this to court which can take years and millions of dollars in legal expenses which you have to pay if you lose the case?

Mr. Quinn, I got refunded for less than 50 euros and as a result not only my positive balance (that was already there before the refunded happened) was wiped out but the account was put into an astonishing -32.5K negative balance, which equates to over 5 times that sum!

So basically Zynga stole from my account and put it in red for good measure, so yes I do have an issue.

Maybe if you were a genuine player and not a Zynga spokesperson you would have an issue with this as well…

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I think if you are looking for legal precedence the only place you will find it is in Japan, where a couple Gacha games are currently undergoing heavy scrutiny by the government (I believe it’s related to the gambling nature of gacha games though)

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