Square-Enix Facing $5 Million Final Fantasy XI Lawsuit

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Square-Enix Facing $5 Million Final Fantasy XI Lawsuit

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A San Francisco resident has filed a class-action lawsuit against Square-Enix accusing the company of deceiving customers with hidden fees and penalties in Final Fantasy XI.

Esther Leung of San Francisco has filed a class-action lawsuit against Square-Enix, alleging that the company partook in various shady business practices involved with its MMOG, Final Fantasy XI.

"[Square-Enix] engaged in various levels of deceptive advertising, unfair business practices, and fraudulent concealment with respect to the online games at the point of purchase," the suit claims.

Those various complaints mostly involve Square's allegedly deceptive terms when it came to monthly fees, penalties for late payment, interest charges on late payment, charges that took place after the suspension of an account, termination of game data for late payment, and more. According to Leung, Square "lied about or concealed" the specifics of these charges that "should have been fully disclosed" when she signed up for the game.

The suit estimates that the number of people who will take part in the class-action "will number greater than 100,000" and is seeking $5 million in damages. Have any of you Final Fantasy XI players ever had problems with late fee shenanigans, or is this person just upset her character got deleted?

Read the court filing here.

[Via Kotaku]

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If it's true than Square have got themselves into a big hole. Than again, aren't these things supposed to come up once you start the game?

So basically, Square-Enix facing lawsuit because Final Fantasy XI was shit? Sounds about right.

But in seriousness, those are some hefty charges.

Well, I'm sure SE will win the suit as MMO's tend to have 12 pages of agreements made up to agree to before they play the game. Namely WoW.

1. A Suspended account is obviously going to result in bitterness towards the company and these faults are only being pressedbecause of this by many people.
2. It's their fault for playing a game with monthly fees.
3. It would definately be in the Rules about deletion of data somewhere.

I think there won't be easy to win against SE.

Well, this is odd. You would think that such issues would have been brought up earlier. I don't really know much about XI, and never really thought about buying it, so I guess I don't really have to be concerned much about this.

I can't believe someone took the time to read through the entire contract.

As an ex-FFXI player, I can say that there is almost nothing to support this lawsuit.

Forget to make a payment, sue for $5 million... seems about right.

Stuff like this happens in a lot of MMO's. People continue to get billed after they cancel their account. I'm surprised this hasn't happened to Blizzard, Mythic, or Funcom as this exact thing happens frequently.

Ya, when I played WoW I got overcharged... 7 times. Thankfully Blizz was good enough to fix it.

Credge:
Stuff like this happens in a lot of MMO's. People continue to get billed after they cancel their account. I'm surprised this hasn't happened to Blizzard, Mythic, or Funcom as this exact thing happens frequently.

That's the most disturbing thing. This could set a precedent for others to sue other companies.

xi, arent they about to launch xxvii or something?, any way 5 million, geez only in America can lawsuits like these not result in the lawyer offices trowing out the lady.

well any way, i hope she loses, stupidity should not be rewarded and allot of people enjoy the final fantasy games and opening the floodgates for stupid lawsuits will probably hurt the studio.

so yer, im rooting against team retard for once instead of team anime.

Meado:

Credge:
Stuff like this happens in a lot of MMO's. People continue to get billed after they cancel their account. I'm surprised this hasn't happened to Blizzard, Mythic, or Funcom as this exact thing happens frequently.

That's the most disturbing thing. This could set a precedent for others to sue other companies.

But even if they were getting billed after canceling their account, they would be hard pressed to argue that it caused enough distress to warrant a significant lawsuit. More likely, a refund would be in order.

Huh. I'd have thought having the service handled through credit card wouldn't mean any late fees.

But then again, I never played an MMO for more than a month.

Also suspension over the late payment (it still boggles me) is reasonable. Since one is paying to play the game, ceasing pay would logically cease play.

Good for him. I hope he wins. Everyone I know who played this game(including me) have gotten tons of hidden charges/false charges. They took over $70 in one month from me once(Last fucking month I played, that's for sure.) and the game itself and the two expansions at the time only cost me $75

I've been playing FFXI for a good 5 years now, and I've never seen any issue with payments. "penalties for late payment" in particular sounds like a complete crock of shit, since the only payment method SE accepts is by credit card, automatically payed at the start of each month. If the card is invalid (which happened to me once after I renewed my card but forgot to update my payment info), they just don't let you access the game until you give them an active card that they can charge. They don't charge you extra for it, and while in the past they would delete data if an account was unsubscribed or unpayed for long periods of time (more than 3 months I believe), they changed that policy pretty early on, and now if you cancel you can come back years later and still pick up your old characters with no loss.

Also, the account was suspended. There are only a few things that get your account suspended - the biggest ones being cheating with 3rd-party software, and being involved with real-money trade for in-game items (which SE has always expressly forbidden). I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the guy got his account hijacked by someone trying to make a few bucks, then didn't quite understand how to tell them to cancel his account and just left it. Or if he was trying to make a few bucks himself, got caught, and is now trying to blow it up into making more than a few bucks.

A game that deserves a lawsuit is that Evony game. The ads all say "Free Forever" yet it charges you for every post in the ingame chat.

False advertising much?

This, however, sounds rather stupid. 5 Million? For what is likely a billing mistake or revenge?

scotth266:
Well, this is odd. You would think that such issues would have been brought up earlier.

Maybe everyone else just read all the terms before hitting the "I Agree" button.

His lawsuit is pretty useless,

"Monthly fees to play the game"

What was he honestly suspecting, needs to learn to read

"Termination of the Right to use the on-line game for the late payment of fees"

Again, kinda spelling out what a P2P game is,

Only in America folks... GO Square Enix

I'd need to see all the specifics of her case before passing judgement, theres not enough info to tell sadly... it APPEARS stupid but maybe yes Square-Enix I remember having issues a while back with over charging players... We'll have to see, likely it'll be settled away from publicity and never heard from again, but who knows.

The court filing reads:

The deceptive advertising, unfair and undisclosed business practices, and concealment concern, among others:

i. Licensing of the online games software disguised as a sale;
ii. Monthly fees ("fees") to play the online games;
iii. Penalties for late payment of the fees;
iv. Interest charges for late payment of the fees;
v. Charges while the online game account is suspended;
vi. Termination of the right to use the online games for late payment of the fees;
vii. User restrictions and conditions related to the online games;
viii. Termination of game data for payment of the fees.

So...she's suing because she had to pay a monthly fee to play an ONLINE game, and because she couldn't use play anymore because she didn't pay the fees? OH COME ON.

This is one of the main reasons I don't play MMO's. But I'm guessing she didn't read the Terms of Service agreement, and as soon as the court session starts Square-Enix's lawyers are just going to pull out a copy of it and point out where in it all that stuff she's whining about is clearly defined in black and white (in legal speak so nobody but lawyers and judges could possibly understand it).

yeah_so_no:
The court filing reads:

The deceptive advertising, unfair and undisclosed business practices, and concealment concern, among others:

i. Licensing of the online games software disguised as a sale;
ii. Monthly fees ("fees") to play the online games;
iii. Penalties for late payment of the fees;
iv. Interest charges for late payment of the fees;
v. Charges while the online game account is suspended;
vi. Termination of the right to use the online games for late payment of the fees;
vii. User restrictions and conditions related to the online games;
viii. Termination of game data for payment of the fees.

So...she's suing because she had to pay a monthly fee to play an ONLINE game, and because she couldn't use play anymore because she didn't pay the fees? OH COME ON.

Let's see her crash. Crash and burn.

And now I'm wondering how this got to the "popular threads" listing...

This is almost as ridiculous as the woman who spilled hot coffee on her lap and sued McDonald's. I hate our country.

I have yet to understand what the suit is about, especially about the late fee. Other charges doesn't seem to have any ground, but I have never played XI, so I have no idea of their payment structure. From what I read here though, I don't even see where that "late payment" fee comes from.

This is going to be an open-and-shut case, whichever side turns out to be the winner.

Krakyn:
This is almost as ridiculous as the woman who spilled hot coffee on her lap and sued McDonald's. I hate our country.

You mean the coffee that was so hot it melted her pants to her legs and gave her third degree burns in the one place you really don't want to have them? The coffee that was about 30 degrees hotter than it should have been because 'it stays warmer longer that way'?

Yes, clearly that was a frivolous lawsuit.

(You can tell I'm being sarcastic, right?)

I think the difference is, Blizzard, etc, refund people for their additional charges.

I seriously doubt this lawsuit will go through, but I wish the player good luck anyways, regardless of the fact that Square Enix probably has had this kinda of experience happen before and is well prepared for it.

Well, this woman is a beacon of integrity, don't you think?

She gets angry at Square because they took away her ability to play the game, though not completely, when she didn't pay them. She obviously just wants a way to get money, because she had a detriment of a few in-game items and a no more than fifty bucks US, and she files a lawsuit for $5,000,000. That is five trillion pennies, my fellow escapists, and that is also what I call a firm 2x4 to the ABC (cookie if you get it).

Lvl 64 Klutz:
Forget to make a payment, sue for $5 million... seems about right.

not that simple, but if it was I would be richer than Bill Gates and the entire GOP combined by now. If you look at the EULA of Final Fantasy XI, it gets very mucky around the fee's area, so bad in fact that it made me actually call the help line and get a person to try to explain it to me. though to be fair, I only played for about 6 days and promptly canceled my account because, lets face it, running around in a MMO and only seeing 5 people over a 6 day period is kinda lame. also, need I remind people of the infamous Pandemonium Warden incident? links 1. http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com/Final_Fantasy_XI#Pandemonium_Warden and link Dos. http://petfoodalpha.com/1055/how-long-is-too-long

Seriously reading through the court documents I do not see how this guy has a case. This has to be one of the stupidest things I have ever read did he not see the big Online Fees to play or however they word it I know they are right on all the boxes and i know there is a nice big set of paragraphs on it in the EULA even though it is written in lawyer court document style. I hope square wins and then counter sues for lawyer costs.

Why is the US so freaking sue happy.

What a few of you are missing is that it's a Class Action lawsuit. Meaning dozens, hundreds, thousands, etc, disgruntled claimants can step forward and get a slice of a potential 5 million dollar pie.

The charges aren't specific enough - is she (he?) suing because of hidden charges? Companies with deceptive billing have been punished before. The devil's in the details.

This is more of a harrasment lawsuit intended to force Square Enix into changing their billing practices. I agree, a refund seems more rational . . . but is there a large number of clients with similar stories?

PopcornAvenger:
What a few of you are missing is that it's a Class Action lawsuit. Meaning dozens, hundreds, thousands, etc, disgruntled claimants can step forward and get a slice of a potential 5 million dollar pie.

The charges aren't specific enough - is she (he?) suing because of hidden charges? Companies with deceptive billing have been punished before. The devil's in the details.

This is more of a harrasment lawsuit intended to force Square Enix into changing their billing practices. I agree, a refund seems more rational . . . but is there a large number of clients with similar stories?

Looking over it, she's sueing them for charging for a P2P game and denying service when she didn't pay the fee. Apparently she didn't notice it was P2P or something.

TsunamiWombat:
I think the difference is, Blizzard, etc, refund people for their additional charges.

i'm pretty sure they would refund wrong charges but if you agree that you'll pay late fees, which ALL companies have when you miss payments, they don't have to refund those charges because they aren't wrong

This is all going to come down to documentation of fees. If the plaintiffs really have a case, then they'll have bills and charges not outlined by the games contract. Almost every game has a contract on installation, and MMOs have a contract at least twice as long if not three times as long.

Even if the plaintiffs fail to point out fees not outlined by the contract they can still sue for false advertising. However, it's a game, there are almost no ways to outline falsified advertisement for it. This subject will just be argued with almost no material evidence besides their contract. The judge will most likely rule in Square Enix's favor for accusations of false advertising.

The point that this is massive lawsuit make me think this will happen; there will be a massive collaboration of claims from the plaintiffs. Their lawyers in turn will present the most valid plaintiffs claims first, as in first I mean the first few days of the case if not the first few weeks. Then if the lawyers scare Square Enix's lawyers then the best possible solution will be a out-of-court settlement because Square Enix will be afraid that there are valid claims to the case. The only thing that would turned around the case is if Square Enix decides to really go through all that paper work and punch holes in the all the claims.

That's what I thinks gonna happen

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