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I've paid for a game I do not have. Or How I tried to start gaming on a PC again

posted by dizavin on - last edited - Viewed by 324 users

Considering myself a pretty big Back To The Future fan (I have the Lights & Sounds DeLorean from ThinkGeek! love it! http://imgur.com/AcBem.jpg ) and upon hearing that TellTale were creating a game about this IP I've grown to love ever since I was kid, I practically did a backflip. Granted, I haven't really gamed on a computer since 2004 when I had to switch to Mac for professional reasons but found a comfortable little home in my Xbox360.. but with a title like Back To The Future? AND it was being released for OS X on launch?! I simply couldn't resist.

I patiently waited. Every so often checking in on the TellTale site or on Steam to see new videos or posts about how the game was coming along.. I was practically vibrating with anticipatory energy every time I was visited with new promotional material! After weeks of waiting and hype, the day finally came: launch. I took the Visa I only use for online purchases and loaded up 40 dollars onto it and put on my Gamin' Pants. (I wanted a Flux Capacitor shirt, but alas.. it was backordered)

Here it was, my first exercise into gaming on a personal computer since Max Payne 2 way back in 2003! I was exited to say the least. I immediately pointed Chrome to the TellTale game's online store and started my registration so I could download this game and get-a-crackin'. I enter in my name, my address, the country I live in (greetings from Vancouver, Canada!) my visa information and clicked "Checkout" with a grin. The moment was palpable: a GOOD Back To the Future game? a good one! I've heard James Rolfe of Cinemassacre fame lament over how horrible BTTF has been represented in the video game world over the years and buying this title felt like a vindication for the series; finally the day has come.

But I was stopped with a red box with even redder text: "address does not match card."

"Oh!" I thought "they're billing addy forms didn't have a spot for apartment numbers... I probably should have left it out. I'll do that, I think, and try again!" and re-enter my information. I click "checkout" and am greeted with more red text in a red box: "insufficient funds".

I thought to myself "that can't be, this is my first purchase on this card in weeks. Where could the money have gone?" Surely TellTale didn't take my money without giving me a game. There's no way that could have happened. Their online store has to have been built with a safeguard of some type to prevent this kind of thing from happening before they even went live.

But, to be sure (incase someone had compromised my Visa and has done all sorts of horrible things with it..) I went to load up a digital statement and there it was, staring me in the face: a charge of $26.60 to my Visa from "TELLTALE, INC". (http://imgur.com/vi1DP.png)

So here I am: TellTale has my money, and I do not have anything to show for it but a user account with their online service and less money on my gaming visa than I started out the night with.

I've submitted a support ticket with a PDF of my visa statement and I hope they get back to me and straighten this out with either refunding my money so I can just wait and buy the game on steam.. or allow me to download that ever elusive game that, for me, still only exists in myth and legend.

I'm hoping for the later, though. I've heard good things about TellTale's efforts. A very close friend of mine who writes for Blistered Thumbs gives me grief for never having played Sam & Max and praises that IP as the only one to ever have actually delivered on the idea of episodic gaming.

but, I have to admit: at this point, all I've done is pay nearly 27 dollars for the privilege to write this post and have an account on the TellTale webstore. And nothing else.

And as a gamer that was looking to move back to the personal computer after years of the console? this is very disheartening and makes me question if I had made the right choice. This never has happened to me on the Xbox Marketplace and isn't likely to ever happen if my past experiences were to be a barometer on the subject. I keep thinking:

"Is this something I have to worry about, now?"

"How common is this kind of mishap? do I have to inspect my monthly statements now?"

Now, it's only 26 dollars, so I'm not going to lose any sleep and I'm going to be patient in waiting for a reply.. but, I cannot help to mention how disappointing the fact is that I've parted with money for a game that I don't have due to what amounts to a clerical error that every other online vendor seems to be able to catch and rectify before the transaction takes place.

*sigh*

(also... yes, my title for this post is a Dr. Strangelove reference.)

19 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @Fullmetal X said: Well, they won't technically "send" you the game, at least not a physical copy, as it's only a digital download. But yeah, I think if you already paid for it, there shouldn't be a problem with them just adding it to your account. In fact, that'll probably be the easier solution. All they really have to do is add a download link to your account and you're golden.

    And, to top if off, you won't have to worry about any of this when the rest of the episodes release since you'll have already paid for them.

    Here's hoping!

    (heh, I know "send" sounds goofy... but how else do you say it in the digital world? Activate? Enable? Allow? Queue? I thought about that for a bit. I went with the simple, but direct statement.)

    Though, I don't mind waiting for content. I mean, heck, I'm using an Intel Mac to play this game. I'm used to waiting 6 months for a game to get ported to OS X and then waiting another 2 months for the free time to spend with it.

    I'm just kinda dissapointed that such a simple little thing made their online store drop a dookie in it's pants.

  • I get what you mean. Hopefully you didn't think I was calling you an idiot earlier about the whole digital download thing. Saw a post earlier from someone that wasn't sure whether buying the game from Telltale would mean a digital download or a physical copy that would be sent to them at a later date so I kinda assumed the same thing when you said send.

    Anyway, yeah. Mac users have typically had to wait in the past to get something, so I'm glad you have patience. I myself have an Intel Mac as well, though I have to run the game on Windows through Bootcamp since I don't have Snow Leopard and my mac is one of the older models that has the integrated graphics chip instead of an NVIDIA card, so windows is my only option. Luckily it works just fine, so I'm happy.

    I do hope you get this resolved before Christmas. That would be nice.

  • This exact same thing happened to me before. The charge didn't actually go through on Telltale's end. On your digital statement, it probably lists a date by which the charge is supposed to go through. After that date passes, the charge should disappear from your statement and the money will reappear in your account. At least that's how it worked for me. It's still a good idea to wait for Telltale's reply and see whether or not the charge went through on their end.

  • Yeah, this is fairly common, and something I struggled with in my younger and poorer days.

    Having money change hands like this is a two step process. In the first step, the company asks your bank to reserve the money, and then later, in the second step, once the order has been completed, the company comes back through and collects the money. The gap between the first step and the second may be a few hours, or, at most, a day or two. During this time, if you check your online statements, the charge is usually listed as "processing". While it is removed from your available funds right away, the money is not actually removed from your account until the second step.

    The problem that happens is that the first step happens at the beginning of the order process right after you submit your card information. If the order than fails at a later stage, like for instance if there is a billing address mismatch, that reserve on your money doesn't get removed, it stays in place. So, even though the order failed, that charge will still be listed as "processing", and the money will still be unavailable. This isn't normally a problem because after a few days (which varies from bank to bank, 2 days to a week is common, but it can be as long as two weeks) the bank will "time out" the charge, it will be removed from your statement and the held funds will be released back to your account.

    So, yeah, check with Telltale to make sure the order didn't go through. If it didn't, and it probably didn't, then that charge will vanish from your bank account after a few days and the money will come back to you automatically.

  • @thesporkman said: This exact same thing happened to me before. The charge didn't actually go through on Telltale's end. On your digital statement, it probably lists a date by which the charge is supposed to go through. After that date passes, the charge should disappear from your statement and the money will reappear in your account. At least that's how it worked for me. It's still a good idea to wait for Telltale's reply and see whether or not the charge went through on their end.


    Heh, and it being so close to the holidays I imagine Visa/Mastercard/Amex servers are getting slammed, too.

  • You sir, are a saint. Your patience through this ordeal is admirable and I hope everything gets cleared up. I wish more people would act like you when something goes wrong in retail.

  • @DeloreanH8er said: You sir, are a saint. Your patience through this ordeal is admirable and I hope everything gets cleared up. I wish more people would act like you when something goes wrong in retail.

    I've worked retail before and I know how ridiculous it can be. Also, I've heard good things about their support team so I'm going to just let them do their jobs and cross my fingers that the good stories are true.

  • I replied to you last night at December 22, 2010 9:11 pm. Did you not see it?

  • @Amy Lukima said: I replied to you last night at December 22, 2010 9:11 pm. Did you not see it?

    nope. but I did get your private message!

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    OMA

    So was this issue resolved? Just curious :)

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