I purchased a lovely red and black 3DS XL on Black Friday from the Toys R Us Canada Website. Then, in my infinite wisdom, I decided that I was too impatient and went out on Saturday morning to get it directly from the brick and mortar store. I figure, since I can return the one I got from online once it arrives, things should be fine, right? (I’ll be out the shipping costs but that’s besides the point. :E)
So after receiving the package yesterday, I got all the paperwork together and headed to the store this morning.
Here’s what you’re supposed to bring as noted in the shipping e-mail and on the packing slip as well:
Easy Returns: You can return an item in any of our store locations across Canada or return directly to our warehouse. Simply follow the steps below for instructions on our return process:
Visit a Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us Store
1. Please pack the product in its original packaging.
2. Bring a copy of your packing slip.
3. Bring a copy of your confirmation email.
I brought all of this but was denied a refund back onto my MasterCard. Why? Because the confirmation e-mail I brought wasn’t the one they needed. It was supposed to show the credit card number on it.
I thought for a bit and wondered if I missed an e-mail because the order confirmation one sure didn’t have anything about what card I used or the card number.
Anyway, in my infinite wisdom again and since a line was forming, I opted for the store credit. So now, I am out $200 on my credit card. I suppose I could use all of that for Christmas shopping but I never meant my budget to be that high this year. 😛
Once I got back home, I doubled checked every damn e-mail I got from Toys R Us. NOTHING had a credit card number on it.
Hell, here it is. Sorry for the size but it was the only way to show it on a single page. (It can be enlarged a bit if it’s clicked on though.):
Then I decided to log into my account at the Toys R Us Website.
THERE IT WAS. This is what they’re looking for:
Under Payment Method, it shows the card + last 4 digits. But as the caption reads, THIS IS NOT A CONFIRMATION E-MAIL. It’s a fucking order status on the fucking WEBSITE. If you want people to bring this, you should explicitly state so.
Returning to a Toys”R”Us/Babies”R”Us Store
To avoid paying shipping to return the item you can bring your purchase to the nearest Toys”R”Us/Babies”R”Us Store. Please bring the following items with you:
Confirmation email (This is used to confirm original method of payment)
Please pack the product in its original packaging
I didn’t check this earlier but if I did, I may have been scratching my head and wondering how they could confirm my method of payment without it being listed and I would have did more investigation. But hey, maybe they could check via order number or something? Who am I to argue what’s written there?
However, the point still stands that they’re looking for a bloody confirmation e-mail. And why the fuck the payment info isn’t listed in the order confirmation in the first place is beyond me. Maybe it is in the US?
At any rate, I shot off a letter of complaint to them and requested to have my store credit reversed and put back on my MasterCard. Yeah, you can argue that it should be common sense to show something that indicated how the purchased was paid but I followed their instructions to the T and it shouldn’t be my responsibility to hunt down missing information for their convenience. I thought all they would have needed was an order number to verify in the system or something. Well, they wanted the confirmation e-mail andthey fucking got it.
Edit: Since I requested that they change the wording in the return policy regarding the term “confirmation e-mail”, here’s a screencapped version of the instructions in case it’s changed at some point.
Edit #2: This is gold. Customer service has reading comprehension issues.
Here’s the message I sent via the “Contact Us” form as quoted by the service agent that replied a few hours after I sent:
Here is the reply. Note that utterly unhelpful it is. On top of that, it’s clear that they just use generic replies:
Thanks for completely ignoring my issue. Gonna reply to it soon.
Kairospot regulars may notice that a few staff members no longer hold any sort of staff-related titles or even have profile pages anymore. It’s because we’ve been banned; all of us (I’m nunuu) , including innocent new recruits that were brought in recently to man the Gamerspot (Kairospot’s sister site) YouTube channel. They didn’t even know what was happening and were removed from their positions even before they started.
Edit on Oct 28: I’ve been notified by Prohibit that the YouTube staffers weren’t banned. There was a misunderstanding/misinterpretation on the part of the parties involved.
Here’s the low-down:
All I Want Is Your Money
The ban-fest came about after former writer/moderator, Loopy Kay, outed the questionable ethics and behaviour of the founder, Prohibit. You may lend some compassion to someone if he told you that donations meant for the message forum were used to pay bills and other life necessities. After all, a sob story about losing one’s job and needing money to sustain a living for a short while might pull on some heartstrings.
However, how would you feel if you discovered that all donation money went to his personal PayPal account and that he never had the intention to tell the community about how the money was being used? And that an apology and admittance to forum subscribers only happened due to pressure from staff? Moreover, how would you feel if you discovered that the money that you handed over out of goodwill with the expectation that it will be used toward expanding and improving a website and community that you enjoy was used for other things like, say, luxuries?? No, I don’t have proof of this myself but fellow staff have put the pieces together. I mean, when you’re strapped for cash and suddenly start praising the hell out of a new electronic gadget you bought, something’s not right.
As a donator myself, I expected the money to go where it was meant to go and if it didn’t, then I believe that even a short message explaining that the funds would be used to for personal reasons and such would have been warranted. (Hell, I covered the cost to have an enhanced search engine to be implemented. It never happened.) Unfortunately, the attitude regarding this matter boiled down to “it’s my site, I can do whatever I want with the money.” In short, your donations were being used as someone’s supplementary income.
I’ll Just Sit Back & Relax While You Do All The Work
While this impacted subscribers, staff endured another type of mismanagement; Prohibit disappeared without prior notice for an extended period of time. No one knew why or what happened. Kairospot co-founder, Steve10, also went MIA for a bit as well but did check in briefly to explain that he was absent due to health reasons and work. While DaveNg88 and I were administrators, our hands were tied. We lacked certain editing permissions, weren’t fully accustomed to the forum software, Xenforo, to look into registration issues potential new members were reporting via Kairospot Facebook page, and couldn’t implement anything without first consulting with him. It was essentially being at a workplace without a manager for weeks on end.
Kairospot was self-sustaining since it was mostly a message forum. There were a few technical hiccups which were dealt with by fellow staff member and Xenforo expert, Forsaken. Gamerspot, on the other hand, was meant to be an actual, full-fledged website with content spanning from new game coverage to reviews to opinion pieces on the game industry and gamers. In the absence of management, Dave went above and beyond his role as admin at Gamerspot and got all writers into a publishing schedule which saw the site active with a continual stream of new articles throughout the summer. Sadly, this was shortlived.
I Give You Empty Promises
When Prohibit and Steve returned, things seemed to be back on track but it was not long after that staff came to know about the embezzlement issue mentioned earlier in this post. At this point, we began to doubt Prohibit’s position as our, for a lack of a better word, manager. As it turns out, he was looking to rely on Forsaken and the admins to essentially shoulder his role. The fact of the matter was that no one ever agreed to this nor was such expectations ever mentioned. We all signed on to helpout the site NOT to run it and call all the shots.
Prohibit took our concerns lightly and when Forsaken confronted him about his behaviour during a Skype conversation, he even went as far as to state that if we didn’t like what was happening, we were free to leave since we were all easily replaceable. After a short while though, he backpeddled and profusely apologized for not fulfilling his duties and for being inaccessible for matters regarding his sites. Prohibit promised to change, swearing that there would be more transparency on decision making and that he would become more involved with both Kairospot and Gamerspot. For a while, he really did seem to make the effort to uphold the promises by becoming more active, setting up a staff directory with contact information among other things, and a group PayPal account accessible by all administrators. But the cycle began again as he soon fell back into the habit of not doing anything.
About a couple of weeks later, the ball dropped again.
Someone’s Paying Me Big Bucks. Sweet.
Kairospot broadened its horizons to cover more than just Kairosoft. It fact, it became a second home to up-and-coming mobile developer Epic Devs. The developer had their own subforum and released two exclusive tech demos of Epic Pirates Story for the community to try out. Kairospot goers warmly welcomed Epic Devs and they soon became a household name.
However, about a week ago, the subforum disappeared. Staff were unaware of the reason and couldn’t properly answer inquiries from members; we were just as in the dark as they were. Once again, Prohibit took it upon himself to do something without giving any notice or explanation. The obvious mentality here is “it’s my site, I can do whatever I want with it”. To put this in perspective: can you imagine working in an environment where management spontaneously changes things like moving stock, changing floor layouts, or even policies without telling employees? Imagine the impact this would have when interacting with customers.
On a personal note, I never knew that we changed from a simple donation system to a subscription model until a member complained about it. My initial reply stated that we didn’t have one. But I thought it was kind of odd that someone would mistaken the option to donate however much he wanted as a monthly recurring charge for a fixed amount. So I checked the donation page and saw something that was implemented out of the blue. Needless to say, I quickly edited my before a reply to it could be made. I am certain that you can see how foolish my original reply would have made me, an administrator of the site, look. But I digress. Back to the issue with Epic Devs.
I’m Just Going to Wait Things Out
It was uncovered that the developer had been paying Prohibit to have a section on the forum. That, in itself, isn’t a shocker since paying to get more exposure and publicity is common practice for companies. However, due to a small set back on the developer side, Prohibit was notified that the funds weren’t readily available this month. He then promptly removed the subforum without compromise and contacted them afterwards. No amount of grace period or compassion was given.
Prohibit disappeared again for a few days following the incident. And this was the last straw; the patience of staff members finally took its toll. We gave Prohibit the benefit of the doubt and expected transparency and discussions regarding the sites that we helped build and manage. But, once again, things happened behind our backs.
I’m Going to Ban The People That Made Kairospot What It Is Today
This was when Loopy engaged in whistleblowing and revealed what was happening behind the scenes to all members of Kairospot. They deserved to know that they were being exploited, that all Prohibit cared about was making a community that he could profit from. (Prohibit would fervently defend his claim that Kairospot and Gamerspot weren’t making him any money. However, let me remind you that any denomination of money given to his PayPal account, and even ad revenue, were pocketed. It may not have been every penny but a fair bit of it never went back into either website.) Most of all, they deserved to know that the Kairospot founder was incapable of handling responsibility and didn’t understand the meaning of team work.
Of course, like in a real workplace, leaking the truth will get one fired. In our case, we were all demoted and kicked off of both the ‘Spots.
Our Future Beyond the ‘Spot Network
Talk about creating a new gaming community was discussed between staff during Prohibit’s absence, and it was never kept a secret from him either. We stuck with Kairospot and Gamerspot because we all decided to give him a second chance to see if he could really stand by his word. But most of all, we loved the community. It’s unfortunate that things fell through.
We have since moved onto greener pastures. You can find us over at our new home, AdeptGamer. It’s not meant to be a rival of Prohibit’s work since it was mainly started as a place where we could stay together and continue talking and writing about a hobby that we all love and enjoy. We promise to continue providing the warm and friendly environment that people have become used to at Kairospot as well as awesome articles, guides, and multimedia for your viewing pleasure. There may not be too much there as of this writing since we’re just kicking off the site but I can assure you that it will not stagnate like Gamerspot. We have dedicated founders who are literally in the business of making and hosting websites and talented staff that’s really motivated. Please drop by and have a look~! ^____^
The post was deleted a few hours after it went up at Kairospot. It paints a more darker picture than what I wrote. I just didn’t feel it necessary to list the nitty gritty details to get my point across although I can vouch that what Loopy has outlined was true. We had a lot of projects planned but none of them ever took off since Prohibit was always more interested in refining website designs rather than looking into their content and anything else related to them like proper site promotions (especially for Gamerspot) or merchandise. We actually had a pretty fun T-shirt design contest a long while back. I THINK we selected a winning design but it didn’t matter in the end since making T-shirts went on the back burner.
What was really sad was that some of the projects were meant to be perks for donators. Instead, all they got were sparkling usernames, special icons denoting their status, and the ability to edit their title. There was probably more (other than access to Game Dev Story 2) but they were probably just forum options.
I realize this isn’t new news but I figure I’d play my part and spread the word because, frankly, this is quite disgusting.
SE has been known for its zany pricing which has been loving dubbed as “Square (Enix) Tax” by various iOS gamers. A lot of times, people could see that a port of a PSP or Nintendo DS game, while still running close to $20 US, is relatively cheaper than buying the game to play on the parent system. And then there are those that will also defend the pricing scheme of critically acclaimed titles like the Chaos Rings series that are made specifically for the mobile platform. These particular fans will tell you that the quality of the games justify the premium prices.
Finally, you get something like Demons’ Score, a $7 US rhythm action game with a whopping $35+ worth of in-app purchases. You may think that it’s just for virtual currency and silly little aesthetic changes but NOPE. These IAP are content-based; that is, unless you want to play the same two music tracks ad infinitum, be prepared to donate your life savings to Square.
Strangely enough, Japan is not affected by this madness. While the title is sold at a higher price from the get-go, all content is already included. Simply put, for roughly $20 US, you get the entire game. To drive home the point, you can see the pricing comparison with screenshots at http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/iPhone/Demons’+Score/news.asp?c=45198
The revelation of the price discrepancy obviously isn’t going over very well with gamers around the world. However, I came across a post over the forums at The Escapist that suggests that it’s plausible SE considered the chance that Demons’ Score wouldn’t really be something the international market would eat up with a $20 price tag. Now, if there really was some sort of market research that was done to determine the possible behaviour and reaction of international rhythm gaming fans, Square Enix fans, and iOS gamers to the title, then why didn’t they just convert the $7 game to a free Lite version or at least reduce the price? (The obvious answer is that they wanted to make some sweet profit from the “trial” version. Kind of sickening.)
Honestly, I’m down with people defending the prices of ports and some of Square’s other premium priced games, but I can’t imagine anyone approving them for gouging users like this.