In the red corner stands Streetroller, a Star Citizen backer who wants a refund from Cloud Imperium Games. Limbering up in the blue corner waits the CIG legal team and their terms of service. Who prevails?
Well, it turns out that boxing analogy isn't all that fitting. Wrestling might be more appropriate, with its rolling cast of visitors to the ring. Those visitors include LA's district attorney, the Federal Trade Commission, and the LA Department of Consumer and Business Affairs.
Related: looking for games, not legal dramas? Try these fantastic space games you can play right now.
Streetroller, who hasn't provided his real name during his account of this exchange, first contacted CIG requesting a refund on June 14, telling them Star Citizen “remains unfulfilled and no longer constitutes the product(s) I originally purchased”.
CIG responded by reiterating their terms of service (recently changed to make refunds harder to obtain). Specifically this passage, from that recent change:
“For the avoidance of doubt, in consideration of [Roberts Space Industry’s] good faith efforts to develop, produce, and deliver the Game with the funds raised, you agree that any Pledge amounts applied against the Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost shall be non-refundable regardless of whether or not RSI is able to complete and deliver the Game and/or the pledge items.”
Streetroller's move. He replied to that with the argument that he didn't agree to the latest terms of service, but instead the original ToS (accessible here via the good old Wayback Machine). The wording on that original document isn't as stonewall regarding refunds:
“You agree that any unearned portion of your Pledge shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the relevant pledge items and/or the Game to you within eighteen (18) months after the estimated delivery date.”
Star Citizen's initial ETA was November 2014, and eighteen months after that would have been May of this year, 2016.
Streetroller also brought up Asylum, a lucrative Kickstarter that the state of Washington successfully filed a claim against because it contravened the Consumer Protection Act. If Asylum was accountable to the CPA, Streetroller argued, Star Citizen is too.
CIG rejected his request for a refund once again. That's where the LA district attorney came in. Streetroller also contacted the FTC and LA DCBA to file complaints against CIG. After the latter were contacted by the DA, Streetroller was refunded $900 on June 23.
What followed was a lot more back and forth between the organizations and agents Streetroller filed complaints to and CIG, and the upshot of it all, after several more rejections, was a total refund of $2,560. Or $3000 as Streetroller states. The exact figure is unclear.
You can read through the whole exchange here - it's fascinating.
The DCBA also told Streetroller they urged others to come forward and file a complaint against CIG regarding refund policy. It's one to keep an eye on, with a precedent now having been set.
Thanks, PC Invasion.