Author Topic: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?  (Read 16123 times)

Burnt Toast

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2012, 11:57:37 PM »

I doubt they are worried about a class action lawsuit; because the majority of players have no merit in such a claim. Those that do have a claim and decide instead to seek relief from their financial institution null their ability in such a claim...what is left are a few people who NCSoft can drag a long for years for what $90?


Richard Garriott's claim is/was completely different than those few players who subbed for 6/12 months and will have some time left on their subs after 11/30/2012.


My advice is for individuals to contact their banks/credit card companies as soon as possible and seek reparations through them. A class action suit will not bring this game back...it will not garner anyone thousands of dollars (except a lawyer), and is completely unrealistic in terms of winning. I think it is great people are so passionate about the game, but sometimes you have to set aside that passion and look at things from a realistic point of view.





NCSoft has already had to pay Richard Garriott $32 million in damages over the way they handled his departure from poor doomed Tabula Rasa. The Texas court that ruled on the case awarded him $28 million in 2010...

http://www.statesman.com/business/technology/garriott-wins-28-million-jury-award-in-ncsoft-831054.html

...but NCSoft chose to appeal the decision - and lost. The revised figure of $32 million includes interest and legal fees.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/127833/Appeals_Court_Upholds_Garriotts_32_Million_Case_Against_NCSoft.php#.UFZg1a7KP_k

Something tells me that they'd be somewhat disinclined to face another protracted legal battle in the US courts, so I suspect they've made sure there aren't any legal loopholes available for exploitation in the actions they've taken with City of Heroes thus far.

However, I'm an artist not a lawyer, so there's a good chance I may be completely wrong ;)
There is another possibility of course - they may have plans for the continued existence of CoH outside the company, and therefore aren't worried about the possibility of class actions coming back to bite them in the behind at a later date...

TonyV

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2012, 12:00:33 AM »
And if you think NCSoft would "settle" and give up an IP worth millions you are sadly mistaken. The most an individual could sue for is the amount they are out; with an upwards limit of $100 (Read the User Agreement people).
...
Realistically let's look at this:
The absolute MOST a person could claim would be 9 months IF they completed a 12 month sub on 8/30/2012 since the game is open until 11/30/2012 (3 months). 9 months @ $15 = $135. How many people did that... a handful maybe. Most people will have 2-6 months left if they bought in bulk once 11/30/2012.

Not to be a Puppy Upper, and my strong disclaimer is that I am most emphatically not a lawyer, all of this is hypothetical, and I am really hoping that it doesn't come to that, but there are a few things that I think makes this case unique.

First, as was pointed out in the top post, NCsoft was actively taking money from people for a service and virtual items that they knew would be worthless in three months.  Yes, the Terms of Service say that they have the right to cancel the service at any time, but there's just something skeevy about taking money from people--in some cases, $100+--for something that you know is going to be completely worthless after November.  It's a little like selling someone a car "AS IS" that you know has a bum engine in it that will give out in three months and not disclosing that fact.  Based on financial reports, the active development team, posts regarding future content (which I am not blaming Paragon Studios for--they were misled as well), it was a reasonable expectation for the people plopping down money that the service would last more than three months. And if, for example, I had just re-upped for a year or plopped down $100 in the store for a block of Paragon points, I would feel strongly that I'd been ripped off--effectively sold a car with a bum engine that NCsoft knew would stop working November 30 without that being disclosed.

Second, while class action lawsuits rarely recompense the class in any meaningful manner, they are expensive to defend.  If there were such a lawsuit, it would cost NCsoft a lot of money and other resources, money and resources they undoubtedly don't want to spend.  Even if there were no class action lawsuit but people started filing mass numbers of small claims cases all around the United States, it would cost even more money and other resources.  My point is that even if there is little to nothing for any individual person to gain from doing this, the sheer hassle of it might entice NCsoft to seek to transfer the property--including any potential legal liability--to someone else so that they don't have to deal with it.  (And if it happens to be someone who keeps the game up and running, it would be highly likely that the legal liability goes away since the service will remain intact.)

Having said all of that, while I understand how you feel, I'm not suggesting any specific course of action one way or another.  And I must reiterate, I am not a lawyer.  If you want to follow this course of action, I'd suggest retaining the services of one.  If someone reading this is a lawyer, under the understanding that you're not providing legal advice, feel free to chime in.

Joshex

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2012, 12:16:21 AM »
First off, I am not a lawyer.
That said, my understanding that is in cases like this, the suit will not be against NCsoft proper, the international company from South Korea, but NCsoft West, its wholly own US subsidiary. NCsoft West is an US Corporation that is subject to all the Laws of the United States. It would also be subject to all states that it has a physical presence in (e.i. Texas, Washington state and California) as well as any state the company does business in (Most likely, all of them.) In summary, all the normal laws that apply to a US Corp apply here

you may not be aware but corporations utilize subsidiaries as an escape method from liability, for example in this case it wasn't the US NCsoft that made the decision to 'can' CoH, instead it was the US subsidiary's boss in korea, NCSoft korea expects us to target thier US subsidary when they are actually legally responsible for the bad action.

Although the US Subsidiary must take orders from the original company owners in korea, the Korean NCSoft may have done what most multinational corporations have done, which is; Force the other national subsidiaries to provide their own economic growth and funding due to the fact that they are technically separate companies due to their founding in another country.

it's what slime-balls do to escape liability on their own behalf.

further more the Korean Head of the company could be targeted with the right court-plan. but we'd need help from the US branch of NCSoft to get that information of who gave the be-header orders to chop. this maybe improbable.

but still the court case could go through targeting the korean company as a whole, but again I suggest not suing for money but rather the livelihood of the game itself. and only after all current negotiations with ncsoft are done and only if those negotiations fail.

though My legal council to those who want to definitely pursue this if the negotiations fail; get your evidence now, you need proof of purchases with dates, and correlated data of the cut-off date from NCSoft, also your purchase date should be before the date NCSoft announced the cutoff of CoH. you also need proof that no refund was given. a simple recording of bank statements of the account you used to pay for COH last will do fine.

remember sue for bait and switch, not compensation, and definitely not bait and switch and compensation as you will not rescue the game that way.
There is always another way. But it might not work exactly like you may desire.

A wise old rabbit once told me "Never give-up!, Trust your instincts!" granted the advice at the time led me on a tripped-out voyage out of an asteroid belt, but hey it was more impressive than a bunch of rocks and space monkies.

Burnt Toast

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2012, 12:27:30 AM »

And for those people who do decide to actually try and sue... good luck getting your actual money back (not being a jerk...being a realist).


Going forth with litigation does not allow you to seek a refund from your financial institution. You cannot sue for/dispute something that has been given back to you already.


Regarding the cash spent on the paragon market - there is NOTHING saying a user could not be using those points NOW. NCSoft did not stop one's ability to buy costumes, services, etc with paragon points. There is no guarantee on time limits for costumes, etc... which is explicitly laid out in the TOS/User Agreement. Is it crappy...sure...but it is legal. The game ha snot ended and you can still use those hundreds or thousands of paragon points you purchased; not doing so is your choice and is not indicative of legal wrong doing on NCSoft's part; just plain greed. NCSoft does not have to provide 6 months notice.. or 1 year notice...and legally they did not have to even provide a 3 month notice (which was a smart choice for them to do legally to help circumvent refunds for anyone with 3 month subs etc).


I am not a lawyer either, but part of my degree forced me to take 2 years worth of legal studies courses. I will say it again..and again... Your best bet is to go through your financial institution/credit card company. If you wait too long you can lose your right to dispute the charges by NCSoft...and then are left standing there going WTF!?!?


At this point I am getting so agitated by all the hate, misinformation, etc that is out there that I am simply ready to uninstall CoH and call it a day. When I see threads like this and people trying to paint a class action suit as something actionable/justified it irritates me to no end. People on this forum and the official forums are spreading misinformation left and right. Meanwhile the petition is stalling out. The former devs seem to have moved on. The rumored negotiations have gone silent (not even a "we are still talking to NCSoft" post from anyone. I am tired of feeling like I am completely in the dark. I am tired of having to inject reality into threads to get people to not make huge mistakes. The direction of this movement seems to have splintered and spun out of control. People claiming this and that just to get others going, get people's hopes up... so frickin aggravating.


I think I will back off everything until Wednesday's coffee talk and see if Zwill says anything with any type of indication of how things are going. If he him-haws and doesn't even say something like "We are still trying to see what can be done." or "Negotiations are still on going" I think that will be my cue to bow out. I can't keep fighting and hoping when there is no light to look to for inspiration. At this point in time it is taking everything I have to not call people out personally on their lies on these forums and the official ones.


TonyV you have done a great job, but I think if this Save CoH campaign is going to work we need more people involved in the actual campaign at the top...organizing more things...speaking with someone official and relaying TRUE information. People all over, like myself, are beginning to lose hope that anything productive can be done.

Not to be a Puppy Upper, and my strong disclaimer is that I am most emphatically not a lawyer, all of this is hypothetical, and I am really hoping that it doesn't come to that, but there are a few things that I think makes this case unique.

First, as was pointed out in the top post, NCsoft was actively taking money from people for a service and virtual items that they knew would be worthless in three months.  Yes, the Terms of Service say that they have the right to cancel the service at any time, but there's just something skeevy about taking money from people--in some cases, $100+--for something that you know is going to be completely worthless after November.  It's a little like selling someone a car "AS IS" that you know has a bum engine in it that will give out in three months and not disclosing that fact.  Based on financial reports, the active development team, posts regarding future content (which I am not blaming Paragon Studios for--they were misled as well), it was a reasonable expectation for the people plopping down money that the service would last more than three months. And if, for example, I had just re-upped for a year or plopped down $100 in the store for a block of Paragon points, I would feel strongly that I'd been ripped off--effectively sold a car with a bum engine that NCsoft knew would stop working November 30 without that being disclosed.

Second, while class action lawsuits rarely recompense the class in any meaningful manner, they are expensive to defend.  If there were such a lawsuit, it would cost NCsoft a lot of money and other resources, money and resources they undoubtedly don't want to spend.  Even if there were no class action lawsuit but people started filing mass numbers of small claims cases all around the United States, it would cost even more money and other resources.  My point is that even if there is little to nothing for any individual person to gain from doing this, the sheer hassle of it might entice NCsoft to seek to transfer the property--including any potential legal liability--to someone else so that they don't have to deal with it.  (And if it happens to be someone who keeps the game up and running, it would be highly likely that the legal liability goes away since the service will remain intact.)

Having said all of that, while I understand how you feel, I'm not suggesting any specific course of action one way or another.  And I must reiterate, I am not a lawyer.  If you want to follow this course of action, I'd suggest retaining the services of one.  If someone reading this is a lawyer, under the understanding that you're not providing legal advice, feel free to chime in.

B_L_Angel

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2012, 12:40:57 AM »
I know this sounds small and petty as I write this but,

My plan is to  file suit in small claims court.  Currently I am trying to determine if I can sue in my local jurisdiction and not have it immediately tossed out.  If thats the case and I can force NCsoft to make an appearance I will gladly do so. It won't be about getting anything for myself it will be about hurting them just a little

Re: Class actions, I wouldn't hope for anything from them. The lawyers get their fees the plaintifs get coupons.

GuyPerfect

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2012, 12:55:28 AM »
It is my belief that the decision to drop Paragon Studios and City of Heroes was made on or just a couple of days before August 31, the date of the announcement.

Victoria Victrix

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2012, 01:11:17 AM »
I'm still waiting for a real lawyer to weigh in on this.  I know there are a couple here.  Forgive me but the minute you preface your words with "I'm not a lawyer but...." it just becomes "In my opinion as someone who watches a lot of TV."
I will go down with this ship.  I won't put my hands up in surrender.  There will be no white flag above my door.  I'm in love, and always will be.  Dido

TonyV

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2012, 01:50:43 AM »
I'm still waiting for a real lawyer to weigh in on this.  I know there are a couple here.  Forgive me but the minute you preface your words with "I'm not a lawyer but...." it just becomes "In my opinion as someone who watches a lot of TV."

That's exactly the spirit in which my post should be taken!  ;D  With a good enough scriptwriter, director, cast and film crew, I can win ANY case!  Bring 'em on!

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2012, 02:47:47 AM »

Or maybe I dunno...wait...to see what reparations they are going to be making to those customers who will have paid for time past 11/30/2012??


I highly doubt any lawyer worth anything would pick up a class action suit in this case - we are not looking at MILLIONS owed...more likely a grand total of probably $15,000-60,000 spread among 1,000 to 3,000 people. Most players have absolutely no right to refunds as NCSoft gave a 90 day notice. Every single person I played with regularly in game either did the 1 month or 3 month subs - which means NONE of them would even be eligible for any type of refund. I think some people are blowing this WAY out of proportion at what could happen. A Class action lawsuit will not force NCSoft to sell, it will not get people hundreds of dollars, and frankly can/would probably take YEARS for almost no benefit if it COULD even be won (highly unlikely).


I get it that people are hurt and they want NCSoft "to pay" for closing down COH, but realistically a class action lawsuit will achieve nothing in the grand scheme of things. Advising people to do this also negates their ability to deal with the issue on a individual basis with their financial institution/credit card company....you can't ask for a refund from your bank/credit card company AND sue for unused sub time. My advice is to follow the individualized approach if NCSoft does not contact you by going through your financial institution. NCSoft is not obligated to anyone who is not owed prepaid sub time past 11/30/2012...plain and simple.

I have a one year from May, just saying I should be owned something for my unused time. There has to be more than me out there.

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #29 on: September 17, 2012, 03:01:32 AM »
I'm still waiting for a real lawyer to weigh in on this.  I know there are a couple here.  Forgive me but the minute you preface your words with "I'm not a lawyer but...." it just becomes "In my opinion as someone who watches a lot of TV."

And to this I would caution: ANYBODY can come on here and state they're a lawyer.

Anybody.

The beauty of the Internet.

My advice, should somebody wish to pursue it... go speak to a REAL lawyer.

You know... face to face.

Olantern

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2012, 03:09:02 AM »
I'm still waiting for a real lawyer to weigh in on this.  I know there are a couple here.  Forgive me but the minute you preface your words with "I'm not a lawyer but...." it just becomes "In my opinion as someone who watches a lot of TV."

I'll weigh on in this tomorrow, when my brain isn't fried from mothership raids and TF's for several hours straight and I've had some time to look things up and think it through.  I've dealt a fair amount with fraud cases, though not in this context, so I can at least speak from experience.

Dr Shadow

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2012, 03:48:57 AM »

 Most players have absolutely no right to refunds as NCSoft gave a 90 day notice.


NcSoft never gave me a notice..Still waiting for that email. I found out when it was posted on the boards.
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dwturducken

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2012, 04:15:59 AM »
Pretty sure that's how we all found out.
I wouldn't use the word "replace," but there's no word for "take over for you and make everything better almost immediately," so we just say "replace."

SkyStreak

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #33 on: September 17, 2012, 04:25:23 AM »
One of my accounts was renewed on August 2 for another 12 months, and I bought another $100 worth of Paragon Points on one in late June.

I would have done neither if I knew this.

Burnt Toast

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #34 on: September 17, 2012, 04:26:26 AM »

Exactly...


Taking advice from someone who claims to be a legal expert/lawyer/etc regarding a legal issue over an internet forum - NOT a good idea.


If you are SERIOUSLY considering small claims etc - go see a real lawyer or at least call one.


No matter what though - I am urging people to contact their financial institution/credit card company soon as there are explicit time frames for disputing charges.



And to this I would caution: ANYBODY can come on here and state they're a lawyer.

Anybody.

The beauty of the Internet.

My advice, should somebody wish to pursue it... go speak to a REAL lawyer.

You know... face to face.

Dr Shadow

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #35 on: September 17, 2012, 04:26:45 AM »
Pretty sure that's how we all found out.


I would think that would make a case.
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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #36 on: September 17, 2012, 04:27:52 AM »
Case or not... if someone was planning to go this route, start now. By the time you get anywhere on a case like this is will be after November, if your lucky. The leagal system moves like some threw caltrops down in front of it.

Burnt Toast

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #37 on: September 17, 2012, 04:30:21 AM »
One of my accounts was renewed on August 2 for another 12 months, and I bought another $100 worth of Paragon Points on one in late June.

I would have done neither if I knew this.


Contact your credit card company, but I will caution you regarding this: You have no claim in regards to the paragon points. You purchased points - you got the points - what you do with those is your choice and you will have had 4 months to spend them as you like. The points were delivered with no condition that you would have 6 months..or a year to spend them...unlike a 12 month subscription.


On the other hand the unpaid time you are owed for 9 months since you cannot play from 12/1/2012 on.

Burnt Toast

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #38 on: September 17, 2012, 04:31:30 AM »

Actually the announcement has been on the NCSoft launcher since 8/31/2012 - whether you decided to read it or not was your choice.





Pretty sure that's how we all found out.

Burnt Toast

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Re: "Bait and Switch"/Fraud Class Action Suit?
« Reply #39 on: September 17, 2012, 04:34:00 AM »

You, like every other player, were given notice on 8/31/2012 when you opened the NCSoft launcher. It is still on there and gives notice of the games closure. It is the best place to tell people that the game is closing as emails change etc etc, but everyone has to open the launcher to play the game. And NCSoft is under no legal obligation to give you a 3 month notice....




I would think that would make a case.