I Felt A Great Disturbance In The Force…
… As if millions of bank accounts suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.
Now if you follow the MMO blogosphere closely you’ll likely have noticed a bit of a kerfuffle recently with regard to a little incident involving Warhammer Online and its billing practices. For those not in the know many accounts with active (and inactive) subscriptions to the flagging MMO were recently charged well in excess of their agreed upon frequency. Just to give you an idea of what that means, there have been reported cases of accounts being charged for several years in advance!
In some cases these charges resulted in overcharges on people’s credit cards which naturally resulted in a great deal of misfortune for those burdened with the unfortunate necessity of paying one’s bills. I could go on but suffice to say that Mythic has a major PR mess on their hands here, not to mention a serious legal problem. But I haven’t played WAR since its first month of release so why is it I am bringing all this up?
Well, it could be nothing, but I recently had my credit card flagged for fraud by my bank. I won’t go into the specifics of how they informed me of this (let’s just say I’m glad one of my parents has worked at this very same bank for my entire life or else I wouldn’t have known what was going on thanks to the ineptitude of the service representative I dealt with) but I will say that I initially suspected it was a scam trying to get my personal information. Still, not wanting to ignore this outright in case it was valid I dug deeper.
After much back and forth with many representatives on the phone I was eventually able to determine that yes, this was a very real security flag. Fortunately it wasn’t a serious one and after verifying that I was who I said I was they wanted me to also verify some recent activity on my account. What was this activity you ask? The online purchase of Everquest 2 as well as the setup of a future monthly payment plan for EQ2.
That was it.
At first I thought this was very strange as I had never been flagged for fraud because of a recurring payment before (which the representative very clearly pointed out was the primary reason for the flag) despite having had many such transactions in the past. But then it hit me! Perhaps this was all due to the Mythic muckup.
Obviously banks need to be protective of their assets and when you’re dealing with a mess like the one caused by Mythic there is ample opportunity for lawsuits as clients try to resolve overcharges and the like. It could be that many banks are now scrambling to make sure they aren’t in danger of this happening with similar vendors of online services, in my case Sony Online Entertainment.
I wonder if I would have had more transactions to account for had I not purchased a lifetime subscription to LotRO some time ago. I’m also curious if this has happened to anyone else recently. And I hope this isn’t just a coincidence because otherwise this post was more pointless than an XCOM FPS.