Illinois Law Spurred By Final Fantasy XI Cancellation Issues

Illustration for article titled Illinois Law Spurred By Final Fantasy XI Cancellation Issues

Canceling your subscription to Final Fantasy XI isn't easy. Illinois resident Alex Edwards found this out after playing the game for a few months. He couldn't cancel online, and no phone number was readily apparent. Eventually his parents got the number off their credit card statement and managed to cancel the account after being on hold for 45 minutes, but this wasn't good enough for Alex or his parents, one of which - Frank Edwards - is an alderman in Springfield, Illinois and a good friend of his local State Rep. To make a long story short, Illinois just passed a law that makes Final Fantasy XI illegal. Well not FFXI specifically, but the amendment to the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act passed this week makes it an unlawful business practice to run an internet gaming service without some way of canceling the service online, without requiring customers to call a phone number or mail a letter. Hit the jump for the full synopsis of the law.

Provides that an Internet gaming service provider that provides service to a consumer, for home and personal use, for a stated term that is automatically renewed for another term unless a consumer cancels the service must give a consumer who is an Illinois resident: (1) a secure method at the Internet gaming service provider's web site that the consumer may use to cancel the service, which method shall not require the consumer to make a telephone call or send U.S. Postal Service mail to effectuate the cancellation; and (2) instructions that the consumer may follow to cancel the service at the Internet gaming service provider's web site.

Square Enix's course here is pretty clear. Cancel the accounts of anyone living in Illinois. That'll show em! Online Fantasy Game's Absurd Cancellation Policy Leads To New Law [Silicon Alley Insider via Game Politics]

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They need to expand this way past just gaming services. There are far too many services that make it a bitch to cancel. I know that's half the point, but it's awful.

My XM radio broke a while back and was on my mother's family plan. Since getting a Zune and subscribing to podcasts, I hadn't cared for months, so finally told her to cancel it. She had to call, wait through a long hold, and then speak to a representative who did everything he could to keep her from canceling. First he offered her three free months of service (like that's useful on a broken radio), then told her it would be no problem, he was going to take care of the problem for her by sending out a brand new radio free of charge. She told him she didn't want a new radio, just wanted the line canceled. He continued to ignore that and offer the radio, free months of service, and all sorts of things between putting her on hold and other statements. Eventually she hung up on him in frustration. He called back. Wanted her address to send the radio to. She hung up again. He called back three more times. Finally I called in a few hours later and found the account had been successfully canceled. Then they charged her credit card for three more months a few days later anyway, and couldn't credit back to her for an additional three months.

There need to be some laws in place to help protect the consumer against this kind of treatment. I had no issues with XM and could have seen myself returning to them after a need for a new radio arose. They kind of burned out that interest.