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12Monkeys
09-19-2010, 06:53 AM
I would like to raise a discussion about the actual behavior of Steam to disable an account without informing the user about it and without communication before the account is disabled.

In my case I get my account disabled first time after there was a problem with a PayPal transaction. A payment through PayPal has been confirmed OK to me and me, but was reported failed between PayPal and Steam. As a result the money was charged but the product was not delivered, because Steam said the transaction did fail. OK, so far. I opened a Steam support ticket and they told me whats wrong and to discuss it with Paypal to get my money back. Meanwhile I should repeat the deal and by it again. So I did. raise an incident there to get my money back. PayPals standard reaction is to communicate with Steam first to exchange infomation. As a result of this request of PayPal my Steam Account has been immediatly deactivated. There was NO email send, NO crosscheck with the open ticket (which has part of the PayPal incident ticket), NO try to sommunicate with me before. After I recognized that my account was blocked, I had not even a possiblilty to check somewhere WHY the account has been deactivated. It just was blocked without any known reason for me! I had to investigate all the things by my own and I had to raise a Steam Ticket again and I need to wait for 5 days, before my account has been reactivated. That means 5 days without Steam games. After all I got my money back from PayPal. At the end, the problem was something between Steam and Paypal which causes the complete problem. All this happend 4 weeks ago.

The second time I got my account blocked it right today. After successfully gaming yesterday,I was not able to enter my account today, because it was deactivated. Again, I have NO CLUE WHY. There was no deal the last days, the only thing I did, was to infrom Steam about a webside which seemms to do Steam Account Phishing. I got NO information, NO email, NO communication why my account is suddenly blocked. So I had to raise a ticket again and I'm sure that I have to wait again for several days before the problem will be solved.

Dear Steam: from my opinion this behavior is not OK. There might be reasons for deactivating an account, but AT LEAST you should communicate this with the user and tell them why. Better would be to start a dialoge PRIOR the deactivation, to avoid misunderstandings. In case there is a problem with a charging or anything else which is related to a specific game, you really should think about to deactivate that single game instead of blocking the complete account. I think that the realtionship between Steam and its customers should be based on trust and should be a partnership. Steam is paid by the Users and we have a certain right that the service we are paying for is fulfilled.

However, I would like the other users to comment this and to tell ybout their experiences with Steam. Am I the only one having those troubles? Are there more? Please respond.

WarLokk1980
09-19-2010, 07:01 AM
And people rant on about how they hate GFWL so much. At least this wouldn't happen over at GFWL. When you say your account has been deactivated does this mean you can't even access all the games you already paid for?

12Monkeys
09-19-2010, 07:07 AM
And people rant on about how they hate GFWL so much. At least this wouldn't happen over at GFWL. When you say your account has been deactivated does this mean you can't even access all the games you already paid for?


Yes, I can't open Steam GUI and I can't launch any Steam game directly. In total I have paid about 230 EUR (about 300 USD) for Steam based games the last 12 months. And there is NO CHANCE to get access to those games with a deactivated account! :(

Matt
09-19-2010, 07:08 AM
All the info about disabled accounts is located here:
https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=5406-WFZC-5519

Check the contact e-mail address for your Steam account to see if Steam Support has contacted you regarding the reason your account was disabled - accounts may be temporarily disabled pending verification of purchase information or account ownership.

Steam Support does not automatically contact the owners of disabled accounts in most circumstances.

TheDuality
09-19-2010, 07:09 AM
I have been hearing about things like this more and more recently - Valve need to realise and impress upon their customer services department that this kind of behaviour to consumers is simply not acceptable. Sure the EULA and license agreement etc may say that they can do what they want - but it isn't right.

Steam's customer support with things like billing and especially dealing with PayPal issues is awful. It desperately needs overhauling. The issue is that things like this don't happen to everyone and so until these issues are brought into the public eye, nobody will complain and nothing will change.

Steam is growing by the day - and it really needs to sort out it's customer service department to allow it to continue growing. Eventually, issues like this will hit critical mass - and even those that defend Steam despite all of its failings will start looking elsewhere for a digital distribution platform.

johann_
09-19-2010, 07:10 AM
Maybe i'm something missing here, but i really hate the Gift policy here, noone is safe when you receive a gift here even if its your best friend you know, and i don't see anywhere a warning that might warn me don't accept a gift. Yeah i know how stupid you have to be to accept a gift from a total stranger you met 1 min ago, but still. If you receive a gift from your friend he has bought a gift 2 you and there was a problem with transaction or indeed your friend f you up with fake purchase, and the end you get disabled or this gift is just removed from your library. Sorry but i'm totally confused about this gifting thing and the consequences here

12Monkeys
09-19-2010, 07:20 AM
All the info about disabled accounts is located here:
https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=5406-WFZC-5519

First of all the info on that page is of NO USE. You can only have a guess of which reason is the REAL reason the account is blocked for. And in my case, NONE of those mentioned reasons is valid or even likly.

Second, the statement that Steam doesn't inform the users when an account is deactivated is EXACTLY the topic I'm claiming about.

Last thing is that I can't check my account email because I have no access to my account (remember its deactivated). Nevertheless, I'm sure it is a correct email because I hasn't been changed the last months and I do recieve emails when puchase a game.

Matt
09-19-2010, 07:28 AM
The support page lists the most common reasons for disabled accounts. Support can provide more exact details on your specific case.

The following is a quote directly from the article: "Steam Support does not automatically contact the owners of disabled accounts in most circumstances." I understand this is the point of your thread. But they make it pretty clear that not contacting people in all cases is their policy.

Your contact email address is your Google, Hotmail, etc email on file in for your Steam account. Since email is not tied to a Steam account, the disable has no impact on you viewing email.

12Monkeys
09-19-2010, 07:46 AM
The support page lists the most common reasons for disabled accounts. Support can provide more exact details on your specific case.

The following is a quote directly from the article: "Steam Support does not automatically contact the owners of disabled accounts in most circumstances." I understand this is the point of your thread. But they make it pretty clear that not contacting people in all cases is their policy.

Your contact email address is your Google, Hotmail, etc email on file in for your Steam account. Since email is not tied to a Steam account, the disable has no impact on you viewing email.

Of cause i do check my emails, but in both montioned cases I havn't got any information from Steam about the reason they blocked my account.

And i still don't see any reason why they don't do this in ANY case. Even if there is a bot doing the deactivation they could send an email with some infos about the reasons why they think they have to block my account.

The support pages are of no use because they only list potential reasons and not the real reason which causes them to block my acount. Non of those potential reasons are valid in my case, so this page simply doesn't help me.

Matt
09-19-2010, 07:48 AM
Why is receiving an email with the reason so important? Keep in mind, even with an email, you'll still need to contact support.

TheDuality
09-19-2010, 07:58 AM
Why is receiving an email with the reason so important? Keep in mind, even with an email, you'll still need to contact support.

And that is why people are complaining! It is just good customer service to send an e-mail to the registered address for the account. It does not matter if people still need to contact support - it is just polite.

The vast majority of billing related account disabled issues are most likely (I am assuming) PayPal related or accidental - and the person at the receiving end of the disabled account is still a paying customer.

It is just a little courtesy, nothing more - and it is the little courtesies and things like sending you an e-mail with the reason that will make people more willing to work with steam support rather than shout at them. A little courtesy from the business you are dealing with can set the whole tone for the conversation that is about to pass.

12Monkeys
09-19-2010, 08:00 AM
Why is receiving an email with the reason so important? Keep in mind, even with an email, you'll still need to contact support.

It would help to speed things up. I would have a chance to react BEFORE I detect that I am not able to play the games I paid a lot of money for. If you block my account on Monday and I'm only a weekend gamer I would have several days to solve the problem before I noticed that my account is blocked on Friday when I want to play.

And to inform the customer when detecting any problems is only one part of my complaint. I also think that Steam should think about first to communicate and solve the problem prior to simply block the account. There might be a misunderstanding or a problem/error on Steam side. Why simply block the account and let all the hazzle on customer side? Why don't Steam ask frst "hey we found out that there is a specific problme, can you explain please?". In most cases this would lead to the same results but would increase customers satisfaction tremendously.

^G^o^G^G^o^
09-19-2010, 08:09 AM
Why does people always forget the fact that they don't actually own any of the games bought from Steam? You pay basically for lease and Valve hold all the rights and can disable your games by touchin a magic button. The Steam EULA isn't even legally sound in most countries outside US, but there is nothing(really) you can do about it.

This is the price you must pay to be able to play certain games.

mouton
09-19-2010, 08:15 AM
Why is receiving an email with the reason so important? Keep in mind, even with an email, you'll still need to contact support.It is probably quite a shocking experience for a user who used to be in a good standing, had a lot of games on Steam to have his account disabled all of sudden without any word of explanation. Especially if he/she liked Steam and perceived it as integral part of their internet/gaming life.

I mean, technically you are right, an email would change nothing in the sense of actual resolution. But simple courtesy like that would do a LOT in terms of perception of Valve by said user. Especially since automated emails with a stated reason for the disabling cost next to nothing.

Matt
09-19-2010, 08:19 AM
Moving thread to the Suggestions forum.

Gone'Postal
09-19-2010, 08:19 AM
They could just send a mail out that states that the account in question is now disabled, link to the support pages and ask the user\owner of the account to contact support for the reason.

But, I would not go into the reason for the ban in the automated mail.

VividNinjaScar
09-19-2010, 08:42 AM
Why does people always forget the fact that they don't actually own any of the games bought from Steam? You pay basically for lease and Valve hold all the rights and can disable your games by touchin a magic button. The Steam EULA isn't even legally sound in most countries outside US, but there is nothing(really) you can do about it.

This is the price you must pay to be able to play certain games.

According to the EULA, you don't own any boxed copies of your games either. Those don't disappear at a whim.

Gone'Postal
09-19-2010, 08:54 AM
According to the EULA, you don't own any boxed copies of your games either. Those don't disappear at a whim.


True, but you do lose the ability to play them if they have constant on-line copy protection & they shut the servers down.

(Running of info seen on the interwebs)

ester25
09-19-2010, 01:33 PM
And to inform the customer when detecting any problems is only one part of my complaint.

I also think that Steam should think about first to communicate and solve the problem prior to simply block the account.

1. Lack of communication is mainly to reduce phishing. Since Valve do not communicate first (via Community/Friends or email), any communication you receive should be treated with care and assumed to be fake before being proven genuine.
There has been quite a few cases where a hijacker sent an email to the owner stating that the account has been deleted for cheating/abuse etc and will never be activated again - to reduce chances of the owner contacting Support.

Remember - faking an email is very easy.

2. Steam deals with millions of transactions, acting on each one proactively would be very time consuming, especially since a lot of people think they can just a chargeback after finishing a game (because you can't resell Steam games). Most account disabling (especially due to payment issues) is done automatically.
When your account is disabled, you get a pretty clear message to contact Support to resolve it.

Even if they did try it out, how long do you suggest they should wait for your reply before disabling the account? A lot of people wouldn't bother or be in any hurry. Financial transactions need to be sorted out as soon as they occur, so by having your account disabled provides a good incentive to do so.

Mistakes/errors are quite common for any business, it's annoying when it happens to you, but you just got to accept that (if you haven't done anything wrong) it might take a few days but your account will be returned to you.

12Monkeys
09-19-2010, 04:36 PM
1. Lack of communication is mainly to reduce phishing. Since Valve do not communicate first (via Community/Friends or email), any communication you receive should be treated with care and assumed to be fake before being proven genuine.
There has been quite a few cases where a hijacker sent an email to the owner stating that the account has been deleted for cheating/abuse etc and will never be activated again - to reduce chances of the owner contacting Support.

Remember - faking an email is very easy.

2. Steam deals with millions of transactions, acting on each one proactively would be very time consuming, especially since a lot of people think they can just a chargeback after finishing a game (because you can't resell Steam games). Most account disabling (especially due to payment issues) is done automatically.
When your account is disabled, you get a pretty clear message to contact Support to resolve it.

Even if they did try it out, how long do you suggest they should wait for your reply before disabling the account? A lot of people wouldn't bother or be in any hurry. Financial transactions need to be sorted out as soon as they occur, so by having your account disabled provides a good incentive to do so.

Mistakes/errors are quite common for any business, it's annoying when it happens to you, but you just got to accept that (if you haven't done anything wrong) it might take a few days but your account will be returned to you.

ad 1.) phishing is always a problem in any aspect of modern internet transactions. But if someone is publishing his account details by email is a complete different problem and has nothing to do with proactivly communication. Any other branches are able to do a proactivly communication (banks, ebay, shops, ...) in case problems occur and only Steam is not able to make it work? Come on!

ad 2.) If there is is a problem with a specific transaction I would accept to block the related game but not the complete account. There is no relation!
In any case an automated email by the automatic blocking bot should be the minimum!

If someone really does a chargeback after playing the game than there is no difference for Steam if they first try to analyze this problem BEFORE deactiviating his account. Its just a question of some days and a bit more work. You can set a range of some days, before automatically deactivating the account, but FIRST communicate THEN act.

You may know the term "in dubio pro reo". That means, that you are not guilty unless it s proven that you are guilty. There is also a moral side of that topic. Steam is treating me guilty before even try to clarify the situation. They don't even TELL me that they have done anything and leave it to me to prove that I'm not guilty.

In any case I will change my behaviour and won't purchase any more games through Steam if there is an alternative. Thats for sure.

ester25
09-20-2010, 01:34 AM
In any case an automated email by the automatic blocking bot should be the minimum!


But why? What good is it going to be? Posting specific details in the email won't help, as first thing they have to do is establish you are the account owner by asking for certain proof, and that part can only be decided by a person (what specific game(s) purchasing details you will be asked)

12Monkeys
09-20-2010, 02:43 AM
But why? What good is it going to be? Posting specific details in the email won't help, as first thing they have to do is establish you are the account owner by asking for certain proof, and that part can only be decided by a person (what specific game(s) purchasing details you will be asked)

First of all, that is a simple technical issue. If the blocking bot is able to link the suspicious transaction to the my account, that he will also be able to identifiy the related purchase order. That means, he is able to detect what game (or whatever) is related to the transaction.

In this case a workflow can be triggered which could look like this:

Step 1: the bot sends an email to the account owner, that a certain transaction is suspicious and will be checked by Steam. Optional Steam can ask the account owener to contact Steam in advance, to speed things up. He also may add a warning, that this whole precedure may lead to an account blocking and that the related game will be blocked immediatly (if wanted so by Steam)

Step 2: put this whole case on the desk of a support member to check and verfiy. This support guy can get in contact with the account owner for further anaylsis and clarifications. In case there is somehting suspicious going on or there is a violation or problem, the account may beblocked support member. In case there is a simple misdunderstanding or technical reason the account will remain active. But than its human decision and not a stupid bot who will take action.

THIS would be something which is customer friendly and which would be based on trust!

Remember: blocking a complete account leads to the fact that ALL purchased games (or "leased" games to be more precise) are blocked. Not only the one which is reatled to a "possible" bot-detected problem.

There are a lot of other online games shops acting like this. Only Steam is not able to do so.

BTW: my account has been unblocked again. After asking what was the reason of the deactivation (I need to ask for it!) they said, that there was a "communication problem with PayPal". I suggest that after one week PayPal did send an info to Steam that the incident has been successfully solved. That email was detected by the bot who triggered the account deactiviation. Only a suggestion, but I'm sure its close to the truth!

ester25
09-20-2010, 03:30 AM
Step 1: the bot sends an email to the account owner, that a certain transaction is suspicious and will be checked by Steam. Optional Steam can ask the account owener to contact Steam in advance, to speed things up. He also may add a warning, that this whole precedure may lead to an account blocking and that the related game will be blocked immediatly (if wanted so by Steam)

I think you don't understand the whole "suspicious transaction" concept. This is not money laundering. Either Valve got the money, or they didn't. A billing error doesn't come up on Valve's credit card statement as "ERROR". They simply detect that no money has been received. Why would they waste time investigating chargebacks, they are not a bank. If the money hasn't arrived, as far as they are concerned it is fraud.

I think your real beef here is with Paypal. I know enough about how they work and people that work there (they have a large office where i live) to know how often they screw up. In fact if you look around these forums, vast majority of billing errors/issues are related to Paypal.

Get a credit card, and you will be sorted.

12Monkeys
09-20-2010, 03:49 AM
I think you don't understand the whole "suspicious transaction" concept. This is not money laundering. Either Valve got the money, or they didn't. A billing error doesn't come up on Valve's credit card statement as "ERROR". They simply detect that no money has been received. Why would they waste time investigating chargebacks, they are not a bank. If the money hasn't arrived, as far as they are concerned it is fraud.

I think your real beef here is with Paypal. I know enough about how they work and people that work there (they have a large office where i live) to know how often they screw up. In fact if you look around these forums, vast majority of billing errors/issues are related to Paypal.

Get a credit card, and you will be sorted.

OK lets go to details. In my case there were no chargeback there were only communication between PayPal and Steam. Only the "request" of Paypal to get information from Steam causes my account to be blocked. That was the first account deactivation some weeks ago.
In the second account deactivation (everthing was already sorted out, no money transfer did happen) my account was blocked due to any "communication problem". Looking at the history of this case this very likely was any eamil or info request again. Nothing about chargebacks or money transfer at all.

In both cases this "zero-tolerance" behavior is simply not cutomer friendly. If you know, that there are problems with PayPal then you should hit THEM and not your customers. This is the wrong end of solving the problem.

And even if there is really a problem with a chargeback and fraud, than it would make just a few days someone would get "unpaid" access.

EDIT: credit cards are very unsecure when dealing in the internet. Thats the reason why people are using services like PayPal. With credit cards you have a high risk of phishing.

real4xor
09-20-2010, 07:48 AM
:/ I think it`s odd they can just shut down your whole games account without a word, just because paypal has some "communication problems".
Infact it sounds like a load of crap.

A few month ago I suddenly couldn`t pay for my games anymore. And that has pretty much the same reason... blocked bc of "A communication problem" with Paypal.

If they can block steam partially, why would they block the whole damn account?

And please: "communication problems with paypal" doesn`t cut it to completely block a clients account. that`s crap. They should better inform clients. It`s not like they have to show all their security logs or anything, just say wtf they`d choose to lock your account.
How can I fix it for the future, if I don`t know what`s wrong? (All I know now is that I should probably drop paypal and get something else, but what?)

Gone'Postal
09-20-2010, 09:34 AM
EDIT: credit cards are very unsecure when dealing in the internet. Thats the reason why people are using services like PayPal. With credit cards you have a high risk of phishing.

Credit cards are fine, its the users that get phished.

You also have the protection policy of a credit card in case of "user" error.

ester25
09-20-2010, 09:53 AM
EDIT: credit cards are very unsecure when dealing in the internet. Thats the reason why people are using services like PayPal. With credit cards you have a high risk of phishing.

Ok, now you just lost all your credibility.

P.S. People use paypal if they don't have a credit card, or for direct money transfers for companies that do not operate credit card billings (sole traders/small businesses).

Regarding safety - check out the latest Paypal/iTunes fraud incident (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11065301)

Also i don't know what kind of fraud protection Paypal provides, but credit cards (at least in UK, and I am pretty sure anywhere else in civilised world) are covered by laws that provide a refund in case of fraud (your card being used without your consent)

12Monkeys
09-20-2010, 10:36 AM
Ok, now you just lost all your credibility.

P.S. People use paypal if they don't have a credit card, or for direct money transfers for companies that do not operate credit card billings (sole traders/small businesses).

Regarding safety - check out the latest Paypal/iTunes fraud incident (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11065301)

Also i don't know what kind of fraud protection Paypal provides, but credit cards (at least in UK, and I am pretty sure anywhere else in civilised world) are covered by laws that provide a refund in case of fraud (your card being used without your consent)

First: credit cards may be safe due to money returns in case you have problems, but due to the fact that you don't have any PIN or TAN or what ever to secure your transaction, the bad guy only needs to have those number you have to type in and thats it. You get your money back, but first you have a bunch of actions to do to get it back. The propability that you get in trouble with a credit card is defintily higher than with PayPal or any similar service.

Second: we're loosing the topic. This thread is dedicated to discuss about Steam and its actual way to deadl with customers and NOT about internet payments in general.

So please: back to topic!