Thursday, October 18, 2012

PSA: Check WoW Annual Pass Bill Dates

UPDATE (10/22): Wilhelm reports and I can confirm that that the cancel subscription button is no longer locked out for our accounts - it was still blocked when I wrote this post four days ago.  Most of the below advice stands - whether or not you were prevented from canceling previously due to this policy, you will be billed again until you change settings.  I'm also not inclined to give a ton of credit to Blizzard for changing their stance on this without any notice or comment on the very last weekend of the one-year pass window. 

This post is to advise World of Warcraft annual pass customers to check their billing information and, if they intend to cancel for whatever reason, to change their billing increment down to one month.  Blizzard rolled out its annual pass program for World of Warcraft about a year ago, which means that the more than 1.2 million players who signed up for it are going to start hitting the end of their commitments over the next week.  The following is NOT to argue the merits of a WoW subscription in general, but rather to call attention to a billing issue that may affect these players.

According to the Terms of Use for the Annual Pass promotion, players who signed up for the annual pass:
"must .... have provided Blizzard with a valid credit card which can be used by you to purchase World of Warcraft subscription game time on a recurring basis to participate in this offer.
...agree to maintain a fully paid up, World of Warcraft license that is in good standing with Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., or its authorized licensees for a twelve (12) month period beginning on the day that you sign up for the offer (the “Twelve Month Commitment”)."
A one-year subscription can be paid in two installments of six months each.  A reasonable person, such as myself or Wilhelm might reasonably have assumed paying for the second installment back in April insured that our commitments were met.  Blizzard has chosen to interpret this commitment to mean that you cannot withdraw consent for recurring billing until the expiration of your pass term.  The account page will not allow you to cancel recurring billing BEYOND the duration of the annual pass until AFTER it has expired.  Customer service also will not help - the best advice Wilhelm could get was to attach a pre-paid credit card with $1 on it so that it would pass the "is this a credit card?" check but fail to bill.

Personally, I have a bit over a day between the time the system claims my commitment will be satisfied and the time of my next billing.  Wilhelm was somehow less fortunate, and has only a few hours - according to his commenters, customer service is claiming that they will refund any charges resulting from being unable to cancel between the end of the annual pass and the next bill date.

My best advice would be for annual pass customers to check their billing information and, if they intend to cancel for whatever reason, to change their billing increment down to one month to ensure that if there is any billing dispute, the amount at issue is as small as possible. 

1 comment:

Wilhelm Arcturus said...

Customer service will not only not help, but they will say, when directly questioned, that they are absolutely not, in violation of US credit card laws, refusing to honor a request to stop billing your credit card, and then continue on to tell you that the are, in fact, refusing that very request. One guy managed to get that across in a single run-on sentence.

So I have a reminder setup. I have to cancel my account at some point on Monday after 10:03 AM Monday, but before 5:01 AM Tuesday.

Then I have an even smaller window of time for my daughter's account.

And then that will be that.