Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

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Kamerer
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Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by Kamerer » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:30 pm

In short: atrocious check-out process and delays.

After payment was made and funds deducted from my account, I was made to wait a while, vaguely defined as minutes to 12 hours, to be granted the right to download the product. That I'd paid for. Having experienced lengthy download times in the past, I had made a trip to a wired network to facilitate the download. So I was left sitting twiddling my thumbs, needing to go to another project while I left the download unattended. Instead I spent 15 minutes staring at an email account waiting to be allowed to download. After about that length, I called it quits and sent an email to reverse the purchase.

There is no defensible justification for taking payment and then fobbing off the customer that they can download later at your convenience. There was no warning of this prior to purchase, and I've never experienced it before with any vendor. It was a real poke in the eye. The download information came just after I pulled the plug, but I'd been more than generous with waiting. I've played all the West variants multiple times in beta, so was finally getting warmed up to purchasing the lot and playing.

Now, I'm one of the more loyal customers. I've played the main PC game, East, and AK for many, many hours and love them. I've participated in betas thoughtfully and seriously. So to offend me this way, a very loyal customer, takes some real incompetence at the point of sale. I can live without purchasing the West scenarios. They are good, I know. But I don't want to be made to feel like a chump during the purchase procoess. But Plimus did that, and I can vote with my feet and wallet.

[/rant]

ThvN
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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by ThvN » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:24 pm

Kamerer, I'm sorry to hear that you cancelled your purchase because you had to wait too long... But it's your call, I understand such things, I've walked out of shops because they let me wait too long.

One question though, are you 100% sure Plimus is to blame for the delay? Because banks are often quick to deduct a sum of money from your account, but when such a payment is received by the other party is a wholly different matter.

I had the opportunity to do some quick money transfers to people where I had instant feedback when the sum was transferred, and sometimes it can take a lot longer for unknown reasons. I've heard stories about the ICT department of a big bank in my home country(I have to protect my source here), and they are not very encouraging, let me tell you. So this might have happened in your case as well, but that is just speculation on my part. Have you had any previous experiences with buying through Plimus?

For full disclosure, my experience: after GC '45 West came out I ordered the three GC West (on disc), and I still have the purchase records: after I authorized the payment at 01:23 with my bank (yeah, it was late), the download links came in the mail at 01:25 (two minutes later), together with the order confirmation. The DVD shipment was later delivered within the promised time.

Longasc
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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by Longasc » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:34 pm

I had to wait for 1-2 hours once, too. Dunno why, one of the DLCs suddenly took longer to be verified. The others downloaded within <5 minutes.
I am not too happy about PLIMUS either. Always feeling uneasy when the payment gets processed and their reminder mails are somehow scary as well.

Steam will be a viable alternative, unless people have problems with STEAM in general. I was quite Anti-Steam long ago, but their service is good. This doesn't mean I am entirely happy to have a lot of games bound to my Steam Account.

Anyways, I hope you can get the DLC soon, I am quite confident Steam will greenlight Panzer Corps soon. I hope there will be a rebate for people who already bought all DLCs directly from Siltherine, but given how Steam works I must say it's rather unlikely. :/

Kamerer
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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by Kamerer » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:02 pm

ThvN wrote: One question though, are you 100% sure Plimus is to blame for the delay? Because banks are often quick to deduct a sum of money from your account, but when such a payment is received by the other party is a wholly different matter.
Good point, but I actually got the notice the money was out of the account a few milliseconds before the purchase confirmation came from Plimus. So the funds were there.

It was extremely aggravating, and for no good reason. Longasc's waiting 1-2 hours is atrocious. I know this has nothing to do with the content of the game, or quality that goes into that. But it's such a silly point on which to annoy customers. It's so, well, pre-digital, almost.

I really do hope there is a new distribution channel available soon. I'll hold off purchasing any new products until then.

Oh - and get this - to add insult to injury, when I emailed Plimus about cancelling the transaction, they re-directed me to yet another third-party - BluePoint or something - to open a "dispute." E.g., they wouldn't even directly address the fact the product had no been delivered, and ducked out of actually dealing with it. So now there's a vague "dispute resolution" process that will take up to a week to get a reply (not a resolution, just the courtesy of a reply). So massive fail #2 on doing electronic product distribution.

So, if I was disinclined to buy any more products before, that sealed it. I really like these games but no new purchases until a new distribution channel is available.

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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by VPaulus » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:35 pm

Hi Kamerer,
Sorry to hear what have happened with you. I do apologise for it. Sometimes the credit card companies, and more usually Paypal, do not process the payments in time. Plimus/Bluesnap will only send the link after the payment is completely processed. While I understand this is very annoying and regretful, that's something which unfortunately we cannot control. Please remember there are many intermediates involved between you and us. Your bank, your credit card company, Paypal and our ecommerce partner Plimus/Bluesnap. All we can do is apologise and assure you its a top priority for us and we really want to remove all barriers to people buying our games and are allocating significant resources to ensuring everything gets resolved.

Edit: Plimus is Bluesnap. They are gradually changing the name to Bluesnap. Bluesnap open the dispute for us, Slitherine/Matrix, to reply and assist you. That's the process.

@ Longasc
I know I might sound suspicious, but believe me I too had already problems with Steam processing my payments.

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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by ThvN » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:30 am

Thanks for the clarification, Kamerer. If I understand your first post correctly, you already became apprehensive when you learned only after the money transfer that the download would be available after 'a few minutes to 12 hours'. I must say I dislike ambiguously stated surprises as well.

I've no idea if 15-20 minutes is still a 'reasonable' delay (I mean in legal terms, sorry about my legalese), but Longasc's 1-2 hours is way too long, unless there was some other party to blame for a breakdown somewhere. But I'm a patient person, so I would probably shrug it off, as long as the transaction came through without any further action from my end.

Problem of the digital shopping world is that any complaint or problem still needs to be fixed by humans, and those are expensive compared to a webshop. So it usually ends up looking like a very big store with only a small customer desk in a different building. Although for some strange reason, often customer treatment is inversely proportional to the size of the company/institution :roll: .

It's very hard to judge a company purely through the internet, but for me one of the surest indicators of the level of professionalism of a company is the way they deal with complaints and disputes. But by then it can be too late, although I've been pleasantly surprised in the past. I've been on all three ends: as an employee trying to help customers, as a customer myself and as a third party in helping solve/settle disputes. So I have developed a thick skin and an almost indifferent approach, which I need to hide my short temper :P .

One of the biggest problems is that of expectations of the parties involved, I guess. I don't bat an eyelid when it takes a while to ship a DVD but when I have this nifty fibre-optic internet connection 24/7 and the product can be electronically distributed, I expect it to be delivered quite a bit faster. But I don't know how much faster it should be, and it would depend I guess.

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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by IainMcNeil » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:35 am

Hi guys,

sorry you are having problems. I assume this was a PayPal payment? The way it works is that when you make a payment the funds are immediately removed from your account, but that does not mean PayPal has paid them to us. We've had a number of problems with PayPal in the past and there can be a significant delay from when they remove it from your account to when we receive it.

If you give us the order number we'll look in to it and find out what went wrong. As mentioned above Plimus is Bluesnap and they are rebranding everything but in the middle at the moment. However if you have any issues its best to contact us anyway as Plimus have thousands of accounts and all are different and we know best how to fix any issues you might have.

Once again apologies for the problems and if there is anything else we can do just let us know.

Cheers

Iain

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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by lordzimoa » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:15 am

Hi guys,

We do constant online payments and also suffer from delays especially with Paypal, one of the best ways to at least avoid these to a minimum is to verify your Paypal and Credit Cards attached, it is no guarantee, but we see more delays with unverified ones....

Also anti-fraud and extra controls with online payments have increased, online shopping and digital payments are growing worldwide, so sadly it will happen more... online criminality is a fact that will force banks and credit card companies to be careful and delays and extra checks become unavoidable, but I know everyone will do their best to make it as smooth as possible.

I hardly see a shop from the inside anymore... and I love it, another torture removed... actual shopping... online is so much more relaxed and faster.

Kamerer
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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by Kamerer » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:40 pm

I appreciate the response, BUT:

This happens with no other vendor. It's unique to Plimus as far as most who have experienced this know. I make two to three online transactions a day, with credit cards and paypal, and simply saying "oh it's the payment system" is a bit like "the dog ate my homework."

If this is a problem uniquely localized to Paypal, then don't offer the option. Or, do the logical thing and say, "We accept Paypal - processing may be delayed up to 12 hours."

As it is, the process is not transparent, and it's also not common with other e-commerce sites in my experience. I don't dislike Slitherine at all, but the fact remains when you put your transactions in the hands of another party, they are your face with the customer and your customer satisfaction is in their hands. And these aren't capable or talented hands, my friends.

VPaulus
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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by VPaulus » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:15 pm

It happened personally with me in Steam, also in a Kickstarter pledge and last month in a transaction with a Spanish online shop.
I'm afraid this is not exclusive to Plimus/Bluesnap.

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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by boredatwork » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:30 am

10 purchases now via Plimus and no issues at all - not that I would really consider a 12 minute wait an issue anyways.

KeldorKatarn
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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by KeldorKatarn » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:17 am

Being an ICT guy I know how crappy such things can work out, and that there are many many channels involved. However I also kindof agree with Kamerer here that if there's a known issue with certain payment systems that has to be made transparent and looked into.

I guess one way out of this maybe for Slitherine to talk to the responsible guys in the payment system and if the issues cannot be resolved, mark that payment clearly as one that can suffer from delays, and maybe offer Kamerer the DLC for a discount? :D After all it'd be a shame for a well known community member like him to miss out on the West DLC for this kind of crap...

just my 2 cents.

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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by mulleto22 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:21 am

I do about 5 online transactions a week, mostly via paypal. I cannot recall processing delays over years (!!) , besides two of my 11 DLC/AK purchases I made with plimus. So it indeed looks as if this was a plimus issue. I have a paypal verified credit card, and have been using paypal for 10+ years, but I cannot recall a processing delay comparable to the two I had with plimus.

Especially the second time this happened has puzzled me. After being a repeated plimus customer, and having been double checked once before, I would expect plimus not to double check me again. Obviously, these checks happen randomly.

So, I think theres a number of things to discuss with plimus, because it can really piss players off if they waited for weeks to finally storm Stalingrad, and then they get told "hey, we know you, but you may now have to wait a few hours before you can take off while your fellow wargamers already start deploying" (I'm not sure, but I think that was the message by plimus ;-))

On a side note: I never had to wait that long, because VPaulus helped me out both times and I had access to the download within 60 minutes after my purchase. Great support there, once again!

Kamerer
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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by Kamerer » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:13 am

I appreciate the support. Simply being transparent would be a start. Why kick your customers in the teeth? I guess if you are on the "I sell this so you'll buy my content anyway, why do I care?" side, it 's not a big issue (Lordzimoa, IainMcNeil, VPaulus). But if you are a consumer, it matters. I'm a fan. I will buy this content later when available from a decent vendor, or directly. But I'm trying to tell you, as a fan, if you kick your customers in the teeth when they try to buy, you aren't doing yourselves any favors.

Others might have occasional issues. Perhps they are European. I'm not; I'm in the US. I'm used to online transactions actually working!. If you have a trans-national issue, make it transparent. Admit your flaws, tell your customers. Do that pre-transaction, not post. This is simple stuff. This should not be anyone's first rodeo.

If you really feel Plimus is your best and only sales outlet, think that again. They aren't winning you friends, they aren't earning you repeat sales, and they aren't treating your clients well. Consider your marketing outlets?

PS - they have a "no questioned asked" refund policy. I've been tortured through four or five response panels to justify my refund request. It's been a day since I clearly asked for a simple refund. Plimus/Bluesnap/point/crap is still ducking around, refusing to do it. We are talking about $5 US. I never cared about the money. But when the vendor cares so little about the security, honesty, integrity of the process that they drag you through days of crap and six emails over $5, you really have to wonder about their values...

I thought this would be a one off-post about poor transaction handling. But refusing to refund the transaction or acknowledge a systemic fault has made it more than that. There is a real distribution problem here. Now it's a real guarantee integrity problem (why no refund yet? Have had three emails on the subject, no follow through?). I guess in fact it must be someone's first rodeo. And they are doing it badly.

lordzimoa
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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by lordzimoa » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:43 am

Sorry, but noboby here is kicking you or any customer in the teeth? Keep it polite please.

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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by Wiber » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:17 am

I just bought all of the rest of the DLC's from 42 onwards. Heres why...

'Now nothing can stop my Panzers!' (maniacal laugh) :)

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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by IainMcNeil » Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:10 pm

Hi guys

we work round the clock to fix these things. We have meetings with Plimus every week to review issues and try and solve them. The simple answer is that these things happen despite best efforts.

The biggest issue is that PayPal insisted on changing the way they work so we now have to have an account with them instead of Plimus. Money comes to us and then gets reconciled with Plimus so Plimus have no direct link with PayPal on orders placed via them any more. Paypal have insisted all customers do this and it has caused major issues which they still have not resolved and I don't know if they are solvable. The issue here is PayPal not Plimus.

I'm not sure what you mean about transparency? We don't know if there is an issue with an order until after its placed and Plimus wont release the download until PayPal has released the funds to us.

We regularly review the situation and before Plimus we had as many if more issues with Digital River. The reality is that online payment systems are far from perfect and it's not really within our control to sort out some of these issues.

Plimus have a different refund policy to us because we have no DRM and many games are physical on demand so can't be refunded as they are printed to order. They are not authorized to give any refunds so you need to talk to us for refunds. As mentioned before always talk to us and not to Plimus and you'll get the best response.

Our terms and conditions are on our shop page - http://www.slitherine.com/shop_policy

Cheers

Iain

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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by IainMcNeil » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:31 pm

I've just heard that you did receive your link after 15 mins and that decided not to download as you already decided to cancel.

I understand we all want instant gratification but I can wait 15 mins for a mail to arrive that I sent from one mail account to another. I'm just trying to get some perspective here.

Kamerer
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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by Kamerer » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:23 pm

Iain,

I've just heard that you did receive your link after 15 mins and that decided not to download as you already decided to cancel.
That was in my post above, the timeline and situation. If you spent any personal time or directed your staff to look into it, I regret the duplicated effort. I tried to make that clear above. If you find making customers sit around and wait that long after making dedicated efforts to download your product, I encourage you to start at the top of this thread, and read past ones on how Plimus mis-handles e-commerce; they are rife in the forum.
The biggest issue is that PayPal insisted on changing the way they work so we now have to have an account with them instead of Plimus.
So that sounds like a real management headache. Just stop taking paypal if they are so annoying? And many people find them expensive and a hassle to use. No one would reproach you for doing so. Or just be - and I hate to use the word again as it engenders hate from Slitherine management apparently - "transparent." Say up front you will treat with suspicion Paypal transactions. Why stiff the customer after the fact? Be clear, be honest, and importantly, put into the marketplace knowledge about the process. It would drive people to use different payment methods and provide a feedback loop to improve Paypal.

But to continue this saga, I woke up to find that despite the stated Slitherine policy, an email arrived asserting that no refund is available. Let's be clear: it's not the $5 at all that bothers me. It's that it is just a terrible customer service and point-of-sale situation you all have, and no apparently zero interest in improving it. I am maybe your #1 Panzer Corps fan and promoter, or at least in the top five. I was trying to point this out so it could be a learning experience and could be improved - even I'm offended by the lackadaisical approach to digital sales Plimus has. This whole point was to point that out and be constructive. Instead, now it's taken another weird turn towards abuse instead of addressing the issue at hand. To wit:

I am unclear on what a "money back guarantee" means if you don't honor it. Please note I requested a refund before the product was "shipped," per the policy. I mean, this is all over $5. I could care less. Who spends less than that on lunch? But now it's down to just decency, transparency, and the lack thereof here:

http://corporate.digitalriver.com/store ... ID=slither
I understand we all want instant gratification but I can wait 15 mins for a mail to arrive that I sent from one mail account to another. I'm just trying to get some perspective here.
I spent a fair amount of time setting up to download, then got fobbed off. See the first post? Instant gratification wasn't what I was asking, just normal business practices. Please don't demean the e-commerce failure by demeaning me superficially or not reading this thread.
lordzimoa wrote:Sorry, but noboby here is kicking you or any customer in the teeth? Keep it polite please.
There's nothing impolite here. It's all factual. Sorry if that offends you. The only really impolite thing is the corporate responses, which ignore the situation and make an ad hominem attack as you just did. But if hearing the facts is impolite, please talk to your vendors, and not be rude to customers?

I have never seen an organization that went more out of the way to avoid dealing with an issue, attack someone who was loyal and trying to point out a flaw to improve the situation, and just became nasty about like the posts above. And I've have spent hundreds of hours beta testing and helping new customers, it's not like I'm a stranger here and don't like the product or developers. But this is a real eye opener.
Last edited by Kamerer on Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Just cancelled my '42/'43 West purchase. Here's why...

Post by boredatwork » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:54 pm

Kamerer wrote:There's nothing impolite here. It's all factual. Sorry if that offends you. The only really impolite thing is the responses, which ignore the situation and make an ad hominem attack. But if hearing the facts is impolite, please talk to your vendors, and not be rude to customers?
Right... characterising a 15 minute wait as an "atrocious delays" is OPINION, not a fact.

Similarly because you had to wait 15 minutes is a sign of "real incompetence" is an OPINION, not fact.

And "This happens with no other vendor" isn't factual at all given that it can and does happen elsewhere.

If you didn't want to hear OPINIONS counter to your own maybe you should have PMed Slitherine/Plimus with your problem instead of posting them on a PUBLIC forum.

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