The recent billing issues from Mythic and Warhammer Online have caused a lot of financial stress for players lately. I worked in the commercial banking industry for 3+ years, so I’m hoping to offer a little background on the situation they’ve caused for you and where to go from here.
Before I begin, I have to provide a caveat. Even though I worked for two of the nation’s biggest banking institutions over that time, this information is general. I’m not guaranteeing it will apply to you or work; however, that being said, I’m coming here with honest intentions and the knowledge I have tells me that it will probably apply to a lot of you, if you bank with some of the bigger institutions. This is not financial advice, just one persons meanderings to another.
I’ll also caution that this article is a bit lengthy and doesn’t include pictures. Considering the potentially serious impact it, and my conversation, could impress upon you, I think it’s best I don’t try to cut corners. I will, though, include the bulk of it after the cut.
So, let’s go on…
My Bank Won’t Reverse My Fees!
Most banks will not reverse merchant charges directly. They push you into a lengthy and annoying claims process because, frankly, they need to make sure it’s not your fault. In effect, you’re guilty until proven innocent.
They may, however, reverse bank fees that occur as a result of those charges in many cases (ie, overdrafts, returned check fees, etc). The vast majority of reputable banking institutions should be able to reverse at a minimum $30 (some go up to $300, but it varies) at the time of your request, on the phone. If the person you’re talking to won’t give it up, then ask to talk to a manger. Call centers generally work in tiers of employee authority. The person you first speak to is the lowest rung.
See the additional section on fees below for important addendums to this point.
Since WASDStomp’s post inspired this one, I’ll take his comments as spring boards for the next sections.
It took Mythic 23 seconds to charge my account, it takes 60 days to get it back.
Two months is pretty much a standard in the industry. Those departments are swamped. Here’s what’s in the fine print of the affidavit they’ll most likely send you: they reserve the right to retract that credit and issue any applicable fees based on that removal for the next six months. 60 days will allow them to give you a decision; 180 lets them sit on it an further investigate.
I’ve filed a claim, now what?
This is important: you’ve filed the claim and taken action on your end. The problem is, Mythic can and will take action on their own. The most likely outcome based on the conflicting timeframes is that you’ll get the credit from the bank AND the ones from Mythic. Most banks don’t allow you to request it be taken back; they’ll do that when they’re ready. So, no matter what, always keep the amount of that credit in your account, plus whatever else to cover your expenses. When they take it out after seeing Mythic gave you your money back, they won’t look at anything outstanding you might have. I’ve seen that exact situation result in, literally, several hundred dollars in overdraft and non-sufficient funds charges (ie, something gets returned).
What about my overdraft fees and other charges?
Anything that comes through to overdraw your account as a result of this will be a hassle to recover; the banks will push it off on the merchant. The best case scenario is one courtesy reversal for most banks (usually $25-40), and that will be it for the next 12 months. Some banks do give you more (Chase allows up to three. Shhh, that’s a secret) on the condition that it has to be a first time occurrence for the rolling calender year.
Honestly though, don’t count on it being as easy as all that. The dirty truth is banks penalize bankers who reverse fees because it costs the company money. When I worked at the Call Center, we received a score card. Any more than one fee reversal would put us below goal and result in a write up. It’s crappy but, even though a lot of those bankers will feel bad for you and wish they could help, they won’t because of this. In your case especially, unfortunately. This is merchant error and most banks will ask you to request the reversal from them. Which they won’t do – your bank account isn’t their concern, as they see it, even if they’ve messed it up.
So what do I do?
There’s an easier and quicker answer though, so long as you paid by debit card. It’ll still be a hassle but will significantly cut down your wait time. I’d check with your bank before pursuing it, just to make sure their policies allow it. Note: this may not apply to all banks. Just most 😉 The more obtuse ones will want Mythic to fax in signed documentation directly.
Here’s what you do:
First things first, and I can’t stress this enough, CANCEL YOUR FRAUD CLAIM. Even if you get a credit, it will get removed up to half a year down the line, as I mentioned above. Banks keep tabs on these things for six months to a year and, since Mythic is processing reversals, they will not let that money stay in your account. Save yourself the headache and, more than likely, erroneous fees caused by the correction withdrawal, and let them, or yourself as we’ll get to in a second, take care of it.
Okay, done? Good. Now you can work things out.
Second, call Mythic Customer Service. Have them pull up the repeated transactions in their system and request that they locate the “Approval Code.” This is a six digit number generated every time you make a purchase. They may tell you they can’t find it or one wasn’t provided. To be blunt, they’re wrong. An Approval Code is always generated, or else your charge would have been declined, in which case a “Decline Reason” is generated in the bank’s systems.
If they truly can’t see it, request a supervisor. Someone there can, I promise you. Getting to that person may not be easy (you’d be surprised at how many merchants don’t know squat about their own billing systems *cough* Best Buy *cough*).
Next, either you or Mythic will need to initiate a three-way-call to your bank. Now, I hate to say it, but you’ll probably have to be firm. Most reps won’t want to do this because it hurts their target call duration, which also negatively impacts their scorecard. Unfortunately, they’re part of a screwed up system, and it’s they’re job to help you. Request they stay on the line if they can’t initiate the call themselves.
When you reach a customer service representative, inform them you have the representative on the line, that they’re aware of the situation and are willing to admit error, and can provide the Approval Code to remove the transactions from your account.
Another Note: Not all banks will need the code once the transactions have posted to the account; however, having the representative on the line with you proves you’re not just trying to fib and puts some pressure on them to fix the problem.
Once this is done, one of three things will happen: your fee will be reversed on the spot (if it’s already posted to your account), the charge will simply disappear (if it’s still in ‘pending’ status), or a reversal will be put into process and addressed generally within 48-72 hours.
Wait on Mythic. It sucks but, really, it’s the lazy man’s way to go about it. If Mythic says they’ll process reversals in 36 hours, plan on another 72 for it to actually go through your bank’s debit card processing system – business days only.
If you are able to wait, this is the easiest and most stress free way to go about it. If, after those 108 business hours, you still don’t have the money, call Mythic. Ask about it.
An important reminder and reality check
I understand that money stresses people out. I know the situation is ridiculous and never should have happened. But, I’ll ask you this much: be nice to the person on the other end of the phone. They’re a person doing a job, plain and simple. They have no hand to play in the troubles effecting you and, at best, will be able to file a form on your behalf.
Here’s the part a lot of people forget, when they get upset: being rude to the person on the other end of the phone does not make them want to help you. Actually, it probably makes them want to hang up on you, let alone do something to make your life a little better. Being mean to Customer Service reps is a sure fire way to screw yourself over, so remember that.
Anyways, that’s that. If anyone has any specific questions on what they can do to advocate for themselves, I’m happy to talk via email. After being part of the machine, being on the opposite end of situations like this one, it’d be good to help a little