Bigpoint/Dark Orbit / Unethical Business Practices
Bigpoint operates many games including Dark Orbit, an online browswer game, which while technically free to play, is somewhat expensive to play at anything other than a very basic level.
The game environment has been changed constantly over time to incorporate more and more costly features and prevent the "free play" portion from being anything other than a catchy advertizing phrase.
In addition to the complaint below, this has caused a lot of frustration among it's long term paying customers who have invested a significant amount of money in their accounts, only to have them devalued by increasingly expensive new features.
I have been a paying customer with Bigpoint GmbH (across 2 games) for more than 2 1/2 years now, however over the past 6-12 months, the level of customer service and treatment of it's loyal customers has deteriorated to atrocious levels.
A few months ago I was publicly accused of cheating in the game by taking advantage of a coding error. I say "publicly" because the details were posted on one of Bigpoint's public forums by a Bigpoint staff member.
As a result of this accusation some of the in-game items that I had purchased through their payment system and earned through online play were confiscated as they were believed to be acquired as a result of the coding error.
I would like to add here that my writings to Bigpoint were done in a civil manner.
My initial contact was courteous and not demanding in any way.
Over the course of my dealings with the support and administration people I was repeatedly threatened with punishment for continuing to respond to the accusations in public, and at one point a representative of Bigpoint posted information of a personal nature about me on a public form belonging to Bigpoint.
I was eventually vindicated as it was discovered that I had not in fact taken advantage of the coding error. An error which I was actually one of the first people to report.
However the confiscated items were not returned.
I was informed that the items in question were only adjusted to compensate for the glitch and that nothing I had purchased/earned in game was affected.
Unfortunately that's simply not true.
I pursued the matter and was penalized for doing so.
The individuals I dealt with continued to be accusatory and rude.
Several weeks afterwards I received an email conceding that a mistake had been made but the amount returned was only about 10% of my actual loss.
This was all Bigpoint was willing to do, and no further contact from them has been received.
I would like to add that, in general (there are one or two exceptions), I have found Bigpoint representatives to be unprofessional and rude. In many cases belittling customers and making threats to get their way.
They primarily use volunteer moderation and support personnel who, in certain cases, have access to private user's accounts.
Not a situation that inspires confidence in customers.
I should also mention that my total loss equates to about $15 USD. A pittance compared to my spending over the last 2 1/2 years.
As a result of a few bucks - used for intangible goods that really wouldn't have cost them anything to return - they've lost my business altogether.
If Bigpoint is willing to treat a long term paying customer this way, you can only imagine how little respect they have for new customers.
At one time I was a very vocal advocate for this company, but now I'd suggest finding somewhere else to spend your money.