"*Acquiring items or any other 'possessions' from another player through misinformation, confusion, or fraud (Scamming)"(Caveat: Blizzard apparently did a "thorough investigation" but due to privacy concerns they cannot talk about the process.
Those are serious allegations. Blizzard basically came to a conclusion that he in fact committed a sort of "fraud" in the virtual world AND acted on that allegation. What this player did was basically switch out items. He would advertise item "x" and in trade window, casually put item "y" and accept trade. This almost never works but some players are careless and accept without checking what they are trading. Without getting into ethical debate about honesty, his frustration is not entirely without merit.
His account was permanently closed. He asked me if this type of account action was legal. That was an interesting question for me.
While I thought he deserved it for being unethical, from legal perspective, I was really alarmed at how Blizzard employees interpreted and enforced their "policy" on scamming. Why was I alarmed? Because Blizzard officially DOES NOT have a scamming policy. See below:
Diablo III Scam Policy:
In Diablo III, players are provided with the means to protect themselves from scams and are responsible for using good judgment when trading with others or using the Auction House. Because players are empowered with secure trading systems, Customer Support will not intervene to transfer loot or provide restoration for players who lose items to scamming.
Blizzard cannot use scam policy as a basis for account action because they don't have one. So what rule did he break? Being a jerk will not get you a friend, but it does not mean your paid privileges can be arbitrarily taken away without a fair process.
"Acquiring items or any other 'possessions' from another player through misinformation, confusion"does not mean anything. Players acquire items through misinformation all the time. How much is a radiant star gem worth? Merchant price or market price? If you tell a newbie player it's worth 100m and sell it at that price, is that scamming?
Blizzard employees made this rule up and arbitrarily used it against people who have been reported (against clearly stated non-existent scam policy).
There are countless threads even on this forum from Blizzard employee's own statements that any transaction outside of the Auction House is at your own risk:
You are receiving this message in response to the help petition which you submitted regarding scammed in Diablo 3.
In regards to your ticket, I am sorry to hear that you got scammed, sadly this is something we are unable to deal with as we do not have the level of support needed to look at logs and see what happens. Please be aware that if you do not use the auction house then it is your responsibility.
Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.
Game Master Xanaverri
Here's where I think Blizzard made some material mistakes in taking away paid privileges (not ownership):
1) Failure to state policy on "scamming"
2) Failure to provide a safeguard procedure to ensure that players accused of serious moral wrong doings have an opportunity to raise factual disputes.
3) Failure to provide a safeguard procedure to ensure that players accused of serious moral wrong doings have an opportunity to correct Blizzard employee's potentially-own mistake in decision making.
4) Train employees better
In conclusion, Blizzard must follow its rules. Blizzard cannot, and never will, prove that any player has ever committed fraud (unless players admit it). Intent is a hard thing to prove. (typing 1m instead of 10m by accident is not fraud. Even doing so intentionally is not fraud. Players are responsible for accepting trades in trade windows. There are no nannies regulating trades. Or use the AH. Period.) It sucks that we live in a world where people are both dishonest and :::ahem::: stupid. Blizzard cannot serve as a nanny for careless people who trade without checking their items. Blizzard also cannot act as the judge who arbitrarily enforces non-existing policies.
I would be really surprised if Blizzard hasn't already been sued for many of its policy enforcement. There are too many to name in this one thread.
Another important problem I see is that while many players will brush it off as just some scumbag getting what he deserves, it harms also the credibility of Blizzard's employee competence.
What do you guys think?