Diablo® III

Legal Perspective: Witnessed a Scammer Get Banned

(Locked)

I was over at my relative's house enjoying my summer break. I went to a local PC Cafe to train my DH and while there met a lot of fellow D3 players. About an hour in, one of them yelled angrily that he had been banned. Some of us went over to look at his computer and basically he received this generic message:

"*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.
See: us.battle.net/support/en/article/diablo-iii-scam-policy


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:

Greetings

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.

Regards

Game Master Xanaverri
Customer Services
Blizzard Entertainment

See: us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6134033456

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?
Edited by Soupermann#1273 on 6/9/2013 1:38 PM PDT
That's really disappointing if they banned him just for that.
We think that they own your account and can do whatever they like with it for any reason they like. What would someone sue for, their 60 dollars back?

I am sure a case could be made to get a refund, but I have a strange feeling that the costs (even in just time) will slightly outweigh that 60 dollars.
06/09/2013 12:48 AMPosted by jt217
That's really disappointing if they banned him just for that.


I am pretty sure it's one undertrained employee just arbitrarily handling things as he saw fit. He probably read a report and disliked the accused.
We think that they own your account and can do whatever they like with it for any reason they like. What would someone sue for, their 60 dollars back?

I am sure a case could be made to get a refund, but I have a strange feeling that the costs (even in just time) will slightly outweigh that 60 dollars.


The lawsuit will not be to recoup $60. It would ultimately be a class action law suit. We don't know how many people have been arbitrarily banned this way, but if a judge allows the lawsuit to proceed, then Blizzard has to provide data on all the questionable enforcement.
Posts: 2,625
Just because they tell people to use the auction house doesn't give you free reign to cheat the ones who don't. The excerpt you listed concerning the scam policy simply says they will not give people their loot back, since as with the rollback dupes of the past, it can be abused. It doesn't say you'll never be punished, which if you think so, not only are you an idiot, you're going to be a horrible lawyer.

It's the exact same as the filter: Just because it's there for people to use to avoid seeing obscenity doesn't give you permission to constantly spill filth out of your vapid maw.
If you're a douche and try and screw other players and you get the ban hammer, GOOD. Most likely the people who are willing to cheat, lie and steal in-game are also that type of person in real life. I would rather they not be apart of the community.
Just because they tell people to use the auction house doesn't give you free reign to cheat the ones who don't. The excerpt you listed concerning the scam policy simply says they will not give people their loot back, since as with the rollback dupes of the past, it can be abused. It doesn't say you'll never be punished, which if you think so, not only are you an idiot, you're going to be a horrible lawyer.

It's the exact same as the filter: Just because it's there for people to use to avoid seeing obscenity doesn't give you permission to constantly spill filth out of your vapid maw.


1) You can't be punished for something that doesn't exist. Blizzard does not have a scamming policy. You cannot punish people for actions not governed by Blizzard.

2) Blizzard does have a policy prohibiting offensive and foul language (just like so many other companies). These two things are not the same.

3) You don't have to resort to name calling in every debate.

I am not advocating that people go around cheating others. What I am saying is people should be aware that what they do in trade windows, because Blizzard does not govern actions during trades, people are responsible for their own actions. Blizzard cannot arbitrarily define what scamming is. What you thought was scam could be a genuine misunderstanding between two people.
We think that they own your account and can do whatever they like with it for any reason they like. What would someone sue for, their 60 dollars back?

I am sure a case could be made to get a refund, but I have a strange feeling that the costs (even in just time) will slightly outweigh that 60 dollars.


The lawsuit will not be to recoup $60. It would ultimately be a class action law suit. We don't know how many people have been arbitrarily banned this way, but if a judge allows the lawsuit to proceed, then Blizzard has to provide data on all the questionable enforcement.


Hahaha! What law firm would want to take up that class action lawsuit. The best they could hope for is the 60 dollars from all the banned accounts. Its not like there are damages, we do not own the items on our accounts, and time spent for recreation will not have a monetary compensation attached to it.

And, yes Blizzard would have to provide all that data. And who else would have to read it all, the law firm that is pursuing the class action. So yeah, they are going to take this up, with relatively small chance at gain, tons of work to do, and with the knowledge that the vast majority of accounts banned will be from people that did violate the rules but want a chance at their money back anyway.

I kind of have my doubts, but hey monkeys may fly some day.
Doesn't it say somewhere in there that they can terminate your license whenever they want for any or no reason?
Edited by Aspie#1693 on 6/9/2013 1:07 AM PDT
06/09/2013 12:56 AMPosted by Rimrot
If you're a douche and try and screw other players and you get the ban hammer, GOOD. Most likely the people who are willing to cheat, lie and steal in-game are also that type of person in real life. I would rather they not be apart of the community.


We don't punish people for things not against rules. I agree with you that I'd rather not have that banned player in our community. But that's not the point of this thread.

People can have genuine misunderstandings in trades. While some players do take unethical actions toward another, you can't arbitrarily just judge who's a scammer and who's not. That's character assassination that cannot be rebutted.

It's like calling someone a douche. The person being called that can't defend against that. How do you prove you are not a douche? By showing volunteer work at Children's Cancer Center? Getting good grades? etc.

Instead of judging people, players should be responsible for their own actions. Be alert. Be careful. Be cordial.
06/09/2013 01:06 AMPosted by Aspie
Doesn't it say somewhere in there that they can terminate your license whenever they want for any or no reason?


No because that kind of contract would be completely unconscionable. It says you have no OWNERSHIP of the contents on D3 (as in you can't sell or transfer items or accounts). You still paid for the privilege and access and if they don't want you to use that privilege anymore, you need to be either refunded or be shown what you did wrong, if you did in fact break the contract by violating one of Blizzard's policies.
Edited by Soupermann#1273 on 6/9/2013 1:10 AM PDT
Posts: 47
I don't want to start a rage or bashing fest but anyone who has played this game for any good amount of time needs to be aware of the incompetency of blizzard support.

If anything, I would say rather than trading at your own risk, deal with this games policies and support at your own risk.

I don't like that your buddy is a liar and a POS for doing stuff like that but at the same time what this man said above is very true. You cant discontinue a paid service if you have no accountability in your policies and support.

Ultimately what are his options? Appeal the ban? Small claims court? Any kind of legal action would not be cost effective for a 60 dollar game. In the end your buddy is screwed, maybe deserving it, but in the end ... welcome to blizzard!

Hope he got his 60 bucks worth of fun.
http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/legal/d3_eula.html
Termination.
This License Agreement is effective until terminated. You may terminate this License Agreement at any time by providing notice to Blizzard customer service via email at support@blizzard.com, at which time Blizzard will remove your license to use the Game from the Account. Blizzard may terminate this Agreement at any time for any reason or no reason. Upon termination, all licenses granted herein shall immediately terminate and you must promptly remove the Game from your hard drive.
I was over at my relative's house enjoying my summer break. I went to a local PC Cafe to train my DH and while there met a lot of fellow D3 players. About an hour in, one of them yelled angrily that he had been banned. Some of us went over to look at his computer and basically he received this generic message:

"*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. Since I was a law student, 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.
See: us.battle.net/support/en/article/diablo-iii-scam-policy


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:

Greetings

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.

Regards

Game Master Xanaverri
Customer Services
Blizzard Entertainment

See: us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6134033456

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.

What do you guys think?


This is what applies to the scammer: https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/diablo-iii-account-penalties

The introduction of the article is as follows:

At Blizzard Entertainment, we want to ensure that players can enjoy their gaming experience to its full potential. Sometimes disciplinary action must be taken against disruptive players to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy our games.
Our penalty system takes into consideration the number of times the reported player has violated our policies and the severity of the reported violation. In situations where a violation is extreme, or the reported player has violated our policies numerous times before, we may take action up to and including the closure of the account.


The Diablo III Scam Policy is what applies to the person who got scammed.

Blizzard has the right to suspend players as they wish. We as players have merely purchased a license to play the game, if you don't know this you must have forgotten that you accepted the end-user-license agreement prior to being able to play. As with any license it can be suspended or taken away if players abuse their privileges and are caught or reported doing so.

Edit: The suspended player may also appeal the suspension. This article tells them how: https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/how-to-appeal
Edited by SirCris#1372 on 6/9/2013 1:21 AM PDT
http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/legal/d3_eula.html
Termination.
This License Agreement is effective until terminated. You may terminate this License Agreement at any time by providing notice to Blizzard customer service via email at support@blizzard.com, at which time Blizzard will remove your license to use the Game from the Account. Blizzard may terminate this Agreement at any time for any reason or no reason. Upon termination, all licenses granted herein shall immediately terminate and you must promptly remove the Game from your hard drive.


Just because they write that into the policy doesn't mean it has any real legal effect. Blizzard's policy is not some holy bible. You are entitled to the service you paid for.

Imagine this scenario,

"Hi welcome to Blizzard Cable Services. Please pay subscription fees in advance, and by the way, we can take your money and discontinue service at any time whenever we want. So give us your money at your own risk."
Scamming on a large scale is akin to purposefully and willfully engaging in acts that will negatively impact others gaming experience. In this sense, it could easily be classified as harassment or griefing and account action can and should be taken.

Guaranteed that the guy didn't get banned for his first time scamming. No one does, ever. When you do it to the point of becoming a community menace, you deserve your permanent ban. :)
Blizzard can terminate your license without reason or notice.

Next time read the entire EULA, not just the parts you think you need to read.

Edit: Whether the EULA is legal could be a matter for the courts, but Blizzard is clearly within the rights of the EULA to ban any account at any time for any reason.
Edited by Kaniran#1890 on 6/9/2013 1:15 AM PDT
READ THE EULA BETTER:
Blizzard can ban you for whatever reason, shuting down the service when they want for EVERYONE,BASICALLY IF THEY DONT LIKE YOUR FACE they can ban you.
And i approve this, way to many scammers in this game
I was over at my relative's house enjoying my summer break. I went to a local PC Cafe to train my DH and while there met a lot of fellow D3 players. About an hour in, one of them yelled angrily that he had been banned. Some of us went over to look at his computer and basically he received this generic message:

(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. Since I was a law student, 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:

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.
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:



See: us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6134033456

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.

What do you guys think?


This is what applies to the scammer: https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/diablo-iii-account-penalties

The introduction of the article is as follows:

At Blizzard Entertainment, we want to ensure that players can enjoy their gaming experience to its full potential. Sometimes disciplinary action must be taken against disruptive players to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy our games.
Our penalty system takes into consideration the number of times the reported player has violated our policies and the severity of the reported violation. In situations where a violation is extreme, or the reported player has violated our policies numerous times before, we may take action up to and including the closure of the account.


The Diablo III Scam Policy is what applies to the person who got scammed.

Blizzard has the right to suspend players as they wish. We as players have merely purchased a license to play the game, if you don't know this you must have forgotten that you accepted the end-user-license agreement prior to being able to play. As with any license license it can be suspended or taken away if players abuse their privileges and are caught or reported doing so.


The problem is the bolded above, which says:

Our penalty system takes into consideration the number of times the reported player has violated our policies and the severity of the reported violation.


I honestly don't care whether 1 person reported a particular person or 1 million. The idea that I can get my clan or a bunch of friends to group report people I don't like and get them banned is completely unconscionable and terrible way to enforce non-existent policy. What I care about is the accuracy of the report and the procedure in place to make sure they don't punish the wrong, or innocent, person. That's basically impossible to do considering everything happened in trade window. Why can't someone sell a potion for 1 billion gold by lying that that's what it's worth? Is that even a lie? Why can't players swap items in trade windows hoping the buyer is careless? These are probably unethical but does not merit a Blizzard police arbitrarily punishing people based on no rules violated.
Edited by Soupermann#1273 on 6/9/2013 1:47 AM PDT
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