Why Benjamin Bell Is Right To Sue Activision Blizzard For Consumer Fraud
A story has been making the rounds about a certain Benjamin Bell hiring a group out of Arizona to represent him in a case that brings a class action lawsuit against Activision and Blizzard over the use of authenticators and consumer protection for their games, mainly Diablo III. While Bell has been dismissed by some in the gaming community as an “attention seeker” and just looking for a “quick buck”, his case is entirely legitimate and should be pursued to the fullest extent of the law.
A lot of people aren't fond of how hard we came down on Blizzard over the Diablo III situations involving a number of different topics, but the goal never changed: Consumers paid for a service, there were a lot of stipulations involved that weren't readily made available for accessing the service and a lot of people lost money with no measure of recourse whatsoever, including the denial of refunds.
Bell's case -- in which he seeks class damages and an injunction to bar the defendants from "tacking on" undisclosed costs after customers have bought game -- isn't even the first lawsuit against Blizzard regarding the fiasco that has become Diablo III.
Back in June, South Korean computer cafe owners opted for a class action lawsuit against Blizzard due to the poor server availability for their customers. Since cafe visitors couldn't login to play Diablo III due to server errors, the visitors would leave, which in turn cost the cafe owners revenue. Even the Korean government came down on Blizzard, forcing them to offer refunds to consumers for Diablo III who couldn't login to play the game for one reason or another, which Blizzard initially did not want to offer.
Failing to provide advertised services while still taking money for that service is fraud, just the same as taking money for the service but failing to offer refunds while denying consumers use of that service is theft and fraud.
The always-on also backfired in both France and Germany, where on two separate occasions consumer rights advocacy groups came down on Blizzard for false advertisement and for not making it known that a persistent online connection would be required to play the game, as well as for not providing stable enough servers for users who paid to play the game but either couldn't play properly due to lag or because servers were unavailable.
For Bell, the lawsuit is specifically targeting the lack of security provided to consumers who were forced to play Diablo III online at all times and are required to log in to Battle.net, even if you want to play the game in single-player mode. This resulted in countless accounts being infiltrated, as many as several hundred every couple of hours, as reported, just shortly after the game launched.
Since every single Diablo III player had to be online to play the game, and Blizzard was introducing a Real-Money Auction House into the service, the amount of account infiltrations, breaches and hacks went right off the charts, as all types of nefarious individuals tried making a quick buck on any and everyone they could using a Battle.net account.
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