01.EA apologises to consumers
Electronic Arts (EA) has apologised to Australian consumers after becoming one of eight companies to win a 2013 Shonky Award.
Following the launch of the new SimCity game in April, Australian gamers were charged $2.48 a minute to call a support line in order to complain about server issues. In a win for consumers, EA said they took the ‘award’ very seriously, and have made immediate changes to the phone lines.
EA’s regional PR manager Snezana Stojanovska said:
“We apologise to our players in Australia who were charged while calling to get support for their games. We agree with the sentiment that customers should not have to pay unreasonable costs for support, and have taken immediate steps to rectify this situation.
During the Australian evening hours, we switched the premium service number to a Melbourne local rate phone line as an interim solution. In addition to phone support, players always have an option for free live chat, email support, and community resources on Answer HQ, EA’s online support community.
Thank you for your candid feedback, and we hope these changes improve the support experience for our Australian customers.”
Given that US consumers could access a complaint line for free, CHOICE believes this is another example of the “Australia tax” that forces us to pay more for digital products and services.
EA is now looking at other measures that will improve its customer service. CHOICE will continue its dialogue with EA and looks forward to bringing you further developments.