ECA Statement

December 2, 2009 -

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has issued a statement in response to an article posted on the Consumerist blog today, which alleged that canceling membership in the organization was difficult and overcomplicated.

GamePolitics is a publication of the ECA.

The response, from the President of the ECA, Hal Halpin, is unedited and after the jump:

 

We were disheartened to read some of the coverage and comments related to complaints regarding our member cancellation policies this morning. The issue seems to have begun following a guest article that I penned a few months ago, where I highlighted the various policy issues that gamers should be aware of – from Net Neutrality and Universal Broadband to Digital Rights Management (DRM) and End User License Agreements (EULAs). I concluded the piece by providing those who had taken the time to diligently read the article with a coupon code, encouraging them to sign up for a free trial membership… the logic being that we’d like to have readers who care about the issues among our ranks. For about four weeks following the publishing, we had a small bump in new member acquisition, but they were not coming from the article, unfortunately. These new members were coming from websites and forums that were solely promoting the coupon code, sans important reading.

Within a relatively short period of time, some of the new members found an exploit in one of our partners’ promotional codes and spread the word. The partner tried to resolve the situation, during which time we removed any references to the program, but ultimately it was decided that the offer be terminated. We advised members as soon as we were aware and reassured them that we were working on additional offers with new partners. We updated our website during the same timeframe in a long planned for Content Management System upgrade and an inactive back-end feature became visible, which looked to give some members the option to opt-out of the association. We were alerted to the error and removed the non-functioning feature immediately. Because it was viewable and then removed, those same few members became concerned that it was a feature that had been live all along and was suddenly removed. We then attempted to explain the situation and allay their concerns.

There were then concerns about the auto-renew structure of our payment system and business model related to that same function. We explained that we are working on ramping up infrastructure to become more automated going forward, but due to a small but active number of members who were repeatedly joining, leaving and re-joining the organization – in an effort to exploit our member benefits and unduly take advantage of our partners’ generous offers – we would require a mailed letter, as per our membership agreement. Needless to say, that incensed the exploiters who then contacted the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and their personal banks to report that we attained their membership under fraudulent conditions, in effect committing fraud themselves. Upon investigating the opened investigations, the respective banks and BBB all found ECA to be soundly reputable. We understand that several of the banks have since opened fraud investigations into their customers and that they take such matters very seriously.

Over the past few years, membership in the ECA has grown substantially, the primary reason for which is directly attributable to the important work done by the association, partnerships formed with coalitions, parallel trade associations and corporations, all eager to help defend the rights of game consumers. We have added many valuable benefits for members including discounts on games-related goods and services, purchases and rentals and a whole host of additional affinity benefits. We have several retail partners who offer significant promotions and several more, which are in the process of being finalized. It is important to note that the number of members who were/are involved in this unfortunate issue is very small and not representative of the organization as a whole. We sincerely thank the dedicated ECA members and the gaming community for their understanding and support on this matter and we look forward to continuing to grow the organization to suit the needs of the consumers.

Posted in

Comments

Re: ECA Statement

You just replied about his signature.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: ECA Statement

Oh, I see. My apologies then. I would have thought signatures would normally be seperated from the main text by some sort of delineating line.

Re: ECA Statement

 


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: ECA Statement

They only appear if you specifically save a line as part of your signature (like mine).

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: ECA Statement

Yes, the ones that run the ECA.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: ECA Statement

Oh? I didnt know the ECA was owned by MR.Murdox?


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: ECA Statement

not really the ECA is pulling a AOL..... if you wanted out and had to jump through the endless hurdels you would be pissed to....


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: ECA Statement

One letter is endless hurdles?  Not taking sides here, but this isn't much of an argument IMHO.

***Homicide-free video gaming since 1972!***

***Homicide-free video gaming since 1972!***

Re: ECA Statement

LAG

You seem to think they will process letters fairly and in a timely manner........ and I am king of the Gdamn world......


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: ECA Statement

If the signup method isn't the same, yes.

If you sign up online, you should be able to cancel online.

 ETA: And they want a certified letter. There's once a year I do that, my taxes.

Re: ECA Statement

Some people really seem to have difficulty reading and understanding the Membership Terms and Conditions.

Sections 4, 6, and 8.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

Oh, you mean the new terms. Not the original terms that people might have actually signed up under. (http://web.archive.org/web/20080403115308/www.theeca.com/terms). Need to be specific, donchaknow.

You know it sure would be nice to have a consumer advocacy group that took a stand against abusive EULAs. I think there was once a president of an advocacy group that made statements to that effect... now who was it... some dude named Hal, I think.

"The best intentions of lawyers in the business aside, these contracts have become so unwieldy that they regularly infringe on consumer rights. Many would likely be unenforceable in a court of law. Others, consumers would be shocked to find out what all of that fine print actually meant."

http://www.gamepolitics.com/2008/03/22/eulas-out-control-says-eca039s-ha...

http://www.gamedaily.com/articles/features/guest-column-eula-hell/?biz

Re: ECA Statement

Most of the people complaining probably signed up after those changes but even so, the ECA does reserve the right to alter the terms.

And yes, that sucks.  I don't like it either.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

AE

Plz...this is a major cock up it might not be illegal but it sure is hell unethical.... if not cheap and slimly and their part...


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: ECA Statement

As I said:"And yes, that sucks.  I don't like it either."

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

Technically it is illegal because the ECA can be acting in Bad Faith which is an actionable offense to consumers. Even if you had something in the EULA that says "We can do this or that" if you have malicious intentions such as attracting members through benifits and taking away those benifits and making it hell to get out of the membership than the court can decide that you are acting in Bad Faith and using the EULA for malicious use.

Even if we did sign the agreed TOS and EULA of something, if the rights holder inserted something for the DELIBERATE use of taking advantage of consumers and scamming them, then the excuse that it was in the EULA is void. Because people expect that the EULA is the same across the board and putting something like "we own your soul" is with malicious intent.

Re: ECA Statement

Were you the same person who was taking the position that the Xbox Live TOS said "no refunds" and therefore that was more than enough to end any discussion on the matter of refunds?

Re: ECA Statement

Ya but this is where malicious intent meets half assed intension's IE mistakes, I think theres enough room to argue that they screwed up and then tried to fix it badly. But this reeks more of ass corporate ass saving...the bottom line must be protected damn logic and ethics!


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: ECA Statement

Just saying "they can do it" does not make them any less hypocritical for doing so, especially since they are supposed to be a consumer advocacy organization.

Re: ECA Statement

Yep, "they can do it" is what people said when Sony f***ed over Star Wars Galaxies with the NGE, and we all know how that ended.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: ECA Statement

Don't remind me...

Re: ECA Statement

While I appreciate your point and in some ways agree with it, this specific example does not make the organization hypocritical.  Altering the terms of service has always been reserved as the ECA's right and I've never seen it say organizations should never do such a thing. 

Still, I see what your saying. Based on Halpin's quotes, one would think that the ECA's own Terms of Service would be a shining example of how to do things.  Still, it's not like one can't cancel their membership and I haven't seen evidence of anyone having trouble doing so by mailing in their request.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

That really has little to due with taking a fuctioning opt out/end renewal option from the web site. Spin it how you wish it still is poo and not clay.


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: ECA Statement

You can still cancel if you want.  Is it more inconvenient than it used to be?  Yes.  But, as the agreement says, the ECA can change it.  And it did.

If you don't agree to those terms, you shouldn't give them your money.  That said, I don't like the change either and would prefer an easier way to opt out of auto-renewals.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

Yes...you could still cansel from AOL....but that dose not mean they would let you....


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: ECA Statement

What does AOL have to do with the ECA?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

AOL made it nearly impossable for soem to get off thier serivce....


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: ECA Statement

Which, again, has what to do with the ECA?  I haven't heard reports that the ECA was giving people guff when they try to cancel using the appropriate method.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

There are more than a few posts around(not here and the few in the forums where deleted) that say you can;t cansel even useing that....


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: ECA Statement

"GamePolitics is a publication of the ECA." and we have therefore been forbidden from injecting the article with any of the personality or opinion we would with any other article on the site.

"inactive back-end feature became visible, which looked to give some members the option to opt-out of the association. We were alerted to the error and removed the non-functioning feature immediately. Because it was viewable and then removed, those same few members became concerned that it was a feature that had been live all along and was suddenly removed."

So what you are saying is, giving members an option to opt-out was never something you intended to give? Smooth.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: ECA Statement

Pretty much...a shame too just goes to show being owned by the ECA was a bad move for GP, but I guess with dennis gone tis not GP anymore.....

 

============

"inactive back-end feature became visible, which looked to give some members the option to opt-out of the association. We were alerted to the error and removed the non-functioning feature immediately. Because it was viewable and then removed, those same few members became concerned that it was a feature that had been live all along and was suddenly removed."

=============

Lie lie lie like the corperate dogs you are..... really guys....we are not that stupid.....


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: ECA Statement

I bet if Dennis opened a newer, less ECA controlled gamepolitics, this place would empty out like a party after the cops show up.

Re: ECA Statement

The ECA does not have editorial control of GamePolitics.  Never has.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

This article says diffrently, if it was any other gamer org that tries to be consuemr friendly and talked about the evils of EULAs,TOS,ect then ironicly uses thier own to make it harder to cancel....sorry..... but this is just to clear......


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: ECA Statement

AE

You are blindingly defending im, just sop it already I mean come on man its clear this artucke is baiais by its slience!


Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! Stop supporting big media and furthering the criminalization of consumers!! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

---

http://zippydsm.deviantart.com/

Re: ECA Statement

No, I am not blindly defending anybody and I challenge you to muster up one single shred of evidence that would indicate I am.

And I think you said "this article is biased by its silence."  Care to elaborate on that?  Because as it stands, it doesn't make a lick of sense.  What exactly is this article not addressing that would indicate some improper bias?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

Is that what an "artuke" is? An "article?" I thought it was a tropical fruit.

Re: ECA Statement

"This article says diffrently..."

No it absolutely does not.  "A publication of" does not mean the ECA has editorial control of GamePolitics.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

Which makes it all the more curious that GP never covered the REASON for this repsonse, and only posts a copy + paste from Hal.

It's also curious how Hal, and GPs copy + paste article fail to address the matter of peoples posts on the matter being wiped from the ECA forums. Possible censorship and cover-ups? Any journalist worth his salt would JUMP at a story like that.

Sure, the ECA might not have editorial control, but I'm betting they have a hell of a lot of influence.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: ECA Statement

What do you mean "the reason for this response"?  The issue is detailed at the Consumerist and linked at the top of this article.  Halpin's response is provided in full.  That's the story.

"It's also curious how Hal, and GPs copy + paste article fail to address the matter of peoples posts on the matter being wiped from the ECA forums. Possible censorship and cover-ups? Any journalist worth his salt would JUMP at a story like that."

Has any journalist jumped on such a wildly speculative and sensational story?  IGN didn't.  Joystiq didn't.  Kotaku didn't.  The Consumerist (again, linked at the top of this story) mentions a deleted post but doesn't imply anything sinister.

"Sure, the ECA might not have editorial control, but I'm betting they have a hell of a lot of influence."

A couple readers have said something similar but none have come up with a shred of evidence to support it.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

How about the fact Pete Gallagher is former editor-in-chief of ECA Today. I don't know about you, but that screams "total neutrality" to me /sarcasm.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: ECA Statement

Just to be clear, because I have nothing to hide, I am still editor of the ECA Today newsletter.

I am also an employee of the ECA. I have worked with Hal for the better part of 10 years.

All that being said, we write about what we want to write about on here. I put the ECA response up yesterday unedited to avoid any possible complaints of "spin."

Re: ECA Statement

Bullshit. Everyone has something to hide. I don't hardly want to open my closet door for fear of tumbling skeletons. "I have nothing to hide" is something which should only be said to an IRS auditor.

Re: ECA Statement

So, because GP was the former EIC of the ECA's newsleter, that is indicative of the ECA having editorial control or influence over the content of GamePolitics?  Sorry, but that just doesn't hold water.

And who said the coverage had to be neutral?  GP can (and occasionally does) interject his opinion into stories.  When he does, it's clearly marked as such.  Also, every ECA article fully discloses the releationship between the ECA and GamePolitics.  So, what's the problem?  Does today's story seem unfairly biased towards the ECA?  I don't see how it could.  As you've said so yourself, it's not much more that Halpin's statement.  Were GP to go on and on about how the ECA is in the right and the users are the ones to blame and everyone should join the ECA and blah, blah, blah... then yeah, you'd have a point.

At the end of the day, GP has editorial control over GamePolitics.  Now, you could say that GP's history with the organization could color his reporting on it.  That would be fair.  But then, I've still seen no examples of GP's affiliation with the ECA get in the way of his reporting on it so it doesn't bother me.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

Yeah.  And?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

And you claimed you don't blindly defend. lol.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: ECA Statement

I don't.  My reply was to your original post before you made the edit.  All you said was Pete Gallagher was the EIC of the ECA's newsletter.  My response was "yeah, so?"  A perfectly resonable reply.  Since you've edited your original post with a bit more substance, I've responded in kind below.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

I didn't edit anything. GP locks you out of editing once a reply has been made, remember?

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: ECA Statement

You made the edit as I was typing the reply.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ECA Statement

Yeah right. I managed to edit in a whole sentence in the time it took you to write 2 words? I don't think so.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.
 
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