Thank you for your question. I would like to know a bit more about what happened. You said that the company gave your game to someone else. What do we know about how that happened? Did they just call someone on the phone and give them access to your account? To what extent is the company responsible for someone else getting your game?
You mentioned that you spent lots of money on the game. Did you incur any additional charges after your game was hijacked?
That's probably not necessary, but I appreciate the offer and I will definitely ask if it appears that it may be necessary for our purposes ehre today.
With a lot of games, the players will buy game points or credits. So they might pay $5 and get 500 Space Bucks (or whatever) that stays on their account until it is spent on in-game purchases. Did you have anything like that on your account at the time of the theft?
To your knowledge, were any of those points spent after you alerted the company of the theft?
Thank you for that information and for your patience. Please allow me to explain how the law works:
I should start by saying that, because the nuances of every case are different, this information should not be construed as complete or advice without consulting in person with counsel. That said, the first thing that needs to be recognized is that when you have a dispute with an online gaming company, you could be 100% right and they could be 100% wrong, and you can provide all the proof in the world, but that doesn't keep the company from being uncooperative if they want to be uncooperative. When a dispute arises, it can sometimes be resolved by agreement of the parties, but when an agreement can't be reached, the courts can step in to resolve the dispute. It really doesn't matter what the company has in their records--if you have a credit card receipt, for example, showing that a company charged your card, it doesn't matter to a court if it doesn't match the company's records...
So with that said, if you're asking how to get the company to cooperate, it's entirely possible that you can't. The real question, then, is what to do when a dispute arises with a company that isn't cooperative...
It's possible that your account was stolen by someone without any mistake of the company. Maybe someone was looking over your shoulder when you entered your password (or whatever). Companies are only responsible for their own mistakes. If I stole your car, for example, you couldn't sue the auto manufacturer to get your car back because it is the fault of the thief, not the manufacturer...
Exactly, and that tends to suggest that the company has made an error...
So where the company is responsible in part or in whole for an error, and where that error has caused someone damages, the injured party is generally entitled to compensation.
So basically, it sounds like they're saying that they don't care what the records of your bank or credit card say--they're only going with their records. You can't blame them because they don't have to accept your records as true any more than you have to accept theirs as true, but a court is going to be more persuaded by bank or credit card records than someone's internal records for obvious reasons.
I understand that you lost the work you put into your game, but how much money would you estimate you invested in the game, total?
Ok, where a dispute arises, where the parties are at an impasse, you basically have to ask yourself if you're willing to move forward with legal action. Small claims court in Hawaii can handle disputes of up to $5,000--it is relatively quick, cheap and easy. It's also usually cheaper for a business to just pay a plaintiff a few hundred dollars to resolve the dispute than to have to send someone to court to defend against an action that they might lose anyway.
Naturally, anyone contemplating a lawsuit over a software application would also want to review the terms of service, but it really comes down to the legal system.
The filing fee can be waived based on a plaintiff's income.
In other words, if your income is below the court's threshold, any court-related fees do not have to be paid.
Does that make sense?
There's obviously no magic wand to make people do what is right, but the legal system is designed to reach the fair outcome.
The system favors reaching the right outcome over reaching the quick outcome, so some patience is required, but I do encourage you to take whatever steps are necessary to get what is right for your case.
I understand, and it's entirely possible that no one has actually taken any legal action against them.
Obviously, this is a problem that can't be fixed completely in one evening, but I hope that this information helps you to understand the law. Have I been able to help?
Well, it's my pleasure, and I hate to see people being pushed around. I didn't get into this line of work to help the bullies.
We have a good legal system, but it doesn't mean anything if no one uses it.
Did you have any other question?
Well, you said that iTunes is basically ignoring you at this point, so before talking to them again, you would have to ask yourself why the result might be different next time.
It's certainly possible, but you can expect that they are keeping track of all of your communications, so anyone viewing your new communications would normally be able to see the history. For purposes of consistency, if someone didn't answer earlier, it is probably part of a strategy. It might not hurt to contact them again, but I would set my expectations low. From a legal perspective, there would normally not be any benefit to making multiple, idential communications to the same company.
Thanks :-). I wish you the best.
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