Wholly new levels of suckitude

I am at my wit’s end with EA’s support. I will recap below. Please note that the PDFs that I will be linking to are anonymized printouts from EA’s support site. To read them chronologically, you need to start at the bottom and read up.

On June 13th, my Rock Band guitar went dead. Plugging it into the hub or directly into the XBox, it would not register as a controller. The green circle didn’t light up. For all intents and purposes, it seemed dead. Prior to this, I had verified that it was experiencing the strum issues that plague the Rock Band guitar controller. Namely, on a long section of continuous strumming, it would miss one note in ten or fifteen…not often, but often enough to blow your ability to score on certain hard and expert tracks. Both of these issues are widely acknowledged on various Rock Band fan forums to be inherent to the faulty design of the Rock Band guitar, so it’s not like it shocked me that this had happened. The strum issue was enough for me to request a replacement, but when it exhibited signs of the “periodically just isn’t going to be a controller” issue, that motivated me to get off my ass and do it. So, I opened a support request:

Support Request 80613-003709 (PDF)
(Note: I also had to open a separate request to submit my receipt so that EA could verify that my purchase was within 60 days. But, that was without interest or incident, so I’m not bothering to include it here.)

After the last response there from Sean M, I figured a shipment was on its way, so I left it be and kept an eye out for a package from UPS. A few weeks later, on July 3rd, our drum pedal snapped (at the orange bar, precisely where all the drum pedals are snapping…). So, I opened a request for it:

Support Request 080703-007094 (PDF)

Now, what I noticed with this one is that I got a tracking number right away. I’d never gotten a tracking number for the guitar, and the guitar still hadn’t arrived. (If you read the original guitar request, you’ll see that there was a form response provided with an empty field for the tracking number.) So, I began to suspect that there was something foul in the state of Denmark. Since more than a week had passed since there was any activity on the original guitar request, it had been automatically closed by EA’s system, so I was not able to add information to it anymore. So, on July 5, I opened a new request to ask for the tracking number and/or status of the shipment, and here’s where things go south:

Support Request 080705-001634 (PDF)

It’s very clear to me that what has happened here is that the drum pedal request superseded the guitar request in their system. So, part of me is at the point where I figure I should just open a new RMA for the guitar. BUT, here’s the problem…for these “express service” requests, they ship you equipment, and if you don’t return the corresponding equipment in 30 days, your credit card gets charged for the equipment. I am coming up on 30 days from the theoretical ship date for that original request (the day the form letter was generated with the blank tracking number). If EA’s automated system works as most automated systems do, their system tagged me as a shipped item at that point (and that is part of the problem). So, it is possible that my credit card is going to get charged for a guitar that I never received. Thus, it is very important to me that EA acknowledges that they never shipped the guitar they were supposed to ship me…or that they ship the guitar in association with that RMA number. Otherwise, I have only all of this PDF’d documentation to prove that the theoretical charge to my credit card is unwarranted.

It’s also of note that I am all of two business days away from being outside of the 60 day window. I do not think EA is intentionally trying to wait out the window. I believe this is a computer error. However, computer error or no, unless the next response from EA is fruitful, I’m going to be forced to open another RMA just to avoid risking the ability to return the guitar in my 60 day warranty period.

Although I dearly love Rock Band, after all of this, I have to say that I’m strongly considering just packing the whole damn thing up and returning it to Amazon. Because I’m past 30 days, Amazon would only give me 80% of my money back, but I’m almost at the point where I’m willing to suck that up just to do what tiny thing I can to prove a point to EA. Also, Rock Band 2 will be out this fall. Several gaming blogs have verified that it addresses the hardware issues in Rock Band 1, provides wireless controllers (instead of the doofy hub that gets in the way), and allows you to play all the Rock Band 1 songs you’ve downloaded as well as the tracks from RB1 via a free download.

Oh and by the way, I am *dying* to share this with the world. If you know of any consumer/gamer advocate blogs that would eat up this kind of thing, even if just for amusement rather than trying to fix it somehow, please let me know about them in the comments. 🙂

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