Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Does Blizzard Ignore its Own ToS When it Benefits Them To Do So?

Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to read is true, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.  You might want to take this as a warning.

There has been a person posting in trade for about six weeks now offering to sell things in game for gold, things that none of us would think anything about being illegal.  His average post goes something like this.

[Trade] [Mrsellsalot] Selling [Iron Skyreaver], [Armored Bloodwing]. other mounts, pets and game time for gold.  PST for price.

He is on almost any time I am on selling.  If I log in before I leave for work I will occasionally see him post.  If I log in after I get home from work, he is sometimes online posting.  During the weekend where I spend more time he is on any time of the say I am on posting, sometimes even for hours and hours on end every 10 minutes.

It is not like this guy can not be seen posting, he has been posting the same stuff every 10 minutes for what seems to be almost an amazing 24/7 for weeks and weeks on end.  Any reasonable and logical person could easily be lead to believe that blizzard is probably okay with it because if it were against the terms of service they guy would have surely been banned right?

A friend of mine from guild who was having some real life cash flow issues like a great many of us in the world at any given time asked me if I thought it would be safe to buy from him.  He figured he can make gold in game easy enough but if he can save money and not need to spend for some game time or some mounts it would be great.  He could continue to play and never have to worry that he is wasting the little money he has on game time because the game is basically paying for itself.

It is quite a logical idea.  Wildstar is doing it now as well as other games, many other games, before it.  Where you can buy the game time and sell it which is what this guy in trade is basically offering.

I told him that it was against the rules.  He could get in trouble if he buys from the guy and then that is where the logic entered the picture.  He said, the guy has been selling stuff for almost 2 months, if it was illegal wouldn't they have banned him already.

I could not really answer that question.  Yes, they should have banned him already.  Why he wasn't shows, in my opinion, one of the biggest faults with the management of the game.  They have absolutely no moderation.  I find it hard to believe, amazingly hard to believe, that after all this time not even one game master has seen this guy advertising to breaking the ToS and they did nothing about it.

I still advised him against it but he figured it would take the chance.  He whispered the person and asked for a price for one mount and 90 days game time.  He got quoted 30K gold.  When he told me this I was immediately thinking I would buy my game time like this for now on if blizzard allows it now.  You can make 30K in one day if you know what you are doing, and in 2 weeks even if you do not know what you are doing.  So 30K for 30 days worth of play time plus a mount is amazingly cheap if you ask me.

He went and he made the trade.  Very happy with his new mount, which he immediately jumped on and flew around with for a bit and the knowledge that he saved himself 45 bucks that 90 days game time would have cost him.  For someone that is tight on money saving 45 bucks is pretty huge.

Two days later he comes to me and says he should have listened to me.  Blizzard stripped him of the 90 days play time and the mount and did not even give him the 30K he spent on it.

See folks, it is against the terms of service.

But here is where the situation gets a little cloudy and I start to believe there is something else going on here behind the scenes.  Break out the tin foil hat.

This all happened a month ago.  That person is still posting in trade, still selling mounts, still selling game times, still posting every 10 minutes what seems like 24/7 and is still on the same exact character doing it.

So they took the stuff away from my friend because it was illegal to buy it, did they take the gold away from the guy because it was illegal?  And better yet, why is that guy not banned?

Some people in trade started to say that it was a rip off, that they bought something and had it removed.  I whispered them to ask them a question or two about it.  Told them it happened to a friend and I wanted to collect information to put in a ticket to get the guy banned.  Did not tell them I was collecting info to post here but be assured I not only am making this post now but I did make a heartfelt please that will surely be ignored in a ticket asking for these people that did nothing wrong to have their goods, or at least their gold, returned to them.

I interviewed 7 people and had another 6 that refused to talk to me because, I guess, they thought I was going to make fun of them or something and there is nothing further from the truth.  I personally believe they did nothing wrong.

Person 1 : Retired Dwarf and his Dwarf wife.

This couple, as retired people, both in their 60s and living off a fixed income decided that they have more than enough gold and free time to make more that it would be good if they could save some real life cash for some game time.  He purchased 90 days of play time for himself and for his wife for 120K.

As he explained to me he can make that much money if it put his mind to it in a week so it did not bother me and he thought the price was more than reasonable being he was saving real life money.

Both he and his wife had their game time stripped from them less than 24 hours after purchasing it.

Person 2 : A pink haired female gnome.

Just hearing her story made me sad, maybe because it seems so mean to happen to a gnome.  It is worse than gnome punting.  She said that she just started getting into pet battles and wanted to get some of the store pets but really did not want to waste real money.  She spent 35K and purchased a few pets.

Three days later, and after she spent the time leveling those pets, they were removed from her account.  So not only did she lose her gold she lost all the time she spent leveling them.  Sorry blizzard, but that is just freaking mean, this person put in the time and effort to level them.

Person 3 : A teenage druid.

He purchased a mount because his parents would not buy it for him.  They did not mind the monthly fee but he has enough mounts so he did not need to buy one.  He saw a way he could get the mount he wanted in game so he went and got the mount in game.

The mount was removed 2 days later.  He has paid 20K for it and for him, as he said, that was a hell of a lot of gold, it took him an entire month of working his ass off to make that so he could buy it.

Person 4:  A male human lock.

Oddly enough paid by a female.  Who says females do not play male characters, I found proof.  She said she is a stay at home mom that plays for fun and is not really all that active.  She decided to use some extra gold he got in game to get game time and save real cash.  She bought 90 days play time for 20K.

Her game time was removed 5 days after it was added.  This was the longest time of all the people I spoke to before they had something stripped.

Person 5 : Another male human lock.

This one an actual male who is in the armed services.  Figured it was a good way to save some cash so he bought some game time to the tune of 40K gold.

His game time was stripped within 24 hours of purchasing it.

Person 6 :  A worgen warrior.

He said he was sitting at 199 mounts and wanted to achievement for 200 mounts and this seemed like a nice and easy way to get number 200 so he purchased a mount for 15K.

The mount, and the achievement, was stripped from him 2 days later.

Person 7:  A gnome with too much gold.

He might as well call himself a goblin.  He said he purchased all the mounts and pets he needed and even bought a bunch of game time to the tune of 480K gold.

All the mounts, pets and game time was ripped from his account 3 days after purchasing it.

All these people plus the one person in guild mean I have now talked to 8 people that have purchased something from this player that has been posting in chat for months and had it removed from their account because they broke the ToS.  I would not be surprised if there is not some sort of note on their account as well, a black mark, for doing something wrong.

In all this time that person is still in trade and he is still selling things and blizzard has done absolutely nothing to him what so ever.

My question is why?

Does blizzard let him keep selling the stuff because they are making money off him buying the stuff to sell, and then only strip it from the people that were buying it to save money so basically if they really want it they need to spend the money effectively meaning blizzard is double dipping.  Getting the money from the guy that sold it and then getting the money from the people that now need to spend their own money to get it.

Someone said, when talking about it, maybe they removed the stuff because it was purchased with a stolen credit card.  That argument does not hold water.  If someone was using a stolen credit card they would stop allowing that person to buy item on that account and this is the same person that has been selling for a month, so it is not a case of a stolen credit card.

But lets play pretend for a moment.  Even if it were a stolen credit card, how the hell are the people buying it supposed to know that?  They can't and it is not their job to find out if it is.  They should either get to keep what they purchased or get their gold back when it is stripped from them.  The only person that should have action taken against them is the person using the stolen credit card and we have absolutely 100% proof that no action was taken against that person because as I write this that person is no doubt spamming trade every 10 minutes offering to sell things.

I personally do not see what the issue is.  No money is being exchanged outside of the game.  If money is paid directly to blizzard for an in game mount and that mount is being used by someone in game, by logic, that is exactly how it is supposed to work.  Money paid for a mount, someone gets a mount.  Nothing wrong with that.

Blizzard seems to not understand that.  Or, like I mentioned, they are just ignoring their own terms of service and penalizing the people that purchased the items but doing nothing again the person that is selling them.  That is wrong, wrong on so many levels.  It is blizzard breaking their own terms of service by letting that person continue to sell stuff in game.

Blizzard wants him to spend the 30 bucks on game time, sell it, strip the game time from the person and then the person needs to spend 30 bucks themselves to get game time.  Effectively blizzard is getting paid for the same 30 days twice by not banning that person selling game time.

They can not say they do not know who is selling it.  If they know who brought it to strip it from them than they know who sold it to them to penalize them as well.  They just do not want to, they want to just make more money and that is why they let this guy continuously sell with no actions taken against him.

And please, please, do not even try to use the defense blizzard used on a ticket that one of the people entered.  I will of course paraphrase here but one of the people told me that they put in a ticket asking for the gold back and were told they would not get the gold back because they broke the terms of service.  With a follow up ticket asking why they had the good stripped because it was against the ToS did the person that sold it to them have nothing done to them.  Their reply was that they do not comment on ongoing investigations.

Now get ready for the kicker, and one I agree with.  They put in another ticket asking a simple question.  No investigation was needed when you stripped my game time in less than 24 hours, so why can this guy post for months and months on end.  Just look at chat, see him post he is selling the stuff, ban him.  No investigation needed.  Other people will keep buying because you do nothing to him which makes it seem as if you support him.  Blizzard reply, not paraphrasing but exactly how I was told it was, If you put in another ticket regarding this topic you will be enjoying a 3 day vacation.

Blizzard is prepared to strip everything from the buyers, ban the buyers if they question why they had the stuff removed, and not ban the person doing the selling.

Does blizzard ignore its own ToS when it benefits them to do so?

As far as it seems, absolutely so.  They will continue to let this guy sell stuff, and then strip it from the people that buy it, so they need to buy it with real cash now.  So they are getting cash twice.  No wonder they are not banning this guy, this guy is making them money.

Word to the wise.  Do not purchases anything from people selling it in trade like that.  The only person that loses is you.  As one guild member said, with his tin foil hat on, the guy selling the stuff probably works for blizzard and this is how they are making money now.  Makes you wonder.


  1. There's yet more (and deeply more insidious) options. Consider if you will
    1. This "seller" has been advertising fairly frequently and persistently for a non-trivial amount of time
    2. This "seller" has been on the supplying end of multiple busted sales
    3. This "seller" has not yet been sanctioned by Blizzard for their initial buying of gold despite being the source of the problem multiple times.

    There are 2 possible scenarios:
    1. The seller is a confidential informant for Blizzard to weed out those with gold burning a hole in their moneybags
    2. The seller is Blizzard and they're using it as a honeypot to catch those who are trying to sell gold.

    1. But there is the underlining part that if blizzard continues to allow this person to post day in and day out it makes it appear to the players that it is allowed.

      If it were not allowed he should have been banned the first day he started adverting it. So blizzard can not use the "you should have known better" argument that they tell everyone. Blizzard is allowing this guy to post for months on end without doing anything which can be logically connected to the idea that blizzard does not mind because it is not against the rules. If it were against the rules they would have banned hm.

      So blizzard lets him post, which means they say it is okay, then people buy and get in trouble. They need to clean up their act. At best this is entrapment, at worst this is an insidious business practice and I am sure that it is illegal in some way to conduct business in this way.

  2. I was under the impression these scams go like this:

    The seller puts in the transactions for game time, mounts, pets whatever on a normal debit/credit card (not fake/stolen etc)... then calls the bank to stop the money ever leaving their account.

    Access to the goods is given right away by blizzard before the transaction is cleared. When the transaction fails they revoke access.

    Not sure why they let this go on but it is very common on wow servers.

    1. Even if that is the case, why do they keep letting the person do it?

      If someone stopped payment on one purchase I would disable their ability to buy more, not let them go on for months and months on end buying stuff I now need to get back because they stopped payment.

      At the least they should have stopped letting him buy stuff, at the most they should have banned him for abusing the system.

      There is something else going on here because blizzard is letting this person continue on with ToS breaking behavior and penalizing everyone that buys from him but not penalizing him at all.

    2. The main question is : did anyone even report him?

      The take away from call out payment is something automatic, they don't examine the case, no payment = mount taken away, period.

      Make sure the guy is reported, but even that it won't change anything in the end, WoW is the same as real world, this is more or less the same as fishing mails, as long as ppl fall to it, there will be guys like this, and no amount of work from blizzard can change that sadly.

    3. Absolutely. Everyone I spoke to reported him after they had the stuff taken away.

      I know in my guild we all reported him when our guild member got his stuff taken away. That was over 30 people, each of us not only reported him but on multiple characters, so if I had to guess we as one guild alone filed over 200 reports it would not be an exaggeration at all.

      Most of the people I talked to said they had all their friend report him plus every time he posts someone says in trade that any thing you buy will be taken away from him and to report him. Not sure how many actually do report him but I often see people say "reported" so I am guessing they do.

      So, if I had to make a educated guess based on what I have personally see with my own eyes and read from those saying they reported there are easily at least 400 reports on the guy over the course of the last couple of months.

      So he has been reported, he has been posting, people have had things stripped from them, yet he is allowed to continue doing what he is doing.

      Which leaves very little to be read into it and that is that blizzard has absolutely zero problem with him selling the stuff, but takes it away from the people that buy it.

      As I mentioned in my post. Does this mean that blizzard does not mind it because it is making them more money? It sure seems that way. That is why they are not banning that person. He is making them money.

    4. Another thing I can think may happen, is they are deleting/recreating the character on another account on a regular basis, making it maybe harder to track.

      If anything, one thing I'm sure is that those kind of ppl have become VERY skilled in going through blizzard net, I'm pretty sure if we were to do the same without some kind of preparation, we would be caught and banned pretty quickly.

    5. The character selling the stuff is a level 90 with some gear, not a bunch in one of the more populated guilds on the server. That rules out the getting booted an making a character of the same name thing. He would never be able to gear it to the same extent daily if he were getting banned. It is the same person with no action taken against him, that is absolutely certain.

      I got threatened to be banned twice so far in my game time by a GM. One for reporting a botter, yes, they told me to stop reporting it of they would ban me because I was reporting it every day. And one because when LFR was new and we still rolled on loot I lost a roll on my shaman healer to a retribution paladin. Don't know if you recall but they had a "bonus" of +100 if the item can be used in the present spec you are in. I was a healer, he was a DPS, not to mention retribution paladins do not use shields. I put in a ticket because I lost the roll and they said don'[t be a sore loser. I put in another ticket saying it was rude of them to insult me and I want my shield because I was a healer in healing spec and it was a healing shield. He was in a spec that could not even use shields and should not have gotten the shield. They closed the ticket without responding to me. I repeated that 3 more time and after the third time a GM contacted me saying if I put in another ticket on the subject I would be banned.

      Blizzard GMs love to push around the people that do the right things and do not break the rules, but they let everyone else get away with everything. It is wrong.

  3. Sorry for double posting.

    And technically it's not aginst the term of use I believe. You can buy shop items/game time for other accounts, and you can trade gold between players. I already gifted pets/mount to friends several time. One of our raider is helping another one from time to time with gametime aginst some gold. But there is no problem there since the source is trustworthy.

    1. I've gifted multiple players game time over the years. I usually pay for my girlfriends play time. I've even bought mounts and pets for people in guild. Yes, it is allowed.

      However... and this is to paraphrase a blue post as best I can remember it.

      "If it is not something that can be placed in a trade window it is against the rules to trade it in game. This includes buying something for real cash from the store in exchange for gold in game."

      I do agree however that is should not be against the rules. If I choose to buy you some time in exchange for gold because you do not have the cash but you do have gold I should be allowed to do so. In the end blizzard is getting the cash for XX days of game time and someone is getting XX days of play time.

      It should not be against the ToS but it is. They only seem to be penalizing the buyer, not the seller.

      And back to what was said before. If someone is stopping payment, they should, as a responsible company, at least stop allowing him to buy things.

      All evidence support the theory that blizzard is allowing him to do this on purpose because they are making money off it. They are, in effect, breaking their own terms of service.

  4. Just off the top of my head. If it is some one stealing credit cards they might be using it to find the people providing the #'s or something. I think the answer to your question is Yes it's their game they can do what they want too. If they want to violate there user terms of service they can because they are technically not users right? anyways I agree with you sounds like bullshit but I can imagine some scenarios where it might be important to keep the person unbanned. Especially if law enforcement is involved in anyway.

    1. If they indeed are "using" the account to follow something they have two options, in my opinion. Let the people keep the things they purchased or refund them the gold they spent buying it.

      If they are not going to take action on the person selling the stuff they can not take action against the people buying it. That is just wrong on many levels as I see it.

      I get where you are going, they could very well be following the credit cards, but if they "choose" to do that, stop penalizing the people that purchase stuff from him.

    2. shrug I get what you are saying but they are still breaking the ToS should probably feel lucky they don't get banned.

  5. hubby pointed out that it would be interesting to see if people could share the code they were mailed... maybe it's the same code to catch people?

    1. Codes are one-time use. It won't let you use the code a second time. It just says the code was already used.

    2. As Jaeger said once it is used it can not be used again. I actually tried that once when I got a card mount before mounts were shared so I know that for sure.

  6. Afaik, transferring lots of gold (more than 20K or so) through mail or trade without using COD or actually trading an item generates a report to a GM for potential gold selling. The MogFather got banned several times by giving away gold in xmog contests back during Cata.

    You need to trade an in-game item. Kind of like how it's illegal to sell bootleg concert recordings, but you can sell someone a stick of gum and give them a "free" CD.

    So in theory, you could sell someone a flask or something for 10x or 100x what it's worth and then gift them a pet code or game time. This won't cause an alert because they don't know if you're just an idiot that overpaid or if you were actually buying store items with gold.

    However, Blizzard definitely acts hypocritically in these scenarios.

    1. Perhaps the items and time was removed automatically by the system because it seemed suspect but I really can not see how that would work.

      Even if you traded the person the gold with nothing else, without investigation you would never be able to see what the gold was for to know what to take from the person.

      But I do believe that sometimes people could get caught in an automatic net when doing things like transferring gold.

      I wonder if they ignore it if it is transferring gold from one of your own characters to another one of your own characters because I have, on more than one occasion, transferred large sums of gold between characters and nothing has ever happened to me.

    2. Yes, within the same account is ignored. I suspect that if it's more than 20k, it generates an alert that a GM investigates and if it's more than 50k, it does an insta-ban that the person then has to open a ticket to get their account re-enabled. It's a stupid system that punishes the buyer, but not the seller.

    3. It is a stupid system, but it is also really avoidable.

      Like in the US, if you deposit more than 9K the IRS needs to get notified. So if I have more than 9K to deposit, I just make out 2 deposit slips. Deposit one, then the other. Simple. All so I do not raise red flags. I would do the same in game. I would send 10 mails with 10K each instead of 1 with 50K.

  7. Blizzard did nothing on any of these situations.

    I'll tell you a story. Two guildies of mine, Z and N, they had an understanding. N would pay for Z's gametime if Z would do what N asked of him. And N asked a lot through the years. To do the Argent Tournament quests / rep for him, to do the MoP dailies for him for the 90 coins, to farm mounts, to farm pets, to do achievements he was missing. Z flipped when he was told to do the cooking dailies still even though N already had the tiny guy that gave a cooking token. They had a fight and N said their arrangement was over. N had already paid for the current month for Z. But he was so frustrated that his 'good will' was not appreciated that he decided to cancel Z's payment for the current month. It took a few days and the account was frozen. It only had 3 more days to it till the month would have been done, but N felt he had to punish him like that.

    Now, I paid for Z's time after that. BUT. I had to pay the previous month as well, so basically, I paid the full month that was retracted to unfreeze the account and he was given the 3 days that were left as well. Then I paid another month starting at the end of the 3 days.

    So what I'm trying to say is - these are, in fact, scams. This is not blizzard doing anything, the time and pets get stripped because payment gets cancelled. The 'stripping' is not immediate, going through banking flows and no real weekend transaction politics, country specifics and so on. But the system itself is in place and it works.

    That's for the setup. All of these people above though, they are guilty. They read the ToS (or were supposed to). Your guildie was even made aware by you. Any defense or logic made is childish.
    It's like crossing the street in illegal places, since people don't get punished for it and do it every day it seems 'natural'. But that still makes it illegal and it can actually be punished by law.

    Most people, unfortunately, don't respect rules nor others. They have to FEAR punishment, like animals. Otherwise, they do whatever they want. It's sad that everything needs to be policed to keep people in line, but that's the case with human beings.

    And the undeniable truth is, gold sellers and bots exist because people buy from them. Not because the game developers can't get rid of them. If people were not giving so much into their temptation and followed the rules they had agreed to, there wouldn't be this situation in which every MMO, new or old, is plagued by gold sellers. Stop buying, stop trying to go around the rules but no, people are too much attracted by easier ways to gain things (which may also be circumventing the law). In games and in real life. We wouldn't have corruption otherwise.

    On a side note, girls play male characters all the time. It's only that guys don't pay all that much attention and associate female in their mind with female voice no matter what the character's gender actually is. When they do realize the character's gender and see emotes like 'HE thinks' 'HE does this and that' they think it's funny and awkward. Just out of experience. May not

    1. I understand what you are saying, if the guy sells something and then cancels payment what he paid for is removed. I 100% understand that and agree with that course of action.

      My issue here is this. Why do they keep letting the guy buy things if all is he doing is cancelling over and over. If I, or any person, owned a company and kept selling things to this one person and this one person always canceled payment I would stop selling to them.

      Why is blizzard still letting this person buy stuff and sell it in game?

      Shouldn't he have been cut off?
      Shouldn't he have been banned for breaking the terms of service?
      Shouldn't the gold be removed from his account?

      They do none of that and that is what the issue is.

      We have 2 females in guild that play only male characters. One said she does it so she does not get hassled in game which makes sense.

      My favorite story on that topic comes from back in wrath when I am riding around on a female death knight I had made. Someone whispered me, are you a real girl and I replied, should it matter?

      In the end, that is the question, should it matter? It shouldn't. Only children or really desperate adult males see female players as meat and it is sad they do. But like that one female in guild, she felt forced to play male characters to get away from it.

  8. I think, it's highly possible, that this person is selling the same codes over and over again, which makes it very easy for Blizzard to track and remove the game time. No idea why it's being allowed to continue unless this person is continuously creating new accounts/characters etc.

    1. I doubt that is it because you can not use a code more than once. I've tried it before when I got one of the card game mounts before shared mounts and you just get a message saying it has been used already. I am sure the in game ones work the same way.

      The person is on the same character doing it over and over again. Not new account or another. It is mind boggling that blizzard lets him keep selling stuff but removes it from the people that buy it.

  9. Sometimes I wonder if these things are slightly more complicated than they first appear.

    Removing the goods from the buyer is simple and straight forward, they shouldn't have it, we'll take that away thank you very much.

    But for the seller, maybe and its just hypothesis, Blizzard is doing more than just a casual ban hammer. As has been said, these transactions usual use stolen credit cards and accounts; just banning the account doesn't do much but if you're gather evidence for legal proceedings then its generally better to let people give you multiple examples. If there are, and I'm just guessing here, behind the scenes legalities then there may well be law enforcement involved building a case. IP tracking and the like to actually catch the buggers rather than just banning some poor saps stolen account.

    Just a thought. Of no help to those that have had their gold taken but also a life lesson learnt perhaps.

    1. I can see that, but lets just play pretend for a moment. Pretend blizzard is "letting" him sell stuff to gather some more information.

      Why penalize the people that bought from him if they are letting him sell? If he was not selling, they would have not bought. Them letting him sell is nothing short of entrapment for those that purchased from him, and that is wrong.

      The issue I personally have it with, and it is my opinion only but I believe it has a reasonable basis, is that blizzard allowing this person to post for months on end even if for the reasons you mentioned gives the impression to the players that it is legal. Because if it was illegal the character would have been banned. So letting him go on daily, almost hourly, for months is like blizzard telling people it is okay.

      So with that in mind, blizzard telling people it is okay by taking no action, they should not be stripping the people who purchased anything from them because blizzard basically said it was okay to do so by taking no action against that person.

    2. Nah, they keep talking big talks about how they investigate and not ban outright because they want to prevent, bla bla bla, but, first, that mostly applies to in-game exploits, not sales (the devs might really investigate the issue for some time, because it is not always clear how to fix it cleanly, need more data, etc), and, second, this happens rarely.

    3. As I said, there is nothing to investigate. They should just see him post he is selling stuff and ban him. Simple as that. The "we are investigating" is basically an excuse for people not wanting to do their job.

      Like the time I saw the level 85 flying and actually got a GM to talk to me. I said to the GM after they said they needed to investigate, to come to me, he is right by me now, he is 85 and he is flying. No investigation needed. He said, that is not how it works. Just proof blizzard does not give a flying fuck about what goes on in game, only about how much work they can avoid doing.

  10. I cannot find any reason or excuse for Blizzard's lack of ToU enforcement of ads in /Trade.

    On large realms, like Silvermoon-EU, Stormscale-EU, I cannot allow Badboy to run in auto-report mode because I will be disconnected within minutes. (Blizzard disconnect people who make too many reports too quickly.)

    These are not ambiguous messages that Badboy auto-reports. There is nothing ambiguous about "WTS [Iron Skyreaver], [Armored Bloodwing]".

    For that matter, "WTS RBG Boost. Our website takes Paypal" doesn't leave much to the imagination either.

    And whatever about leaving those traps out there for otherwise innocent people to walk into, it is unreasonable to punish the sellers and not the buyer in the cases you have documented.

    However, I find it hard to believe that Blizzard got any credit card money from these sales.

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity - and large companies can act with incredible stupidity, even when individuals are smart.

    "WTS [Iron Skyreaver], [Armored Bloodwing]" should cause an automated, instant ban (which can be appealed in weird cases). Everything after that follows from not dealing with the original problem.

    1. I agree, and that is what I am getting at. Why was the person not banned immediately and is allowed to keep selling stuff 3 months later but the people that purchased it had actions taken away from there.

      There is no need to investigate. They posted they are selling it. What investigation is needed?

      In defense of the people that did purchase from him.. he has been posting for months, has not been banned. It makes it appear as if blizzard does not have a problem with it. They might have known better, but after blizzard does nothing to the seller, they begin to think it blizzard is okay with it.

      If blizzard had just done their job and banned the person selling this stuff as soon as he started posting he was selling it, this would not be an issue and there would be many people that would not have gotten scammed because they were lead to believe it was legal because apparently blizzard does not mind because they are not banning him.

      While people are at fault because they broke the ToS as well by buying from him, blizzard is the only one at fault here. As you said, he should have been instantly banned as soon as he posted he was selling that stuff.

  11. "The seller puts in the transactions for game time, mounts, pets whatever on a normal debit/credit card (not fake/stolen etc)... then calls the bank to stop the money ever leaving their account."

    This is exactly what happens.

    The exchange of sensitive data (which account to put gametime on, etc) happens outside the game, so the chat logs contain little evidence of the wrongdoing, only hints that it might have happened elsewhere.

    The CMs can't pin down the seller, and perhaps mostly don't even try to (because they heard from other CMs in the office that this is a dead-end), and so they "solve" the issue in the shortest way possible, which is to put it all on the buyer who have broken the ToS.

    Sum total: players can't know the items / game time are going to disappear, and Blizzard are too lazy and inept to prevent scams like this.

    1. By the way, the solution to buying mounts and pets without having them removed from you even if it the seller wants to scam you like that (or sells a duped item):


      If you suspect anything at all (which in this time and age means if the item is normally bought with real money OR if it costs over 50k or so), have the seller put them on the AH, buy them from there, eat the AH fee.

      In this case, if the seller retracts the original payment, Blizzard are going to eat that, not you. And you shouldn't care, because you had no way of knowing, it's them who can't keep their game clean, not you.

      Doesn't work for game time, obviously.

    2. 10 minutes in trade any given day and they know where the things are coming from.

      One note to any of the people they stripped things from to find out who they purchased it from.

      One minute in the database to find which account that credit card number is connected to.

      All very easy and extremely fast ways to "fix" the issue and stop this from happening. But they all suffer from willful blindness.

      The AH thing is a good idea, but for these people buying game time it is not an option.

      Blizzard NEEDS, yes in all capitals to stress it, needs to add a way to sell game time in game for gold. So I can spend 15 bucks and buy a tradable game time item to put on the auction house. There you go, fixed the problem and blizzard now makes even more money because people that might have quit because they did not want to pay a subscription won't quit and someone else will be paying their subscription for them.

      How blind can blizzard be? Very blind.