The worst part of the keylogging episode was that my Shaman was transferred from a PvP to PvE server. After about a week in limbo my beloved Tauren was returned to her proper place. I was extremely relieved. Unfortunately that's the only thing on my account that Blizzard was kind enough to restore. They refused to return any of my gear or gold and did nothing about the items ninjaed from the guild bank. I appealed their decision with several emails. Those appeals were ubiquitously denied despite logical arguments and heart-filled plights. I thought it was all over, for better or for worse.
I got more bad news in my email box the other day:
This email is to inform you that there has been a payment dispute filed against <ACCOUNT NAME> for a recent paid character transfer. As a result, the character for which the payment was disputed has been temporarily disabled.
As a result of this dispute, funds paid for the transfer were withdrawn from Blizzard Entertainment in direct violation of the account's terms. This is known as a "chargeback."
The total withdrawn by this chargeback was: $25.00.
A full timeline for this chargeback is as follows:
2/14/2008 - The credit card was charged: $25.00 as a result of this character transfer.
3/11/2008 - The credit card company considered the dispute a success, thus creating a negative balance for the above mentioned account.
The account is now considered by Blizzard to have a negative balance, and the character will be unavailable for play until any and ALL outstanding balances have been repaid to Blizzard. These funds can only be repaid via a money order for the full and EXACT amount of the disputed funds: $25.00.
[Further instruction text]
Once the money order is received and processed, Blizzard will unlock the character for play again, provided these instructions have been followed.
I panicked. I felt that Blizzard was holding my Shaman for ransom. Through my semi-hysterical eyes, the email read something like. "We have your Shaman. So far she has not been harmed. Unless you send us the sum of $25 in an unmarked envelope, you will never see your Shaman alive again." I was torn about paying it. Yes, I want my Shammy to be safe and sound. On the other hand, I was afraid that by paying for the transaction I was legitimizing it. I felt that equated in a way taking to responsibility for the credit card fraud that was committed while I was not in control of my account.
With a little help from my friends and encouragement from the WoW Insider team, I bravely emailed account administration and called the billing line. After waiting on hold for just short of ten minutes, a voice came on the line. I began an impassioned plea, with little tears welling in the corner of my eye, for mercy on my poor Shaman. After all, she'd been though enough already. To my astonishment, clemency was granted. The follow-up email stated:
After a thorough review of World of Warcraft account <ACCOUNT NAME>, we have determined that the registered user does not appear to have been in control of the account at the time of the charge that was contested by the financial institution; as a result we will waive the chargeback(s) that you were previously notified of. The fees in the amount of $25.00 have been addressed, and you will not be required to provide a money order for those funds.
**Please note that this waiver is a one time exception. Further chargebacks may result in account action up to and including account closure.**
In the past, my experiences with Blizzard's account services have been primarily negative. The first time I called regarding the keylogger, I was so angry I threw my phone across the room (and I'm not a violent person). It went downhill from there. The customer service forums are filled with upset players looking for news and relief on their compromised account.
This time, the Staff was responsive. I'd like to publicly thank Jacob H. from the phone support team for not torturing me when I called for help. Finally, I had a positive experience from Blizzard's technical support. Now how about a more secure authentication procedure?