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Star Citizen backer loses court case for $4,500 refund

Arbitration clause in end-user license agreement protects developer RSI from refund claims in court

A judge has ruled in favour of Star Citizen developer Roberts Space Industries after a crowdfunding backer took the company to court requesting a refund for nearly $4,500.

Ken Lord, a data scientists from Colorado, pledged the sum to Star Citizen in April 2013 expecting the game to release no later than 2016.

The case appeared before a judge in a California small claims court late last week.

Lord's prepared argument included multiple version of the terms of service, complete records of his communication with RSI, and a document detailing the 77 promises RSI had failed to fulfil.

Despite this, an arbitration clause in the end-user license agreement prevents anyone from taking RSI to court for a refund, and the case was never made. RSI also declined Lord's offer to settle for $3,800.

Although the ruling went against him, Lord said he intends to keep fighting.

"I'm going to pursue it further," he told Motherboard. "I'm not sure in what direction. I'm going to be speaking with a couple of different attorneys to evaluate my options."

RSI told Motherboard that it only considers refunds outside of the 30-day window in "exceptional cases" and that its policy is "actually very generous when compared to nearly any other gaming company".

Star Citizen was originally funded on Kickstarter to the tune of $2 million in 2012. Since then, RSI has continued to raise staggering amounts of cash through its own crowdfunding efforts, reaching a total of $190 million.

Lord, who suffers from multiple sclerosis said that the game had changed so much from its original scope -- with the inclusion of new game modes such as Squadron 42 -- and he would actually be unable to play it with his condition.

"My hands shake badly," he said. "I have tremors...They just recently confirmed that you have to do the first-person shooter thing to get through Squadron 42. I can't do that, I just can't do that. So my money's stuck in a game I can't possibly play."

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Latest comments (4)

Joe.Blobers Surveyor, Satsuma DroidA month ago
I am chocked. All information was just about a guy trying to get refund. No details given information about a poor guy having disease againt a very bad company with no mercy... An individual suffering from multiple sclerosi know that his disease is going to be worst every year. Almost guaranteed.
He knew what Star citizen project was. Ships with a lot of pew-pew. He knew the scope change in 2014 for 2 Triple-A and kept adding pledges...

Triple-A are not done in 4 years by a company starting from scratch. He knew it. sclerosi doesnt equal to brainless moron.

In short, the judge got all information:

LA county judge agreed with RSI, cutting off Lord's hopes for a refund

Same TOS applied by a 125 millions active accounts company: Steam
In short the guy may have seen a Beta available soon (let say end of 2019) and tried to get a refund to buy the game at starter package price: 45$

CIG by applying TOS (finally!) is protecting others Backers of potential malign action.
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Ok so maybe they could hide behind some small type legalize. How about having some ethics? morals? humanity? Its not like this game hasnt changed multiple times from what it once was advertised as. I was a early backer, and to be honest I lost all interest in this title years ago, its a text book example of feature creep. So now instead of just quietly returning this guys money as this should fall under" exceptional cases", they chose to be the corporate assholes and hide behind small print and lawyers. Yeah, that always great publicity for a game that many consider to be anything but.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 18th July 2018 8:10pm

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Joe.Blobers Surveyor, Satsuma DroidA month ago
@Todd Weidner: CIG know about ethic and did refund people with serious PROVEN case. The guy comes with all TOS, letter and disease excuse in hands and judge decided that this was not eligible. Why not come with a real Medical expert saying he can't play this game at all?

No Court, nothing but a refund by CIG... I would had sign a petition if necessary to support that but no... reality is that people with a desease can also be criminal and act accordingly or attempt malign actions. It is not confirm he did it... but Judge took a decison, including his situation.

CIG do have to protect others Backers from such behavior. Now that message is sent, nobody will claim he was not aware.
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Show all comments (4)
Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing A month ago
As long as people refuse to distinguish between a binding promise with a proper plan and a vague statement designed to spur the imagination of the listener, they are doomed to fall for games such as Star Citizen, or worse, populist politicians.

The story on release day will remain the same. Some corporate messenger trying to explain to customers, that the games was never promised to have all the things people imagined. The company merely exploited the imagination of people running wild by not correcting their false assumptions for the sake of more pre-orders. Maybe that last sentence is dropped.

It is the non-surprising story of Star Citizen, it happened to many other games before and the next big game to most likely suffer heavily from that is Anthem.
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