Makarem & Associates has filed a lawsuit against Square Enix, Inc, developer and operator of the online role playing game, Final Fantasy XI, as part of a nation-wide federal class-action lawsuit associated with alleged unfair billing practices.
The complaint alleges that the online-only game is sold without fully disclosing the terms and penalties associated with its online subscription at the time of purchase. Players are not informed that they are required to continuously pay monthly online subscription fees if they want to keep the game and their character before purchasing the game and opening the box. If a player fails to pay the monthly fee for three months, that player’s character information is deleted and the registration code accompanying the game is cancelled, making the game unplayable. The lawsuit alleges that this cancellation forces a player to buy a new game and start over.
“Players should not be forced to pay their monthly $12.95 subscription fee if they are not playing the game,” says Ron Makarem of Makarem & Associates. The complaint alleges that Square Enix knows retailers do not allow Final Fantasy XI buyers to return the game for a refund after the box has been opened. In other words, buyers of the game cannot return the game to get their money back if they disagree with the online service charges. The complaint further alleges that Square Enix causes users to continue to pay the online subscription fees, despite not playing the game, solely to avoid the penalties.