Alex Edwards played Final Fantasy Online for a few months, then grew tired of the game, which lets you go on monster-battling quests and build up your ranking. His parents Frank and Cinda, who were paying the $13 a month subscription, tried to cancel the account online.
But Final Fantasy didn’t offer Cinda a way to do that online, and didn’t offer her a contact phone number, either. The Edwards finally found the number via their credit card statement — but when they called, they spent an hour and 45 minutes on hold before someone answered the phone.
Most folks would grind their teeth into pulp after the experience, vow never to let their kid sign up for another MMO — Massively Multiplayer Online — game, and leave it at that. But unfortunately for Square Enix, who makes Final Fantasy, Frank Edwards is an alderman in Springfield, Illinois and a good friend of his local State Rep. Raymond Poe. So this week Illinois has passed a law that requires all game sites to let subscribers cancel online. Here’s the relevant passage from HB4178:
Translated out of legalese, this makes plenty of sense to us. The Internet is littered with stories of people struggling against horrible cancellation policies (remember this AOL phone call?). We’d prefer to see companies offering basic courtesies like this without the prompting of lawmakers. But if that’s what it takes, we’re happy to let the Edwards vent their frustration via legislation.
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