EA Responds to Battlefield 3 Premium False Advertising Claim

This week, Aussie-Gamer broke the story about EA ripping off Australian customers with their Battlefield 3 Premium marketing.

The game publishing giant advertised the price of the Premium service as “$49.99/4000 Microsoft Points” for the Australian market. The problem is that they actually charged customers a very different price.

PlayStation 3 owners were charged a whopping AU$79.95. Xbox 360 users found that 4000 Microsoft Points actually translates to AU$66. PC owners, however, are able to buy the game at AU$49.99 as advertised.

Following consumer outrage, EA lowered the extremely high PlayStation 3 pricing to a slightly more reasonable AU$64.95 – but continued to advertise the price online at AU$49.99.

We reached out to EA for comment and after a slurry of worldwide headlines, we finally made contact with Snezana Stojanovska, PR Manager – Australia and New Zealand for EA;

Check out the story so far in this handy infographic! (opens in new tab)

Aussie-Gamer: What specifically causes the difference in price in the Australian PlayStation/Xbox Live stores? After all, players on PC are being charged AU$49.99 in Australia.

Snezana Stojanovska: Sorry, but we won’t be answering any questions about pricing.

A-G: Why is EA still advertising the price as being AU$49.99 on their websites?

SS: The Origin team is updating this to include the Xbox and PS3 pricing. The price for the PC version is still $49.99 though.

A-G: Some users have expressed they feel cheated by having to re-purchase the “Back to Karkand” expansion again when they buy Premium. Can you please comment on this?

SS: Battlefield 3 fans that previously purchased Back to Karkand and then sign up for Battlefield 3 Premium still see an overall savings compared to buying each digital expansion pack separately. Plus, they get access to all the other great features Premium offers.

Aussie-Gamer also believes after conversations with consumer watchdog ACCC that some users who purchased the product after being mislead by EA’s advertising are entitled to a full refund if they wish. We asked EA for information regarding the process of initiating a refund and were told they will get back to us.

We will update with details as they come in.

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  • Bolden

    Nice work. You’ve a new follower to your site here.

    Interesting, wonder what ACCC process will be, a full refund, that would be very interesting, and may push EA to the table on the PS3 $49AU price, you either pay that (the fair and advertised price) or go for a full refund, that’d sting. However the ACCC were useless when it came to Sony removing Linux, so my hopes aren’t high here.

    • AussieGamer

      Thanks!

      I guess there’s two separate problems, depending on where you as a customer stand.

      1) EA ripped you off by advertising AU$49.99 and charging a different price. I personally believe that they should either refund the difference or allow users to return the product and refund the full amount if they wish, in this case.

      2) You haven’t bought the product yet because you noticed the difference between the price and the advertised price. This is a little trickier – because, technically since you haven’t bought anything, EA can’t really be expected to give you anything for compensation in this case. So, if you haven’t bought Premium yet because you’ve noticed the difference in price, this becomes a major customer relations issue for EA.

      Now, their goal SHOULD be to please the customer. But really, what they do to achieve that is entirely up to them.

      Then, a third issue appears from an overall perspective;

      3) You’re a government body looking at the misleading practises used by EA’s marketing team.

      This could turn out either way; they might force EA to change the price to $49.99 on all platforms, or they might force EA to change the marketing to reflect the real price. In the latter case, EA can still charge $66/$64.95 or hell, even $1000 if they wanted to.

      Still, we’ll keep searching for answers.

      • Bolden

        Agreed, it is complex.
        I’m in 1) – I think a refund only fair, it is after all simply FALSE ADVERTISING, and unless it was a $1000 item that they incorrectly keyed at $1, (which I understand), then I don’t believe anyone should let anyone get away with it.
        2) yeah, customer relations, there’s something for EA to think about.
        3) This for me is in the point 1 category. It is false advertising, and needs to be stamped out. The other part of 3, but not as tightly coupled to this issue, is the whole digital price gouge that they are apparently reviweing now, ala itunes. I will admit that I struggle to really see the factors that would explain differences in pricing, especially on software-only items, and considering we signed and participate in a free trade agreement with the US. (not sure how this applies if Dice is Swedish).

        I agree that they can charge what they please, however, its not like it was advertised as $49AU in only one place, it was all over the place, I think they need to wear it, and learn from their mistake (for next time).