Transport and online games at the top of consumer disputes

  • By Lo Chi and Kayleigh Madjar / Staff Journalist, with Editor-in-Chief

Consumer disputes over online games are the second most common after transportation disputes, with account theft being the main complaint, the Yuan Executive Committee for Consumer Protection said on Wednesday.

The number of disputes has steadily increased since last year, possibly because more people are staying indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, Senior Consumer Ombudsman Wang Te-ming said (王德明) , predicting that the number would continue to rise as the pandemic continues.

More than 1,440 disputes have been filed so far this year, in addition to 3,600 last year, according to committee statistics.

Of those filed last year, 1,177 were for allegedly stolen accounts, while 1,102 were canceled refunds, the data showed.

Additionally, 277 disputes involved poor internet connections, more than 100 involved theft of in-game items and more than 140 involved underage purchases, the data showed.

The highest disputed amount was around NT $ 100,000 that a teenager spent on gambling chips, the committee said.

Once a player realizes that their account or in-game item has been stolen, Wang said they should contact the game company first to confirm the theft and suspend the account or item.

However, if the player has not used the free security features provided by the company, they might not be responsible for compensating or restoring lost items, Wang added.

If a player wishes to cancel their subscription, they have the right to submit a written request to the company within seven days of opening the account, he said, adding that no reason should be given.

Players can also request a refund of any unused store credit and request a subscription cancellation at any time, Wang said.

The company must then repay any unused credit or fees within 30 days, although it has no obligation to refund tokens or in-game items, he added.

However, the committee also reminded players that these rights only apply to Taiwanese game companies – disputes with foreign companies without a representative in Taiwan may be left without remedy.

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