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Square Enix Sued For "Unfair Business Practices" Regarding Final Fantasy XI Subscription Fees

JGaskill
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Posted June 25, 2009 - By Jake Gaskill


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Square EnixMany a Final Fantasy fan perhaps believes that publisher Square Enix can do no wrong, but it seems that a whole mess of people think Square is just a big, lawbreaking jerk that needs to be punished.

According to Courthouse News Service, a federal class-action lawsuit has been brought against the mega publisher on behalf of 100,000 subscribers. The suit alleges that the company did not fully disclose information regarding subscription fees and late fee penalties, among other things such as interest and restrictions with regards to the company's MMORPG Final Fantasy XI. The official charges are unfair business practices, false advertising and unjust enrichment (i.e. wrongfully receiving money for services that must then be reimbursed).

Plaintiff Esther Leong and the class she represents are seeking over $5 million in damages. After doing a quick look at some of Square’s FFXI web pages over the past six years (thank you WayBackMachine!), there has been a “Service and Support” section on the FFXI homepage since 2004. Today, that section houses all of Square’s PlayOnline and FFXI member agreements and policies.

Now, based on just a few minutes of researching, it seems that the two policies, taken directly from the FFXI site, that appear to pose the biggest obstacles for the prosecution are as follows:

"The current terms of this Agreement, together with the terms of the Software License Agreements, User Agreements, Privacy Policy, and Rules, can be found within the PlayOnline Service or on the Website, and you agree to review these terms from time to time, and in any event promptly upon notice of any changes, whether such notice is delivered to you directly or simply posted."

And:

"You acknowledge and agree that SEI may change the amount of the Subscription Fee at any time; provided, however, that such change will be announced by SEI prior to its effective date. If you do not terminate your access to and use of the Fee-Based Services by the first calendar day of the month in which any pricing change takes place, you will be deemed to have agreed to the new pricing, and the Subscription Fee will continue to be automatically charged and due and payable as set forth herein."
 
That seems pretty clear-cut to me, but then again, that’s probably why I’m only an amateur lawyer. Now, there are other charges regarding interest fees and such, but all of those policies are also addressed on the FFXI site. Given the amount of money at stake in this case, I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing about it.
 
Anyone Final Fantasy XI players out there who are part of this lawsuit? Do you have any ideas as to what “unfair business practices” might be referring?

Source (via 1UP)
Square Enix Sued For "Unfair Business Practices" Regarding Final Fantasy XI Subscription Fees
http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/696866/square-enix-sued-for-unfair-business-practices-regarding-final-fantasy-xi-subscription-fees/
http://images.g4tv.com/ImageDb3/143016_S/Square-Enix.jpg
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