Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Facebook stole money from me!

Yes, Facebook did indeed steal money from me. The amount was not great, but the principal stands that they stole from me. I don't like having things stolen from me, no matter who is doing the stealing. I'm not going to keep quiet about it, hence this post, which will be linked to via Twitter and thereby Facebook as well.

Please read me story and feel free to share it with others.

Earlier this year Facebook (fb) gave away free Facebook Credits (FC), some of these were given for playing certain games on fb. I received a number of these free FC.

The main game that I play on fb is MouseHunt (MH). I decided that I would use my FC to purchase the in game premium cheese, Super|brie+ (SB). With MH (and I'm assuming most other apps) the more you spend, the more you get for your money. Between the free FC and then a few more that I got from doing some of the free offers (surveys and such) I had 65 FC. I could use this to purchase 75 SB twice, for a total of 150 SB. For 75 FC I could get 325 SB, over twice as much for just a little more.

I decided that I could buy the extra 10 FC that I needed and get the best value. I have a Visa Debit Rebate Card that we received from rebate that we took advantage of. I figured this would be the best way, so that fb wouldn't have access to a real credit card number from me.

Now, the minimum amount of FC that you can buy is 15. This would leave me with an extra 5 FC, but I figured I could live with that. So, I entered in my payment information, only to have fb tell me that couldn't accept that payment. That was sure nice of them, they didn't want my money after all.

Then I had a great idea, I decided that I could use this card with my PayPal account and still buy the FC. So, that's exactly what I did. I purchased 15 FC and then used 75 of my now 80 FC to buy 325 SB for MH. No worries, right, all was done and I had 5 FC and some SB.

A few weeks later the card was declined for a small purchase. I thought that there should have been enough to cover it, but apparently not. Thankfully I could go online and check the balance and activity of the card.
This is what I saw (non-relevant entries have been edited out):
Click to view larger
I was very surprised to see that not only was there a pre-authorization from fb, but that there was actually a final charge as well of $1.50. I expected the charges from PayPal, as they are legitimate. To see charges from fb after they told me that they couldn't accept my payment was really shocking.
I called the customer service number on the card. Unfortunately, because of the type of card it is, they were unable to do anything. It doesn't work like a regular credit card when it comes to disputing charges.

Next, I searched fb to see if there was anyway to contact them. It wasn't easy, as I'm pretty sure that they really don't want people contacting them, but I finally found a contact form. I explained the situation and waited for their reply.

This is the reply I got from them:
Hi Craig,

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately, we are no longer able to refund your charges because the associated Facebook Credits have already been spent with MouseHunt.

I apologize for any confusion you experienced when making your purchase. Unfortunately Facebook only issues refunds for fraudulent charges so we will be unable to refund you in this particular case.

So, apparently, pretending to not accept a payment and then actually charging the card is not fraudulent?

I sent a reply and attempted, once again, to explain that the credits spent with MH were the ones purchased with PayPal. I never received any additional credits. So, I'm waiting for a reply, but I will not be surprised if I don't get one. If they only check the transaction history on my account (something I am unable to do) they would see when and where the credits came from.
Why the fuss over $1.50?
It's NOT the amount, it's the principal.
I wonder how many other people have had this happen to them without ever knowing it. Do you always check your credit card statements and look at every charge? Most people don't, I don't every time, just a quick glance. I'm hoping that my story will help others to be aware of the fact that Facebook is a thief. If they stole $1.50 from me, how much will they steal from the next person?

Please pass it on.

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