The Policy

Wooo, finally a decent day.  And boy did I need one.

When I woke up this morning, I was exhausted.  Not physically.  Mentally.  My body was ready to get out of bed, but my mind wanted to stay wrapped in the cozy blanket and not face the day.  I was tired of running bad and tired of feeling all of the negative emotions associated with soul-crushing three stacks of high society level downswings.

woo1

I’m not out of the woods yet.  Far from it, actually.  Still $15k+ below EV for the month and piles more over the past three.  And still 110,000 VPPs away from the promised land of SNE, which unfortunately is starting to look less and less like the financial sanctuary I thought it’d be.

terminus

It’s a Walking Dead reference.

About a year ago, Amaya Gaming purchased PokerStars.  I didn’t think it mattered.  Different owners, same old ‘Stars.  At least, that’s what happened at first.  But over time, there have been some subtle (and some not so subtle) changes.  The last regime genuinely seemed to care not only about preserving the game, but treating its loyal costumers with fairness and respect.  Countless times I suffered disconnections and on each occasion PokerStars would refund me a significant portion of the losses.  They didn’t have to do it, in fact their policy stated that internet issues were beyond their control — but Stars still went against their own rules to make things right for a customer.

I’ve yet to suffer a disconnection while Stars has been under Amaya’s flag, but I doubt they’ll follow in the footsteps of their predecessors.  Just one post isn’t enough to detail all of my gripes with the new administration, so for now I’ll start with the moment when I first realized that things would be different under Amaya.

At the end of May I moved into a new condo in Vancouver and with a semi-permanent address, placed an order in the PokerStars store.  In the past I’d always exchanged my player points for cash bonuses, but this time I selected two of the classiest items available:

Nike Sport II Duffle Bag

gymbag

 

Black Chip Hoodie

hoodie

 

I eagerly awaited their arrival, which was supposed to take six to eight weeks.  Eight weeks went by and neither item had shown up.  I spoke with a few grinders who had made purchases from the VIP Store and they told me the wait-time was as long as as twelve weeks.  Oh well, I thought.  It was Summer in Vancouver, not exactly hooide weather anyway.  The temperature got a tad colder once September rolled around and so just after the twelve week mark, I emailed support to ask about the status of my items.

Hello Aaron,

Thank you for contacting the PokerStars VIP Store.

This order was placed on May 31st; please note that once the delivery time for your region has passed, the order is assumed to have been delivered. The delivery time frames for each region are listed in the Order Confirmation email.

Unfortunately, in this case it is more than likely that your package was abandoned or destroyed and we, due to Company Policy, cannot make any changes or credit back FPPs for orders over 3 months old (12 weeks from the date the order was placed), unless the shipment is returned to us by the shipping company.

You may refer to our VIP Store FAQ page:

http://www.pokerstars.com/vip/store/faq/

In the future we kindly ask that you notify us of any issues (tracking, condition, exchange) with your VIP Store orders within the specific delivery time frame for your region.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

Regards,

Eva W
PokerStars VIP Store Team

 

Wait, what?  Is this real-life?  I ordered something, it didn’t arrive, and it’s my fault?  That doesn’t make sense.  I asked if there were any tracking numbers and/or way to find out the location of the package.

 

Hello Aaron,

Thank you for your email.

Please note that most packages are shipped with regular postal mail, depending on the item ordered, which means there is no tracking information available. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Although we can empathize with your situation, we regret to inform you that we are unable to process your claim. We hope you understand that if we make an exception and send you a replacement, this will set a precedent and will make our rules impossible to uphold. We must respect the integrity of our program.

We recommend that you inquire if anyone has received the package for you, perhaps a friend, family member or neighbor. Please also note that you may use a different mailing address for future VIP Store orders as to avoid the same situation; this can be your place of work or the address of a relative or friend.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

Regards,

Eva W
PokerStars VIP Store Team

 

I didn’t like how they insinuated that my address wasn’t secure enough.  They act as if I lived in some tough neighborhood and gang-bangers rolled up to my door to snatch the package off my porch.  No, the condo I lived in was extremely secure, requiring key to get in the building and a separate one to access the individual mailboxes, so using a different address wouldn’t accomplish anything.

I was “inconvenienced” about 6,500 VPPs, real money equivalent of $85 ish dollars.  It’s not a huge deal, I suppose.  ”Only” $85.  But imagine if a low stakes recreational player put in all those hours, lost a bunch at the tables and used those hard-earned FPPs on items only to not receive them?  He’d be pissed.  So while the money mean might not mean that much to be, I was extremely annoyed about the principle.  I’m going to pay $80,000 in rake this year and they won’t refund me for items that never arrived?  I was absolutely floored.  My friend said he was “Shocked to see Stars take such a weird stand on such a small amount of $ for such a dumb reason” and I couldn’t agree more.  But of course, that was the old PokerStars.  This new version is a completely different animal.

Hello Aaron,

Thank you for your reply.

Please note that it is mandatory that you inform us when a package does not arrive within the delivery time. Once again we are truly sorry that you are not satisfied with our procedures, but for PokerStars is imperative to respect and follow our terms of service. We are sure you can appreciate that we need to have regulations which allow PokerStars to keep functioning harmoniously and being the best Poker Site in the industry.

Unfortunately, our terms of service were overlooked; therefore, we are unable to proceed with your claim. We hope you understand that we do our best to ensure our players are well aware of our delivery time frames by including this information on our web site and in the Order Confirmation email; however, it is every player’s responsibility to know and understand there are policies which must be followed; whether it be by fully reading our FAQ or carefully reviewing our auto emails

Our intention is to reward our valued members, it is for this reason we offer the VIP Program as an additional benefit, nonetheless, we are sure you can understand that we have regulations which must be respected by our members.

It is impossible for the VIP Store to follow-up on the thousands of orders that are sent out on a weekly basis, which is why it is every player’s responsibility to track the progress of each package and report any problems no later than 3 months after having placed the order.

All we ask is that this deadline is met, that all claims are reported to us on time and we are happy to reimburse our players their FPPs when packages are not received. Otherwise, unfortunately, we can no longer investigate as most postal offices and couriers only hold information for up to 3 months.

Unfortunately, we cannot be held accountable should our customers fail to comply with the maximum time frame of which they are informed; these rules apply to all players regardless of their VIP status, country or value of the item.

Once again we are really sorry we cannot accommodate your request.

We trust this concludes your inquiry, however, should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will gladly assist you further.

Regards,

Eva W
PokerStars VIP Store Team

While I don’t think the seller can possibly blame the buyer, part of me understands where they’re coming from.  At some level, I am responsible; Pokerstars has a policy requiring me to notify them if an item doesn’t show up.  I was unaware of that policy (Every other player I’ve shared this story with is also unaware), but ignorance is not an excuse.  Even if the policy I’m ignorant about is downright terrible, as the expiration date on my complaint is only a few weeks after its scheduled delivery.  But hey, it’s their policy.  And technically, they don’t have to refund my VPPs or re-send the items.

But I know the old PokerStars would have made things right.