The Glacial Pace of GameTap Customer Chat

June 12th, 2007 by Benj Edwards

GameTap's Glacial Customer Service SpeedHaving recently fallen upon hard times (I’m saving up for a new Mac), I found it necessary to trim some fat from my monthly budget. Naturally, funds for groceries took precedence over gaming luxuries like GameTap .

I first tried the GameTap service last year as part of a review for VC&G and I found it somewhat lacking. I canceled my account after my free trial expired.

Earlier this year, I thought I’d check out Uru Live, so I reinstated my GameTap account. The service is much better than before, but alas: money is money, and GameTap had to go. As I mentioned in my 2006 review, canceling GameTap is GameTap Logoquite a hassle, requiring a phone call to GameTap support, a long wait on hold, and an annoying chat with a customer service representative who tries to tell you what you are really thinking. And according to the numerous comments from unhappy Tappers on my review, GameTap’s practice in this regard has not changed. (By the way, thousands of people find this site each month through keyword searches featuring variations on how to cancel GameTap. Check out this entry, at the bottom, for examples.)

A Ray of Hope?

Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to the cancellation process. Then I searched GameTap’s site and found this new method of canceling in their official support knowledge base:

“You can also chat live with one of our representatives online through E-chat. This service is available seven days a week during the hours of 10:30 AM to 12 midnight EST.”

GameTap Customer Chat WindowExcellent! I rejoiced in GameTap’s newfound change of heart. So many people complained about having to call, I thought, that they set up live chats with customer service representatives. It’s not as good as an automated form, but it sounds completely painless and you’d think it would be over in no time. After all, how long could it take to type “I want to cancel GameTap” five times to a customer retention agent?

Well, either this fellow was hunting and pecking each key with the back of his head, or he was specially trained to make the whole process twenty times more annoying than should actually be possible with a web application. The chat proved slow and painful as GameTap proceeded to relay each message to its base station on Venus.

Reproduced below, for your viewing pleasure, is the actual transcript of the chat I had with GameTap support, complete with timestamps on each exchange. Try playing along at home with an egg timer to feel the full effect of light-speed information-age communication.

Begin “Live” Chat Transcription with GameTap Support

JamesK: “Thank you for contacting GameTap e-support! I’m James, how may I help you today?”

Benj: “Hey there. I’d like to cancel my GameTap subscription.”

One Minute and 31 Seconds Later

JamesK: “I’m sorry to hear that. May I ask why you’re wishing to cancel with us today?”

Benj: “I’m broke.”

One Minute and Two Seconds Later

JamesK: “All right, I’ll need your last name, zip code and screen name to pull up your account for cancellation.”

Benj: “Edwards, [zip code], screen name: [screenname]

Two Minutes and 33 Seconds Later

JamesK: “it will be just a moment as I finish pulling up your account.”

Benj: “Is it up yet?”

Three Minutes and 42 Seconds Later

JamesK: “Before I cancel the account, I’d like to tell you about some features that GameTap just added. Such as the ability to purchase games and keep them forever on your computer, or download brand new games coming onto the market.”

JamesK: “Just so you could see the changes, could we interest you in a free month? It would push your billing date back to 7/21”

Benj: “No thanks.”

Benj: “Just cancel my account.”

One Minute and 32 Seconds Later

JamesK: “Okay, I will need you to confirm some information. I need your email address and billing address.”

Benj: “email: [email address], billing address: [billing address]

Two Minutes and Four Seconds Later

JamesK: “Thank you, I’m currently canceling this account. A confirmation email will be sent to you telling you we canceled the account. Finally, we have an interaction number for you in case you need to call back about this session or the cancellation.”

JamesK: “that number is [interaction number]

JamesK: “Is there anything else I may help you with at this time?”

Benj: “No thanks.”

And 14 Seconds Later…

JamesK: “Thanks for contacting GameTap e-support and have a great day!”

Session Ended

15 Responses to “The Glacial Pace of GameTap Customer Chat”

  1. Jack Says:

    It looks like they read the exact same script that the phone people do. I also cancelled and then recently resubscribed to check out Tomb Raider: Anniversary and the other new things. The effort that is required to cancel seems so strange relative to the rest of the easy-to-use Gametap.

  2. Turkey Hunter Says:

    15 minutes to cancel doesn’t seem all that long to me.

  3. Gorge Says:

    He heh. I love the punchline.. how it takes him only 14 seconds to respond at the end even though he’s been stretching the whole thing out as long as possible. They do that to try to get you to change your mind or get tired of waiting then give up.

    And if 15 minutes doesn’t seem long, Turkey Hunter, try timing it out yourself and waiting then imagine you’re taking part in a so-called “live chat.” It’s a lot longer than you’d think.

  4. Dennis P Says:

    I canceled a premium music service (I was an early adopter) and it only took thirty minutes over what sounded like a bad VOIP line to the heart of darkness.

    The rep on the other end worked up to six month’s free if I just didn’t cancel. The backchatter was the same as above: did you know about all the new features, enhancements, bonuses, etc?

    I told her that every time I logged on, more and more of the songs I liked had to be download for pay – no more listens on the service. Everything from Thomas Dolby to R.L. Burnside to Dean Martin.

    “But we have over two million songs!” she insisted.

    I just didn’t have the two million dollars that it would eventually cost to listen to them.

  5. Benj Edwards Says:

    I know the wait wasn’t totally crazy. But it was severely annoying and obviously drawn out on purpose. I found it especially humorous that it took him over six minutes to “pull up” my account.

    I imagined him standing up from his desk, taking an elevator to the third floor where all the records are kept on old fashioned paper documents in thousands of rows of file cabinets. He had to find the right row, the right cabinet, the right file, then take it back up to his office on the fifth floor and ask me if I really wanted to cancel. Then I had to wait for him to put my file back. 🙂

  6. Keith Gable Says:

    You still are better off than talking to Dell’s “Gold Customer Support”. Imagine this. A simple problem. The motherboard is dead. You know this. You spent an hour diagnosing this. You get all of the information ready (service tag, part name, part number, etc.) just so that it can go quickly. You type out a single long paragraph containing that information.

    Five minutes later, they respond asking for the service tag. You just told them that. You politely tell them again.

    Two minutes.

    They want you to run diagnostics. You tell them why you know it’s the motherboard.

    Five minutes. They still want me to run diagnostics.

    Fine then. Okay. I run diagnostics. That takes ten minutes. Then I tell them “yeah, diagnostics errors out too.”

    Five minutes.

    Okay, they’ll set up the exchange and get me a dispatch number.

    Ten minutes.

    Tells me the number.

    It’s like that almost every time I get on Dell Gold Chat for work. RAM, motherboard, docking station, power adapter.. all of it requires about thirty minutes, or worst case scenario an hour and a half. Even if you try to speed things up.

    You’d almost think they’re doing thirty support chats or something. Or that they had to physically walk to the parts department and see if they know what a motherboard is.

    Or maybe they’re playing a game or something while they’re doing chats. I dunno.

    Calling them is almost certainly quicker. You get to actually use tone of voice to convince them you’re not trying to steal their money.

    GameTap is probably the same exact way as far as making their people do too much.

  7. KitsuneDarkStalker Says:

    They give you a free month each time you cancel? Crap, just keep threatening them each month and HELLO, FREE GAMETAP!

  8. KitsuneDarkStalker Says:

    We should draw out OUR responses to Gametap!

  9. Matt Says:

    15 minutes doesn’t seem that bad. I work in a chat room at my job. People sometimes underestimate how long it can take our tools to respond. Also if you go nonstop from one chat to the next, you have to slow down to maintain your sanity.

  10. drake Says:

    I have worked and know people that work in customer support. In fact, it seems to be the main source of employment for this town if you have no other work experience. I can tell you exactly why they take so long. They are paid by the hour. If they can get you finished in five minutes, then they are expected to get everyone finished in five minutes. They do it so that they don’t have to work themselves to death to earn their measly minimum wage…

    Take that into consideration, ok?

    By the way, I’m only posting this for informative purposes. I mean no offence to any of you.

  11. Benj Edwards Says:

    Thanks for your comment, Drake.

    I see GameTap’s lackluster customer service as a reflection of GameTap the company, and particularly the executives who decide to run their business that way. It’s definitely not the fault of the actual employees behind the keyboard or on the phone. They don’t make the rules, and they definitely don’t set their pay rate.

  12. Allen Says:

    I hope Gametap is reading this page. One of the things that I do before I turn my credit card info over to anyone is check how hard it will be to cancel. MMORPG’s manage to stay in business with a web cancel. Finding this as a top google hit to “cancel gametap subscription” is making me think twice.

  13. TTFK Says:

    I have taken to a new way of cancelling site subscriptions that make you jump through hoops: Replace my credit card number with a string of zeros.

  14. Benj Edwards Says:

    I’ve actually tried that before, TTFK, with many services. Unfortunately, most of them have thought ahead and won’t even let me change my credit card info unless it’s valid. It’s frustrating not having control over your own information.

  15. Joe O'Hanlon Says:

    On the 19th I purchased F1 2010 I got everything dwnloaded and when I went to install it onto the computer,3/4 of the way thru,the computer informed me the file is corrupt,so using a little common sense I deleated everything and started over.I keep getting the same error message that the file is corrupt.Here it’s the 26th and I am out of ideas on how to get this game up and running.As a favor is there any way youall could download the game for me ?,I will pay what I need to pay to get it here.I sure it is not my computer,I spent almost 12 hours going thru everything and everything is up to par. > Thank-You for your time. > Joe O’Hanlon/1-716-525-1886,I am disabled and will be here 24/7 so call if you want anytime.

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