***Update 1 – 2017-01-24 – 22:55 CET***

Brussel Sprout ™ has since contacted his bank and credit company and has been recommended by them to report EB Games to the local authorities as, according to them, the act does, in fact, break Australian Privacy Law. He is sending details to the police and will keep us updated as the story develops.

————————————————

You know, I’ve seen some shady business in my day. But in all my time, I haven’t seen anything like this. So a Twitter user by the name of Brussel Sprout ™ recently came out on Twitter to discuss an issue he had with an Australian Company by the name of EB Games. EB Games, for those of you who don’t know, is a company that is owned by GameStop. GameStop acquired EB Games back in 2005 for $1.44 Billion. Americans can easily attest to the iffy, to say the least, business practices of GameStop and this is no different.

Brussel Sprout ™ took some time to talk to me about the situation. He had this to say:

Justin Easler TGG:
Hey man. So tell me about what’s going on.

Brussel Sprout:
Well on Thursday I went to the ebgames.com.au website to buy some WiiU games, you know before they start disappearing. I already had an account with them and had purchased from them before. I put in my order as usual, left it, then checked Friday morning and noticed that the order had been cancelled.

eb games breaks australian private law

This is the entire story told by Sprout on Twitter (archive: http://archive.is/jfkve).

Justin Easler TGG:
And you were still charged?

Brussel Sprout
I called EB Games general customer service and all they could tell me was that my order had failed the “order verification process”. At that point they had charged my credit card and it had already left my card and landed in their account according to my bank.

Justin Easler TGG:
How did it do that?

Brussel Sprout
I quizzed why it had failed, thinking I’d maybe given the wrong card number or something. At first they wouldn’t elaborate, telling me that they couldn’t discuss internal processes.

Justin Easler TGG:
Clearly not if they charged you.

Brussel Sprout
I told them that I’d call head office. Got off the phone with them, rang the head office number in Brisbane, and it was there that they told me that I had failed their verification process because I had a chargeback on that credit card. I told them that it was impossible, I had never issued a chargeback against EB Games.

Justin Easler TGG:
Chargeback?

Brussel Sprout
I challenged them further, and asked them to tell me what the chargeback was for, when and for how much. Chargeback is the facility that credit cards have, if fraud has been committed on your credit card, to get the money back.

Justin Easler TGG:
I see.

Brussel Sprout
They wouldn’t disclose telling me they didn’t have the details. So I asked for it to be escalated and was called back by the head of Verification, Matthaus advised me that they check the credit card details with a system. That system told them that I had once, with another company, issued a chargeback on that card.

Justin Easler TGG:
Alright.

Brussel Sprout ™
So they had to decline my purchase. Then he explained they were reversing the payment they took from my card.

Justin Easler TGG:
But they still charge you for the games.

Brussel Sprout
Yes. He wouldn’t tell me who he got the information from, but alluded that it was my bank.

Justin Easler TGG:
Did they ever reverse the payment?

brussel sprout on eb games australia

Imagine being turned down for a crime that someone else committed. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

Brussel Sprout
They did reverse it.

Justin Easler TGG:
Okay. But you had no reason to be declined, correct?

Brussel Sprout
My bank assured me that they would never release any details without my permission, and in Australia a retailer can’t ask unless they’re offering you at least 7 days line of credit. They are claiming, that because I had used chargeback on my card once before, that was reason enough to cancel my order. It turns out they sent my card details, and that of every customer to ACI Worldwide in the US, without telling you they are they run it against a database and if you’ve ever reported fraud on your card, then you’re blacklisted.

So I assume it’s a bit like the old “http://badcustomer.com ” fraud that was run out of the US a few years back. So they blacklist you for fraud. But not fraud you’ve committed, fraud someone else has committed on your card.

Justin Easler TGG:
Has there ever been a case of fraud on your card?

Brussel Sprout
Yes, earlier last year. But they’re not supposed to know about it, It’s only supposed to be between myself, my bank and the fraudster. They breached privacy regulations, by using a Credit Reporting agency, that is not allowed to operate in Australia, to get information they had no right to access.

Justin Easler TGG:
I see. That’s absolutely terrible. So, they charged you for your order, then used illegal means to get information on you they can’t legally have to deny you your order.

Brussel Sprout
Exactly that.

Justin Easler TGG:
Do you plan to take up legal action? That’s an extremely illegal act they’ve committed. If you’d rather not answer, feel free not to.

shiba in beige on eb games australia

You heard it here, folks.

Brussel Sprout
I’ve already put in a formal complaint with our federal privacy commissioner. Of course EB Games wouldn’t put in writing what they did. They know full well that what they’ve done is illegal I’m sure it’s probably also illegal in the US to check a consumers credit rating without their express permission ACI Worldwide is located in Naples Florida, from what I understand. And EB Games parent company is GameStop of the US.

Justin Easler TGG:
Well I hope you’ll see justice for what’s happened. I’m not actually sure if it’s illegal here. I know for large purposes such as cars and the like they can check your credit but not for minor purchases. GameStop is gaining a bad reputation as it is here.

Brussel Sprout
It’s the same here. If you’re being given a line of credit of any type, then they can check, but you still have to give permission But to give a customer’s credit card and personal details over to a third-party, in another country, is just plain dangerous I had to cancel my credit card as I don’t know who has the details now. And the line is impossible to follow ACI worldwide has no facility for customers to challenge information they have on file which in this country is also illegal. Credit reporting agencies have to have a facility for customers to challenge marks on their file But here, it would also be illegal for a credit reporting agency to place “chargebacks” on a credit report I’m just hoping enough people hear about this, to not give their credit card details over to EB Games.

Justin Easler TGG:
Yeah this is all kinds of bad business.

Brussel Sprout
Getting them prosecuted for their behaviour would just be the cherry on top.

Justin Easler TGG:
Thanks a lot for talking to me, bud. If you’d like, I can give you a copy of the article to make sure I don’t tamper with the story.

Brussel Sprout
That would be great if you could send me a link so I could share it around.

Justin Easler TGG:
Are you going to prosecute EB? That kind of behavior can’t continue.

Brussel Sprout ™
I will be taking it as far as I can afford. I can’t afford private High Court stuff, but I’m hoping the Privacy Commissioner can help with that sort of thing. You’re right, abuse of customer credit card details can’t be allowed to continue. It opens customers up to potential fraud.

I thank Sprout for coming out to tell his story, and I can only hope that he gets justice for this situation. I decided I was going to do some digging into Australian privacy law. While not the most fascinating read in the world, I did manage to pull out a few interesting bits that are important to Sprout’s case.

Sprout says that he confronted the Privacy Manager of EB Games and stated that he did not give them permission to access his private credit information, and the Privacy Manager stated that the Terms and Conditions override the Privacy Act of 1988. For those who are not aware, it is illegal for a Terms and Conditions to write a term in which breaks federal law.

According to Australian law, links are down below, credit tainted by fraud must be destroyed. Also, this information cannot be used or disclosed by another credit provider. On top of that, companies can only report on credit for Australians if the credit provider is registered by the ASIC, of which the reporter in question, ACI, isn’t. As such, the obtaining of Sprout’s information in the way it was is completely illegal.

In short, what EB Games did is illegal by Australian federal law. They went out of the country to obtain information they were not legally allowed to have in order to deny Sprout from being able to place his order.

As this unsafe handling of information could result in the information getting into someone’s hands that even more-so shouldn’t, Sprout has since cancelled the card and probably will not be doing business with EB Games for some time.

Credit:
A Shiba in Beige (@AuntyShiba)
Brussel Sprout ™ (@Thelxxer)
Robin Ek – Editor

Sources and resources:
https://www.oaic.gov.au/individuals/privacy-fact-sheets/credit-reporting/privacy-fact-sheet-37-fraud-and-your-credit-report
https://www.oaic.gov.au/individuals/privacy-fact-sheets/credit-reporting/privacy-fact-sheet-29-who-can-access-your-credit-report

tgg author avatar Jay Shay
Justin Easler
Senior editor
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @masterjayshay

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