Final Fantasy XI Cancellation Woes Conjure Up New Law in Illinois

A consumer’s difficulty in canceling a Final Fantasy XI account has led to a new Illinois law which mandates that MMO providers make an online cancellation option available. Companies are also required to provide online instructions on how to cancel.

As reported by Silicon Alley Insider:

Alex Edwards played Final Fantasy Online for a few months, then grew tired of the game… His parents Frank and Cinda, who were paying the $13 a month subscription, tried to cancel the account online.


But Final Fantasy didn’t offer Cinda a way to do that online, and didn’t offer her a contact phone number, either. The Edwards finally found the number via their credit card statement — but when they called, they spent an hour and 45 minutes on hold before someone answered the phone…


But unfortunately for Square Enix, who makes Final Fantasy, Frank Edwards is an alderman in Springfield, Illinois and a good friend of his local State Rep. Raymond Poe.

After hearing the Edwards’ story, Rep. Poe (R) introduced a bill, HB4178, which passed both the Illinois House and Senate in May. Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) signed it into law on Tuesday.

Here’s a summary:

…an Internet gaming service provider that provides service to a consumer… for a stated term that is automatically renewed for another term unless a consumer cancels the service must give a consumer who is an Illinois resident: (1) a secure method at the Internet gaming service provider’s web site that the consumer may use to cancel the service, which method shall not require the consumer to make a telephone call or send U.S. Postal Service mail to effectuate the cancellation;


and (2) instructions that the consumer may follow to cancel the service at the Internet gaming service provider’s web site. Makes it an unlawful business practice for an Internet gaming service provider to violate the new provisions.

GP: From a consumer standpoint, it’s hard to argue with this one. Plus, Gov. Blagojevich gets to sign a video game bill that might actually survive this time. His 2005 attempt to regulate violent game sales was declared unconstitutional and cost Illinois about a half-million bucks in legal fees.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    @ defect. Simple problem. Tell your friends credit card company to block all charges from playonline…. stops them even if they dont offer a account cancilation service.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Basically all you do is log onto the game launch pad, click the "Cancel account" button, type in you password and then select cancel, it will come up with a notice asking if you really want to cancel, click yes and it is all done. Difficult indeed.

  3. Anonymous says:

    if they’re gonna try to pass a law such as this, i think they should do it for something more worth while. like Comcast. you can’t cancel them unless you call and sit through over and hour of them begging your to stay and offering new offers and asking over and over why you want to quit. it’s harassment.

    besides, if the parents would have paid attention, you can cancel in game. you dont have to go to the website. the website is for service support.

  4. Anonymous says:

    this is kind off silly. If you can’t work out how to cancel it there are other easier options. Call the bank and have them block all future payments from playonline/square-enix.

  5. averageAnarchist says:


    At first I was kind of sympathetic to the Edward’s but when I started to think about it more I changed my mind.

    I don’t have the whole story so this is all just assumption but apparently this kid’s parent gave up their credit card info knowing very little about the product their son was asking them to purchase, (it could of been a phishing site, how pissed would he have been if that had happened) they should of done at least a little reading on the website or game manual, all the info about subscribing and canceling is in there. He should of been even more careful if it was his first purchase of a subscription based game. Buying an online subscription based service is not the same as most of your everyday online purchases. The article also says the kid was 13, they are lucky they didn’t buy him a subscription to SIMS Online XXX.

    For me paying for an MMO subscription is a pretty trivial thing, but I remember my first one and I didn’t just run to the website drop my CC info and start playing. The game was UO and I actually bought the game software, took it home read the manual and took it back to the store, a few weeks later after reading info on the Origin website and lurking on the stratics forums I did buy it but I knew at least how to sign up and cancel by then. Before that my only experience with online games was free to play MUDS and games like Baldur’s Gate, a p2p MMO was a totally different beast.

    We have to take some responsibility for ourselves and how we spend our money.

    I don’t see how the company could be blamed for anything other than bad tech support which is par for the course in the MMO industry, the guy lost a few hours and it caused him some frustration BFD! With that being said, I do agree that is a good idea for the company to have an automated cancellation process at their website. Having to rely on the game software to make changes to your account is just asking for trouble, there are just too many things that could go wrong and cause you to not be able to have access to the game software.




  6. Anonymous says:

    You know I think you are bending the truth a whole lot. Since it only requires a credit card verification to cancel an account over the phone or on chat. An account can be found easily with the credit card used on the account. If you don’t give proper information they can not in fact help you. So if the correct card information is not provided, then they cannot locate an account, and therefore cannot cancel anything.

    However your friend was stupid for not reading the part on the sign up that states that once the trial is over if it is not cancelled billing will begin automatically.

  7. Red says:

    So since little Timmy’s parents had to wait on the phone for 45 minutes with the big bad customer service reps, the states tax payers are going to have to shell out big bucks (which, in this case, clearly needs to go towards education) to back a law that pretty much panders to people so low on the IQ totem pole they need a FAQ to read a FAQ?

    What a damn joke.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It really is sad that an elected offcial does not even have the intelligence to know how to cancel an on-line subscription. Imagine if this person had used his time and efforts to thwart other ‘real’ issues.

    Just my two cents.

  9. David says:

    This irritates me no end. The law itself is ok and I have no problem with it. But what a stupid reason to pass it.

    FFXI is very easy to cancel. You can do it through the game or on their website or over the phone. It would have taken these people very little time to cancel if they had bothered to read the manual or look it up in a search engine.

    To all of the people in this thread that didn’t bother to cancel their content ID correctly- just tell your credit card company to stop paying SE.

  10. GryphonStalker says:

    {Square-Enix is idiotic. Their Service reps should be shot}

    Actually… it’s SOE (Sony Online Enterianment) that handles Final Fantasy IX Customer Service / Game Masters in North America, and yes they are beyond terrible.   Square-Enix is Japanese only. 

  11. thetrott says:

    The problem with the way you cancel, is that it requires you to log on to the game portal.  If your PS3 or Xbox isnt working, stolen, etc you have no way to easily cancel the subscription since you can’t get into the game portal.  The wait times for their 800 number can be upwards of an hour and thats simply too long when you just want to cancel your subscription.




  12. Mnementh2230 says:

     For anyone having difficulties with trying to cancel these services…  call your bank, and ask them to DENY all charges from the provider.  Its usually that simple.  When the provider doesn’t get the fundsould cancel the account.


  13. Defect says:

    Square-Enix is idiotic. Their service reps should be shot. Period. My very close friend had an account set up on trial and the account’s trial peroid expired. Thusly she began to incur charges on her credit card and she decided she didn’t really want to play the game anymore. So she figures she’ll leave it for a couple months because she might want to play sometime, and ends up forgetting about it.

    Now it’s 6 months later and her computer has crashed, she’s lost record of her play online ID/pass and she wants to cancel her subscription because, who wants to pay for something they can’t use anymore. After an hour and a half of waiting, she finally connects to a rep who, after she introduces herself and her situation briefly, hangs up on her (or they get disconnected, whatever.)

    So after waiting another bloody (nearly) two hours to speak to another rep, they tell her she NEEDS her ID and they cannot help her otherwise. It’s of no matter that her credit card is attached to the account and that she can verify all of her other personal information. Because she doesn’t recall her ID, this idiot refuses to help her.

    Having had my own share of problems (account theft, duplicate fees) I called them and did the song and dance wait (only about 45 minutes this time!) and spoke to an extremely inconsiderate man who told me the same thing. After I gave him a decent tongue lashing and demanded ‘my’ card was removed from the account immediately, he notified me that he would send something in the mail which could then be filled out to "resolve" this. Meanwhile the charges continue despite not using the service anymore and having requested twice to have it removed.

    The person mentioned above has since relocated and has not recieved anything (it’s been a couple weeks.) I’d think that having to call a bloody california number to get anything done, they’d provide some damn good customer service. =/

  14. qAaRoN ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Let’s see…

    For starters, even for the complete n00b, they could’ve simply ASKED in-game how to cancel their account.  What’s even more painfully obvious than that though is before you even hit play, there’s an option to review your content I.D..  Right from there you can choose to cancel your FFXI online account.  When all else fails, there’s the instruction manual that came with the game or customer support.  Not too mention they have the internet at their fingertips & could just search how to cancel the account.

    If anything, this person should have to pay a fine for being stupid.  ‘Nuff said.

  15. Don says:

    Cancelling a Final Fantasy Account is very simple.

    The menu option you have to click inorder to launch the game itself is just above another option called account.

    As soon as you click account it brings up two options, create new content ID and CANCEL content ID.

    The fact that these people didn’t take twenty seconds to actually read any of the menu’s of screens other then unistal is not the fault of the company but their own ignorance.

    It’s like someone owning a car and instead of taking the key out of the ignition just leaves it in park with the engine running. When they have to keep buying more gas because of their own stupity does that mean they can sue the car dealer-ship?

  16. Demontestament says:

    There are actually two ways one can cancel their FFXI account. You can go to the playonline website and cancel it from there, this is how I canceled my account the first time. Or you can cancel it via the playonline viewer, which is how I cancled my account last week. Took me all of five minuets.

  17. Anonymous says:

    While I agree with the basic purpose of the law (even if it is unnecessary, tbqh), the reason for which it was written and passed aggravates the hell out of me.

    It reminds me of a couple of years ago when some politician banned the viewing of porn in vehicles just because a single one of his constituents complained that his kid caught a glimpse through someone’s window in traffic.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Ha, someone didn’t read the instruction manual!

    I canceled my FFXI account this month with no problems.

  19. Anonymous says:


    I cancel my Content ID like every other month depending on funds I have available that billing statement, it’s ridiculously easy to do so.

    It’s also always been in their FAQ online, as has their customer support phone number (which no, is not toll-free, but it’s there), and if you really have that much of a problem, you can always go into the customer service web chat.

    I may need to write this Rep. a letter, telling him he needs to find more intelligent friends.

  20. point09micron says:

    How about instead of this BS, IL passes laws to improve the education system, since its citizens are obviously incapable of reading the game’s manual or website.

  21. kurisu7885 (can't log in) says:

    The VGVN is far more guilty of this than Sony, however, it does seem harder than it needs to be.

  22. Corncobtacular says:

    The way the law is worded do you think Microsoft will be forced to put an online cancellation option for Xbox Live? I hate that you have to call to cancel a gold membership instead of just pushing a button.

  23. Anonymous says:

    wow making a law to embrace their stupidities, I am worry for the people living in Illinois.

    Don’t slip and fall when you are walking on the street, or else next day you might see a law stating walking is illegal.

  24. finaleve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It’s really not that hard to cancel.  I played the game for about a month (before eventually returning to WoW), and cancelled very easily.

    Will not work anyways, since the law only affects Illinois, and not everywhere else in the world.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Whats funny is that SE already had the service in question.
    And all other MMOs I’ve ever played. Its extremely simple, very easy to do.

  26. Matriculated says:

    I’ve never played a MMORPG but this seems like bad play on SquareEnix’s part.


    I’ve subscribed to porn sites that were easier to cancel than this.


    Woops. Did I just say that? >.>

  27. bpm195 says:

    I’m not going to get into details here, but I’ve been on both sides of the debate, and I find that the bandwidth is generally worth the money.

  28. Father Time says:

    Well yeah but if nobody pays for porn anymore then new porn will eventually stop being made.

    (Can’t let that happen).

  29. Anonymous says:

    Umm, there is not a way to cancel a subscription online via maybe via online customer service but they’re lazy and just refer you to the playonline windows client or whatever platform you’re playing on but there isn’t any way to do that online.

  30. Anonymous says:

    The playonline client is an online.  It’s *easy* to cancel using this and from the wording of the law the game is already compliant.

    OTOH I’m surprised anyone plays FFXI any more.. unless this law took a *long* tine to be drafted.


  31. macthorpe says:

    I’d have to agree with the anonymous gent. I live in the UK and was playing on the US servers – and I found cancelling trivial.


    "I’m busting chops today. You can ask anyone."

  32. Anonymous says:

    this is bull crap.  I have played the game for about 2 years off and on.  And let me just say that, you CAN cancel that game pretty easly..  its soo easy to do, i can do it blind folded


  33. Attack_Gypsy says:

    Hate to say it, but this law has no teeth.


    "We’re not a company incorprated in IL, nor do we have any offices in IL, therefor we are not subject to IL law."

    Would get thrown out of court in the first 10 minutes.


    The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~ Benjamin Franklin

  34. nightwng2000 says:

    That’s what I don’t like about XBOX 360 Live.  You HAVE to cancel either on the XBOX or by phone.  When I went to the XBOX 360 service on the internet by PC, those are the only options given.  If I don’t have internet at home, I will have to cancel over the phone and if it requires talking to a person, I’ll be forced to listen to them beg me to keep Live. 

    It’s SOOOOO much easier to just click a Cancel button than to hear "But… but… we’ll give you a free month if you’ll stay!"  Ugh!


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  35. Krono says:

    It seems to me that going through the software would be a problem if you’d already uninstalled. Likewise going through their online chat would not be a clear means of doing so. So this does make some sense.


  36. Jeff says:

    You gotta put a stop to that, man.  Nobody pays for porn any more!  It’s way easier to get it for free.

    Quote for truth.

  37. SimonBob says:

    @Matriculated: You gotta put a stop to that, man.  Nobody pays for porn any more!  It’s way easier to get it for free.

    Also, the law doesn’t say anything about the location of the company, just the consumer.  What kind of jerkwad MMORPG doesn’t let people cancel their account, anyway?  Do they seriously expect that we’d go, "oh well, guess I’ll just write off that $150 every year for the rest of my life?"

    The Mammon Industry

  38. Keddren ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    As I recall, there’s also a way to cancel from that crappy portal thing that came with FFXI.


  39. DirtyWeston says:

    But… there are ways to cancel online…

    I used to play and I cancelled my account online. I don’t think these people were looking hard enough.

  40. Krono says:

    What irks me is that the law was crafted because a lawmaker or lawmaker’s buddy has some small irritation… Laws should be for the benefit of society, not just for you and your pals.

    Welcome to the sad reality that stuff seldom gets fixed until someone with power and influence gets involved. There’s plenty of stuff that gets proposed or put into law (both good and bad things) that happen simply because either a problem that many people had experienced finally happened to a politician, or because something happened to a politician and they perceived a problem.


  41. Benji says:

    What irks me is that the law was crafted because a lawmaker or lawmaker’s buddy has some small irritation (granted, it’d be a substantial irritation but people here seem to think there is a simple online cancellation process that this person just couldn’t figure out.) Laws should be for the benefit of society, not just for you and your pals.

    It reminds me of a law proposed somewhere that would have criminalized accessing someone else’s wireless network, even if it was unsecured and you did nothing illegal or questionable with it. The person who proposed the law was apparently tired of people using his wireless for free, and it was easier for him to propose a new law than it would be to add a password to his network.

  42. DirtyWeston says:

    It’s the same process no matter what system you’re on. If you want to cancel you have to do it through the software. Now that I think about it, you can do it through their online chat from under service and support. They have people at SE’s Information Center which is usually faster than trying to call them on the phone.

  43. nightwng2000 says:

    I have to side with those saying that there IS a way to cancel the subscription.  I, too, lost interest in the game pretty quick and cancelled.

    Maybe it depends on which console/system you use?


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  44. Fatallight says:

    I’ve played FFXI and cancelled several times. It’s really not hard at all. You just being the log on process which takes you through a launcher program called PlayOnline but instread of selecting to play ffxi, you go to subscription options and cancell. Huzzah.

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