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  1. This is an issue of miscommunication
  2. AUTHOR: Nielk1 - (United States of America)
  3.  
  4. SUBMITTED: Tuesday, August 14, 2012
  5. Valve really needs a better way to deal with people that are generally computer illiterate, or at least new to the way that digital distribution services work.
  6.  
  7. You bought a game on the digital distribution software Steam or elsewhere that registered on Steam, this game was Blur and was published by Electronic Arts.  To receive assistance with this game, as it is a 3rd party game on Steam (not a game made by Valve, the makers of Steam) you must seek it from EA.  Steam support is limited to issues with the Steam account or Valve published games.  'Steam Account' issues include those with Steam purchases.
  8.  
  9. From my experience, Steam support is run though a web interface.  You receive email notifications of replies and updates to your support ticket, however, I do not believe you can reply to these email messages.  They are notifications of correspondence, not correspondence themselves, and thus you should go to the actual support site where you asked for assistance and continue your discussion with support there.  That is probably why they never replied to your emails, they never saw them because their system was never designed to process email based replies.
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  11. Now, the reason the account was locked was because you canceled the charge.  Thus, to Valve, the game purchase was not authorized.  In order to protect you from further fraud, the system locked your son's account till the owner could contact them and resolve the issue.  The automated assumption is that someone other than the owner was accessing the account and using the stored credentials for purchase, or, that the card was stolen and used for illegal purchases.  This was a system put in place to protect the consumer, not attack them.
  12.  
  13. The key in use error in unusual.  Did you buy this game on Steam or from another source giving you a key that was to be registered on Steam?  Once a key is registered with Steam, it is there for good, that is its only use, but the game is forever listed in the library for that user.  If you buy the game on the Steam platform itself, in its store, the same general rules apply.  For Steam to give this error, you would have to have attempted to "Activate a product on Steam" that was already activated on the same or another account.
  14.  
  15. Now, if the game, Blur, was giving you this error and not Steam, then you need to contact EA.  The game may have Digital Rights Management software outside of what Steam offers, as Steam's DRM does not involve any limit other than the fact you can only be logged in at one place at a time.  If Blur gave you this error, perhaps you were attempting to link a different EA account with the game.  I have not yet played Blur myself, though if it is anything like most EA games, you link the game with an EA account, which has nothing to do with Steam or Valve.  If you attempt to link this with a new account, when you have already linked it elsewhere, then EA is the company giving you trouble, not Valve.
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  17. In either case, to resolve the key issue, more details are probably needed.  Was this a game purchases on a platform other than Steam that was redeemed as a key to be registered on Steam, or was this a purchase from the Steam Store?
  18.  
  19. The problem here is consumer ignorance.  Now, I am not trying to be rude, ignorance is not stupidity or anything of the sort, it is a lack of knowledge on a given subject.  Valve seriously needs to invest in better customer service.  While their service is excellent, though sometimes a bit slow, for those that understand how the system works, those who do not often become extremely upset, do rash acts such as fight credit card charges, as a result have accounts locked, and flip out and begin reporting Valve to sites such as this one.
  20.  
  21. Valve fails to properly communicate in nearly all instances where this occurs.  This is most likely related to their small size compared to any other company doing the same work, that being digital distribution.
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  23. What is important in any situation is to remain calm.  In many cases, consumer anger only makes situations worse, preventing them from seeing what is really going on.  You are libel to get replies from individuals that point out where you made errors, but do it in a terse or rude way, and from users that agree with you because of similar negative experiences that are mostly, again, the results of ignorance on the consumer part and failure on Valve's part to adapt.
  24.  
  25. Oh, and most importantly, before you give me an angry reply, I urge you to do the same thing with me as I am saying you should do with Valve.  If you do not understand, take a moment, look at the correspondence again.  If something I said was confusing please let me know.  If something I said seemed to be rude, please don't take it that way.  I am not trying to be rude, I am simply trying to assist in resolving this issue.  I only know about it because it was posted on the Steam forum.