There’s been a recent blow-up in the Star Citizen community regarding issues dealing with paying customers. It appears that in the old Zendesk customer support setup, the company was assigning labels to their customers based on their behavior, and many paying backers within the community were not pleased when they found out about it.
Over on the Star Citizen sub-Reddit, user Br0wnH0rn3t posted a public service announcement that the Cloud Imperium Games customer support uses what’s being called derogatory labels for what we assume they consider to be problematic users.
Br0wnH0rn3t produces some images and screenshots showing that certain users attempting to file complaints or ask questions using the old Zendesk consumer support system were greeted with a drop-down menu that showed that some users are being labeled as “Goons”, “High Maintenance” and “Snowflakes”. This apparently was used to determine how certain customers would be dealt with, and perhaps how quickly they would be dealt with, if at all.
Over on Derek Smart’s forum, there are images of the drop-down menu and the labels that Cloud Imperium Games was using for some users, as indicated below.
It was also displayed within the code of the Zendesk system, which some users took a snapshot of and sent to Smart.
Other users in the sub-Reddit thread confirmed the issues, as well, with Tilvatar acknowledging that he was labeled with “Grey Market Trading” when he went to check to see if it was true.
Following the messages on Reddit, there was a post on the official Roberts Space Industries forum indicating that the customer support page was down.
At the time of writing this article, if you attempt to use the Zendesk customer support page, you’ll be greeted with the following image.
There was a parody video made by YouTuber Major Tom, highlighting the issue at hand, which did not go down well for some fans of Star Citizen. It left a lot of people questioning why it was news in the first place.
YouTube commenter Makron5 explained that customer support is supposed to be there to support customers, not label them…
“Here’s the thing: most companies if this EVER happens, if they EVER label people internally in CS, the said company will clean house, fire the manager and launch an investigation into how it got so bad. This is beyond inappropriate because your job is to deal with customers all day not call them names or prioritize them, everyone gets the same treatment.”
What’s more is that if customers have paid thousands of dollars to support a product but they’re possibly getting ill-treated by the company due to these labels, or their complaints are being disregarded due to backend labels, it could be classified as anti-consumer treatment.
Thankfully, Cloud Imperium Games quickly took down the Zendesk support site following the news.
Even still, the usage of personal data being withheld and categorized with those labels had some of Cloud Imperium Games’ more vocal critics stating that the developer may be in breach of the Information Commission’s Office regulation, especially in regards to maintaining and withholding personal user data without being registered with ICO.
According to the ICO., website…
“The Data Protection Act 1998 requires every organisation that processes personal information to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), unless they are exempt. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.
“There are more than 400,000 registered data controllers. We publish the name and address of these data controllers, as well as a description of the kind of processing they do.”
If you search up British companies like Rockstar or Jagex you’ll get a page like the following.
Cloud Imperium Games/Roberts Space Industries/Foundry 42 doesn’t have a listing.
I did reach out to Cloud Imperium Games earlier in the week after the PSA was posted on Reddit asking them about the issues of customer support labeling certain backers through the Zendesk support system. However, at the time of writing this article I have not received a response.
For now Cloud Imperium Games have removed the Zendesk support system and are using a direct “Contact Us” form for users with issues regarding Star Citizen. You can make use of the new contact forum by visiting the official Roberts Space Industries website.