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Disney Response to Toontown Post

Last week I wrote this post about my son’s experience in Disney Games’ Toontown online game. I got this reponse from Disney today:

Dear Mark,

Thank you for your interest in Disney’s Toontown Online.

We apologize for any confusion and hurt feelings your son experienced.
Much like any other game, Toontown requires constant care and
maintenance to ensure our residents are provided with a smooth, safe and
fun experience.

In order to maintain a great game like Toontown, we employ a
highly-skilled team of full-time programmers and staff who are
constantly working to support thousands of players and make sure the
game is fun. While we offer a limited free account, we have to charge
for the extended access to the game in order to maintain the level of
service and quality our users expect.

Toontown now offers two types of accounts, free accounts and paid
memberships. Free accounts replace Trial accounts, and can play whenever
with no time limit; however the available content is limited. Paid
Membership accounts remain the same, with unlimited access to Toontown
Online. Free accounts may upgrade to a paid Membership at any time.

A Free account to Toontown Online includes the following benefits:

- Create and personalize one Toon character
- Enjoy Toontown Central and Toontastic tasks
- Battle robot Cogs with an assortment of cartoon gags
- Explore six themed neighborhoods and see Cog HQs
- Hang out at your Toon’s house
- Race karts, adopt pet Doodles, and enjoy fishing
- Play whenever you want for as long as you want — all for free!

While we offer a limited access free version of the game, we do have to
charge for Unlimited Access in order to maintain the level of service
and quality our users expect. If you would like to progress further in
the game and access more advanced content and features, we highly
encourage purchasing an Unlimited Access subscription. For a full list
of benefits with a paid Membership, please use the link below:

http://play.toontown.com/benefits

If you are interested in purchasing a subscription, you can log on to
http://play.toontown.com/faq/overview_cost.php for current pricing
options and answers to other frequently asked questions. You must be 18
years or older with a valid credit card to purchase.

We hope this helps clarify your questions regarding the Free accounts,
and look forward to seeing you in Disney’s Toontown Online soon!

Thank You,

Roberta
Disney’s Toontown Online Member Services

I sent this this reply:

Hi Roberta,

Thank you for taking the time to reply…I honestly didn’t think anybody would!

I have absolutely no problems with portions of Toontown being restricted to paid subscriptions. That’s an established business model and, as you point out, a way to “maintain the level of
service and quality our users expect.” I’m all for that, and expect it anywhere there is a free trial offered.

What I do very much object to is allowing somebody to start a task, from within the free, trial account, and not informing them the task could not be completed without obtaining a paid subscription, until they get near the end. That is clearly a “bait-and-switch” tactic, and is a terrible business practice (and probably illegal). My son embarked on that task in good faith, assuming it was part of the free, trial membership, and spent a considerable amount of time working through it. I’m sure you can imagine his, and our, utter disappointment to be one “frame” away from completion, and being told he has to cough up $4.95!

My son did end up taking five of his hard earned dollars and getting a subscription. He completed the task, and moved forward into more paid areas of the site. He came across some sort of “cog headquarters,” which has utterly freaked him out, and he now wants us to erase his account, and he plans on taking a year off from the game. This is the same boy who can handle the weirdness of games like “Lego Batman” on the Xbox 360, which is certainly more hard core than Toontown. In any event, it appears you’ve lost a customer!

Thanks,

Mark

I’m interested to see what happens next!

Categories: Games Tags: , , , ,
  1. May 12th, 2009 at 02:41 | #1

    Found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later..

  2. DYLAN
    November 14th, 2009 at 00:39 | #2

    does anyone have an unwanted account

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