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Absolutely disgusted by Marketplace refund policy

Over the last year I have spent many hundreds of euros on the Marketplace. I think its an excellent resource for indie devs like myself. Over that time I have found a use for nearly every asset I bought from the store until last Saturday. I bought a pack, I won’t mention which one because thats not the point of this rant and it wouldn’t work with the VR project I am working on. I had another similar pack that did so I stuck with that and only a few hours after buying the other pack I requested a refund for the one that wouldn’t work for my project. This was the response I got from someone called <removed: violated rules and code of conduct>.

*<removed: violated rules and code of conduct>

*To say that this was a slap across the face is an understatement. After all the money I had spent on the marketplace to be denied a refund for something that was only around €25 made me feel very under valued as a customer. I could care less about the money. This is about the fact that I can not in good conscience spend another penny on the marketplace ever again (which I am sure would have been many more hundreds) if this is how Epic treats its customers.

Now before you think this is a you will be sorry because I will never spend any more money on your services again post then you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m not naive, I know that Epic could not give a flying F*^k if I ever spend another penny on the marketplace ever again. No the only person this is going to hurt is me but as I said there is no way I could support the Marketplace if this is how little Epic care about their customers.

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Since there is no real form of DRM on the content from the Marketplace, they basically have to stick to this “only if there is an error or it’s misrepresented”-policy. Otherwise you would have tons of dishonest people who would purchase an item, copy the contents and then request refunds on the grounds that it wasn’t what they wanted.

I agree, that there needs to be some other way for refunds to happen. Or maybe some other way to view content on the Marketplace before we buy. Like for example a packaged product or at least something at all…
Going on screenshots and text and maybe a video is kinda useless. you’re buying blind even with said SS, videos, ect.

(i have spent hundreds of dollars too) My problem is that, when you buy something and if it won’t work for your project you have to “suck it up” and accept that you wasted money. which imo is ********. there is absolutely no reason to deny someone a refund. Especially when it flat-out doesn’t work for your project. I mean, im going to be sending in a few plugins to the marketplace myself and i don’t want people to own my product because the tos says so. They should own it because they want it… not because they bought it and now have to own it because they cannot get a refund. It’s total ********. and a major reason i have yet to submit anything to epic yet.

To me this is a non-issue, they will be breaking the law if they do so. Therefore legal action can be taken easily.

It is understandable that you would like to get a refund for an item that does not fit your project needs, just keep in mind that epic have to look after both the buyer and the seller here. The marketplace is more or less a platform maintained and moderated by epic, most of the content is developed by people outside of that, which is why the refund policy is in place.

Buying and item means that you as a buyer have agreed to purchase a product which you have evaluated prior to the purchase and would come to your own conclusion whether it suits your own project. If you are unsure, then its the sellers responsibility to answer or inform you whether it could meet your requirements. If the product does not meet your needs based off information, descriptions, marketing content, sellers response, etc, then you have more then a right to make ask for a refund and state why and where it fell short.

From the sellers perspective, they are not selling a demo (maybe some do in other shapes or forms :slight_smile: ) and if everyone purchased then asked for a refund it would break the integrity of the marketplace. Like pbarnhardt mentioned, protecting the content from people who can (and probably have) bought the asset then copied, distributed, then asked for a refund on top of all that can be very challenging which is one of the reasons they need to be strict with how the policy works, for everyone.

Making an exception here and there would not ground Epics policy and would even turn developers off creating marketplace content up if users will constantly ask for a refund. The policy isn’t really new or that special. If you go to a grocery shop and buy some food, then get home, open it then realize you dont like the taste, then its unlikely you will be able to get a refund. If you open it up and its moldy, then you have a much higher chance to get a replacement or a refund.

The difference here is between the quality of the product vs the product information given to the buyer.

Most of the content is also produced by indie developers, and we all defiantly dont want to buy anything that doesn’t meet our needs. What is given to you is mostly on the sellers side, but Epic’s marketplace is a means for us all to distribute, share, and support content within the community, like many other platforms with similar policies in place.

As @prototype6143 said, this is done to protect both sides of the transaction. Epic is merely the shopholder here, whilst the content is made almost entirely by other devs like yourself.

Without knowing the specific pack, it’s hard to really comment the validity of requesting a refund, but if the pack is not labelled as working with VR in the marketplace page, then the seller has done nothing wrong here and that would be why Epic aren’t issuing a refund. It’s just an unfortunate result of there not really being a ‘VR’ checkbox when we select platforms. If the seller had clearly stated it works with VR platforms, then you would get a refund more or less instantly, but it’s important to remember you aren’t dealing with AAA companies or anything here, you are dealing with other indie developers.

I’m sure if you contact the content creator, they will at least attempt to help you resolve your issue (if they are able - sadly most of us don’t have VR headsets yet haha). If not, then someone in this lovely community should be able to point you in the right direction :slight_smile:

If you buy a movie at Target and watch it and don’t like it, you don’t get a refund.
If you buy a book on Amazon and read it and don’t like it, you don’t get a refund.
Why would the marketplace be any different?
Some content is ****. To figure that out, you either wait for the reviews to start showing up, or you take a chance.
It’s just like a book with a cover, or a movie with a plot summary: You don’t really know what you’re getting, and that’s part of the bargain!

The closest apples to apples comparison would be the Unity Asset Store which would also deny you a refund in this instance. As others have mentioned it essentially has to be this way because of DRM and those that would abuse the store in reverse.

That being said Unity would allow you to contact the seller and if the seller is ok with it then you would be issued a refund (plus that helps a direct conversation that may get the product updated). It doesn’t always go the way of the customer but a lot of times it does since obviously if not refunded you can expect the customer to give out a low star review which for much publishers is more important than the small sum of money. I would think if Epic wants to they could do the same.

Is there a support thread for the pack?
Or a way to contact the vendor directly?

Some vendors do opt to give refunds once they’re notified.
Example here… So would you consider doing a video review?

I’m not the original poster so don’t have a stake here, but in general unless I was really upset no, I would simply use the ratings/comments built into the storefront. It’s generally more effective since it’s seen right before purchase.

As far as the link, vendors can obviously always directly refund but there then comes into play the problem of Epic’s 30% if you aren’t doing it through them. The process I was referring to with Unity is actually through them but requiring the publishers approval so that you don’t actually lose money doing the refund. Also, it’s generally better to do it officially anyways since you can check the invoice number first.

No, @pbarnhardt is absolutely correct this was/is a pretty significant issue. This common occurrence is what led to the existing refund policy because sellers kept noticing multiple refunds for products. Even now though, the marketplace staff isn’t consistent in enforcing their current refund policy because we still sometimes have unexplained refunds that pop up without any notification at all. I recently went through a case where a buyer was trying to come up with multiple excuses that changed on every encounter just so they could receive a refund. This sort of behavior only serves to dissuade developers from selling their content here. There is already another loophole that I won’t go into for obvious reasons that has caused me to put a halt to submitting any further products myself, as it is being ignored by the staff.

Well said. Many people don’t bother to read the description of the products they buy. If the product @tcla75 bought didn’t explicitly state VR support, then he/she has no grounds for a refund. Epic requires sellers to label which platforms our content was tested on. Even though for example there shouldn’t be any reason my content doesn’t work on a Mac, I can only list Windows as supported because that was the only platform I have tested my content packs on. The same goes for everyone else submitting to the marketplace. If in doubt, ask the seller. I had someone inquire about VR with my product before and I explained to him just what I did above. Platform support means I tested it on x platform. Just because it isn’t listed doesn’t mean it won’t work, but it hasn’t been officially tested so isn’t guaranteed to. That buyer ended up getting my product and his integration seemed to work flawlessly. But different products differ.

The UE4 marketplace requires a support email address for this very reason. A seller can choose to refund you even if it is outside of the established policy, that is their prerogative. However they aren’t required to do so if your refund claim doesn’t fall within the parameters of a justifiable refund. Leaving a bad rating/comment because you aren’t able to secure a refund isn’t allowed at all. That’s pretty much extortion. The same individual I spoke of above who kept making up stories in order to get a refund did that with one of my packages, and the staff removed his rating and comment because of it’s retaliatory nature.

I also think it’s important to remember that as others have mentioned, there is no DRM on marketplace products. There has to be something to protect sellers from people who want buy a pack, move it’s contents to another folder and then request a refund. As I mentioned before, this was very common before the policy was updated, and still happens to this day (albeit harder to do). Most digital products of any nature deny refunds for this very reason. If you implement a refund policy that is easily exploitable as was the first incarnation, then you will start to see many sellers opt out of using the UE4 marketplace to sell their products. What buyers need to do is read the descriptions of products they’re interested in, check around the forums/reviews/elsewhere to see what’s being said about it, and if in doubt contact the seller. I can’t speak for others, but I am happy to answer any questions people may have about my products. I’ve even recommended other seller’s works when I know mine might not be the best fit for what the potential buyer is asking.

As previously mentioned, having the pressure on the publisher to do so outside policy will neglect the 30% Epic cut. There should be a way for the seller to tell Epic to refund the whole thing so a loss doesn’t occur, like what Unity does. This of course isn’t mandatory for the publisher to do, but most publishers would rather not make a legitimate customer angry as long as abusing the system isn’t involved. While I agree that bad apples will use the rating/review system as extortion there isn’t a marketplace around that I know of that has solved this automatically, you just have to take the good with the bad. The bad apples are generally pretty easy to report at least in the Unity marketplace just hit the report button and the staff will review what information you have supplied them with. For everyone else that isn’t abusing the system, if you aren’t satisfied leaving star reviews and specific comments is one of the most critical things in a healthy marketplace.

As far as the official policy that doesn’t include a publisher volunteering a refund, yes of course anything with source has to have a no refund policy once downloaded. Accidental double purchases, and other out-liers I can understand and it would be nice to have Epic provide a system of invoice checking and a status to see if the user has downloaded and what versions which could help, similar to what Unity does.

All refunds are handled through the marketplace staff. The method employed for countering the 30% loss is to limit the window in which you can refund an item, IRC it is a week or two after purchase. That way the money earned wasn’t paid out, and can be subtracted if necessary. What you’re proposing is very little good and a whole lot of bad. It gives zero protection to the seller, and I can tell you without a doubt if the marketplace returns to that policy I will be forced to remove my products and I know I probably wouldn’t be the only one. We already have enough with external piracy, we shouldn’t have to be subjected to random refunds for reasons that are beyond our control or nonexistent because a buyer wants to get a free package.

No one is denying that reviews and ratings are critical to the marketplace experience. However your suggestion that you leave a bad rating/comment if your refund claim isn’t justifiable in accordance with the existing policy and is subsequently denied is essentially extortion. Having dealt with that situation personally, I can tell you the marketplace staff takes that very seriously.

The official policy doesn’t explicitly state a seller can request a refund, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t. I’ve seen some sellers who opted to give refunds even though the claims weren’t within the policy’s parameters. As far as I’m aware Epic does have a system in place which does that, however it is exclusive to them. UE4 Marketplace sellers are given very little information in comparison with other marketplaces.

If the pack said it was VR compatible… then your post is totally valid and they screwed you. If it didn’t you messed up. It’s the way the policy is and for all the reasons above they stick with it.
I went and bought the key remapping BP asset… like literally a week later the quality menu guy went and implemented it into that pack which i already own… should I get a refund… I guess not. Do I want one? … ya. This stuff happens.
If the pack wasn’t mis-advertised and it functions as advertised you really dont have a basis for a refund. It sucks but its the truth. I bought a pack last year that just didnt work the way it should and i got a refund without issue.

That said, there is something to be had for spending hundreds/thousands on MP assets as a loyal customer. That should be taken into account… if you’ve spent that much you should be given some consideration. I’d feel entitled to it myself since I’ve also spent a lot of $$ on the MP. Kinda disappointing to hear that wasn’t considered.

Side note: if you’re trying to load up the demo map of whatever pack in your VR game and its coming up double vision or all wonky, its probably just their lighting/shadow issues. Create a new map and pop in some assets from it and then see if it works for you. You’ll need to create your own maps this way but the assets aren’t useless… if its a model pack you’re talking about.

I agree in principle, but I think part of the problem is that the marketplace frontend is still so unsatisfactory when it comes to giving customers the information and tools to make good decisions.

Supported Platforms, Intended Platforms and Tested Platforms. Really? And no formal definition anywhere of specifically what the terms mean.
Also, VR isn’t a platform in the same sense as Windows, Mac, etc. If someone sees a product supports their platform, how are they to know that there even is an icon for VR, the omission of which means it’s unsupported? Sure, it might be a good idea to contact the seller and ask, but it would make sense to have more clarity. VR Ready: Yes/No.

So many 5 star once-rated products on the marketplace. Seriously, how hard is it to prevent sellers from rating their own product? This has been brought up multiple times over months and months. As has the obvious suggestion of requiring some minimum number of ratings before displaying.

There should be an FAQ built into every product page, ideally with anyone being able to submit a question and seller receiving a notification, providing an answer and the FAQ being automatically updated. Currently everything goes in the comments and quickly gets lost among positive feedback and support issues that also shouldn’t be in the comments.

There are heaps more key pieces of information that should be required of all submissions and presented in a consistent way. Network support for blueprint/code plugins is an obvious one, given how relevant it is to so many potential customers. The fact that, despite the length of time the marketplace has been around for now, product pages are still 90% a wall of unstructured text is hard to understand.

Difficulty in searching for the right product doesn’t help either. Still no tags, the search only works on product title and brief description. Even the categories are badly thought out - why are Blueprints and Code Plugins categories? Customers want to find “a product that does X”, not “a product that was implemented using X”. Just mark it on the product page for anyone who might be concerned about future compatibility. Other than that, the distinction is entirely irrelevant.

I could go on, but meh.

Easy Input Remapping, a plugin that I have on the marketplace, does not show up when searching ‘rebinding’. In the original description, that word was sitting next to a slash (No white space), and was not counted as it’s own word… Marketplace still has a ways to go, but I feel like Epic is not giving them what they need…

I agree with pretty much everything you said, except the ratings. Most of my products had one 5 star rating for some time, and it wasn’t me. Ratings/comments move very slowly on most products. As far as everything else goes, spot on. The sellers aren’t really given the tools to properly convey most of the information in an efficient and consistent way. A big part of this is due to the lack of control we have over the product page, we have to pass requested specific information over to the staff. Sometimes when I try to add certain things to my description, it gets omitted. The things you mention in your post + many more basic functions have been something we’ve been advocating for over a year. The UE4 marketplace lacks some of the most basic of features that other marketplaces have in bulk. All we’ve received is Soon™ at best. The features and requests thread in the Creator’s Hub has zero responses from the staff, and it’s been there for months. =/

I had an issue with marketplace refund too, pack I bought last year didnt work as it should and had issues, I asked for a refund, was told to contact author to fix the issues first, 3 months later it wasnt fixed still, I asked for refund again (saying i waited for author to release promised update) and got told it was too late. I basically waited for the marketplace team and the author of the asset to find out I waited too long to get a refund, even thou I was told that if the author didnt fix it soon I’d get a refund.

Yeah I can understand this, though I think there are ways Epic could encourage people to provide ratings. I’ve seen multiple times marketplace creators on Slack mention that they think allowing self-rating is ridiculous, yet that they’re going to 5-star rate their own product anyway because they can and others are doing it. I don’t like the attitude, but regardless it’s clearly something to be enforced by Epic.

As for the issues faced by sellers, believe me I know all too well. While I don’t have the badge yet, my first release went live a few days ago, after 9 months of experiencing the submission process. I won’t go into details. Bottom line is, I have a lot of patience for problems if things are improving at a non-negligible pace and I feel like feedback is being taken on board. Unfortunately neither applies.

I wish you would state the name of the package but you haven’t so I gotta run by my assumptions.

You applied for a refund because the package didn’t work with VR ?
Did it have VR in it’s supported platforms or not?
If it has VR listed there, then if you provide them a reason showing it doesn’t work with VR you’d be able to get a refund very quickly. But since they have refused to refund I assume it didn’t have VR in the supported platforms list so “wouldn’t work with VR” can’t be a good excuse because you should have already knew that when you took the risk of purchasing a package for VR while the creator didn’t claim it’s made for VR.

But if I was wrong all the way and it’s a package built for VR purpose then don’t be shy of naming the package, post the problem with images and description on the related thread, let others know to avoid it, either the creator fix it or you get a refund.

OP here just to clear up a few things there was nothing wrong with the pack I bought. The seller didn’t advertise it as being compatible with VR. That was another reason I didn’t mention the pack here, some people can half read something add 2 + 2 and get 7 so I didn’t want any negativity to go back to the seller as they did nothing wrong. No this is just about buyers remorse which most companies in an effort to actually give a **** about their customers care about. I saw someone make an analogy with buying a book or a film and requesting a refund after consuming said media. This is a very poor analogy. If you look at the use for assets from the market place their purpose is to be used in a project. If I have no use for that asset or intend to use it in a project then you can’t say I have read the book or watched the movie.

Another argument brought up which is an excellent point is that people could buy an asset request a refund then pirate the asset. Now if this was the 1st asset that I had ever bought from the store then it would be fair to wonder if that is my motivation for requesting the refund or if the marketplace was staffed by bots then they would have to apply a one rule applies to all but unless the (redacted) from the marketplace team is Siri’s brother then he should be able to deduce that someone that has bought over 20 assets from the marketplace store and spent over several hundred euro there is not trying to pirate that asset.

Thats the main problem I have here. This is an asset I bought that I can’t integrate into my project and have no use for it. I very quickly realized this after a few hours and for the 1st time requested a refund. I very likely wouldn’t have even noticed the refund going back into my account as I said this is not about the money, this is about the fact that after I read that email back it felt like I had been slapped across the face after I have being a very loyal customer and spending a lot of money on the store. This is not how you treat customers let alone loyal customers. Even steam has a system in place to refund users that are unhappy with a purchase and a system in place to combat abuse of the refund policy. Also and I’m not sure here but I think they are contravening EU law on digital downloads and by law (regardless what they put in their T&C’s) have to give a refund if it is within a set time but I could be wrong there.