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'Fortnite' game maker scores an 'F' rating from the Better Business Bureau

Zachery Eanes, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in Business News

The Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina has levied an "F" rating against the Cary, N.C.-based video-game maker Epic Games, and says the company has exhibited a pattern of not responding to customer complaints.

Epic Games, which was recently valued at more than a billion dollars on the back of its popular "Fortnite" game, had 279 complaints on file in the past three years, with 271 of those complaints coming in the past year. Most of the complaints were about issues with the company's lack of response to complaints about refunds or exchange issues, the Better Business Bureau said.

Of the 279 total complaints closed against Epic, the Better Business Bureau said, 247 of those have gone unanswered.

The Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina, which covers 33 counties in the state, considers a complaint closed after it sends the company three separate notices about the complaint seeking a response, said Alyssa Gutierrez, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina. The first two notices are sent via email and the third notice is sent by mail and email over a three-week period.

That means the Better Business Bureau could have sent up to 837 notices to the company.

"There has been no communication unfortunately," Gutierrez said in a phone call. "Epic knows they have a pattern of complaints and we sent a request to respond."

In a statement to The News & Observer, a spokesman for the company said, "Epic Games is not affiliated with the Better Business Bureau and has redirected all player submitted complaints from the BBB to our Player Support staff. We encourage players with concerns about their accounts to reach out to us at https://bit.ly/2TKBW4H."

While the video-game company is not affiliated with the Better Business Bureau, many of the complaints posted by the bureau show that customers had contacted or tried to contact Epic.

One customer wrote: "On 9/26/18 my Epic Games account was locked because of Epic Games' new security feature (2 factor authentication). It is a standard 2fa system, however it was activated without my consent and now i am unable to access my account, worth hundreds of dollars. I have contacted Epic Games about this issue multiple times, however they refuse to relinquish control of the account. I am hoping to regain access to my account if possible, or get a refund for the hundreds of dollars spent on the account. The total amount is $365."

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The "F" rating has been given to fewer than 1 percent of companies by the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina, Gutierrez added. The company was in the top 10 for complaints in Eastern North Carolina last year -- though an exact rating is unavailable at this time, Gutierrez said.

The N.C. Department of Justice's consumer division appears to have had better luck with the company. Laura Brewer, a spokeswoman for the department, told The News & Observer that 13 complaints have been made against the company and nine have been resolved. "Epic Games has been responsive and we're working through the rest," Brewer said in an email.

Brewer added that a complaint with the Justice Department is resolved after it reaches out to the company "for answers and or action and the consumer who filed the complaint is satisfied with the result."

Most of the complaints have come as the company has seen its popularity with gamers soar.

Founded in 1991, Epic Games made a name for itself with games such as "Gears of War" and "Shadow Complex." But the company leaped into another stratosphere when it released "Fortnite," a battle royale style game that has become one of the most popular titles on the market. Epic has said "Fortnite" attracted more than 125 million players as of June.

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