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 Walmart Cancels Thousands of Star Wars: The Old Republic Preorders (UPDATED)

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PostSubject: Walmart Cancels Thousands of Star Wars: The Old Republic Preorders (UPDATED)   Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:27 am


It started just a few hours ago, with users claiming on the official Star Wars: The Old Republic Forums that the popular US retailer Walmart canceled their preorder of the game due to “lack of product availbility”.

Those users didn’t even receive a mail to warn them of the
cancellation, as they happened to notice just randomly checking their
status page, as many of us do, when we fervently check on our preorders a
few days before the release of a game we are anxiously waiting for.

Rather quickly the news spread, as more and more concerned gamers
that preordered either the Collector’s Edition or the Standard Edition
went to check the status of their order and found the same cancellation
with no warning, no matter when they did the preorder. Some report
having done that as early as last July.

More threads have been opened on almost every forum dedicated to the
game or to MMORPGs in general, and and at the moment everything seems to
indicate that yesterday Walmart has canceled every single preorder of
both the Collector’s and Standard edition of the game across the US,
without any advance notice or warning, which seems to be a signal of the
possibility that the problem runs deeper than a simple case of
overselling, and is probably on the side of the retailer itself.

Preorders made through other retailers seem completely unaffected,
but for what Walmart is concerned unfortunately it’s the week end, so
nothing certain can be gathered for now.

Bioware’s Senior Online Community Manager Stephen Reid stated that
Bioware is looking into the issue and offered some advice on the official forum and on other venues:

Hello everyone,

We will investigate this issue ASAP, although we may not have further details to share before Monday.

I obviously cannot speak on behalf of any retailer, however I would
like to let people know who have pre-ordered and redeemed their
pre-order code, that their Early Game Access is still secured. You may
apply any Game Code from any edition of The Old Republic to your
account.

As I said, we’ll look into this ASAP and update you when we can.”
Gamers that preordered from Walmart indeed already received (and
probably redeemed) their preorder codes that will grant them regular
entrance in the early access for the game and the bonus color stone, so
if you preordered the Standard Edition you wprobably don’t have much to
worry about, as even if this cancellation was final, you’d still be able
to just get a copy from any other retailer with your preorder goodies
still secure, as Bioware will honor the code you entered.

The problem is much more serious for those that preordered the
Collector’s Edition, as getting another (including its bonuses) this
late may indeed be much more difficult.

It may even be early to panic, as it could be something as simple as a
system screw up. One thing is for sure, for the moment not even a
single user that preordered at Walmart (that I could find anywhere)
reported that his order is still standing.

We will follow the evolution of the situation, and we will keep you posted on what happens.

Update: some users are finally starting to receive mail from walmart that reads as follows:

CANCELED //2011-12-03 20:43:15 PT// Cancelled in
Order Resolutions: item may still be shipped but due to a temporary
system issue the order needs to update to canceled first then again to
shipped. if item ships, the system will update to shipped by 12/6.

The mail seems to indicate a system-side issue as I theorized above, but the “may still be shipped” conditional sure won’t helm many feel safe about their preorder.

Update 2: another user reports receiving a mail from an actual Walmart employee, and not a C1 droid:

Thank you for contacting Walmart.com inquiring about the status of your order #######.

We apologize that the automated response did not address your concern. We are more than happy to look into this for you.

Unfortunately, we are experiencing some technical issues with
our fulfillment process. However, be aware that we strive to provide
our customers with the best online experience possible; with that in
mind, please be assured that we are working as quickly as possible to
get this issue resolved.


In addition, let us inform that you will receive an email no
later than 12/07/11, advising you if the order could be fulfilled or had
to be cancelled.


We appreciate your understanding that certain conditions sometimes prevent us from delivering the best shopping experience.
I wonder how many will manage to hold on until the 7th, and won’t
just try to look for an alternate source, especially for the Collector’s
Edition.

Theories are floating around on the reason for this mishap: one of
the most widespread indicates the possibility of a change of shipping
date (actually earlier than expected), that would have prompted Walmart
to cancel the orders because the outdated system wouldn’t accept such an
unexpected occurrence. I’m quite sure thousands of people are hoping
that the theory will prove true in the end.

Update 3: Another user on the official forums reportedly spoke with Walmart CS Agent Supervisor “Quinitia” that gave the following explanation:

1) A data error was discovered in the system that effectively
forced them to cancel “nearly all” (This phrase was stressed)
pre-orders of the product.


2) A manual override was used to kick-start the system into
evaluating the amount of orders, which bypasses the automatic reporting
function. As explained, this is to “Not worry the customer in the case
of an error, as most people do NOT check their order statuses”


3) For Paypal payers only: The system does indeed take
immediate payment from Paypal due to the PP Resolution process. It is
“easier” to issue refunds than it is to keep an extended hold on Paypal
funds.


This seems to explain both the mass cancel and the reason why those
who had their preorder canceled didn’t receive a mail. The
representative specified that most people that preordered should be fine
and that there was no overselling, as the system checks availability in
real time and removes the purchase link as soon as it detects that a
product isn’t available anymore.

She explained, though, that a small number of preorders may indeed
not be honored because of users ordering at the same time when the
stocks of the Collector’s Edition had nearly run out. The possibility is
very small, but those that preordered are encouraged to check their
account on the 6th to make sure that their order is being shipped.

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