Editor’s Note: While at times the video created by Jeremy Hambly does not fully redact the names of the individuals involved, we will not be publishing those names. Hambly clearly attempted to redact these names in other parts of the video, and we shall respect the likely request for privacy from Hambly’s source.
An alleged customer of Limited Run Games was banned from the service, had their pre-orders cancelled and refunded, and was threatened to be sued by a customer service representative- over a meme mocking the company on social media
A third-party reaching out to TheQuartering (Jeremy Hambly), claimed the unnamed customer had posted a meme (presumably to a Limited Run Games fan group on Facebook) making light of Limited Run Games.
It depicted a fake mock-up as though the company was going to publish Skyrim. It also included a mock-up of Revenge of the Bird King on PlayStation 4. The game was published by Limited Run Games, and is available on Nintendo Switch eShop.
The anonymous individual explained to Hambly “He made fake mock ups because they were selling a limited run game with mass produced games that were already released such as Tetris Effect.” This is indicated by how Skyrim has been widely available on many consoles physically, and (as stated later) the customer felt “bird king was a blatant FRAUD that they are selling out the back door.”
The alleged customer then saw a message from a Limited Run Game customer service representative. “Sarah” (last name redacted) seemingly posted to the Facebook, showing two images of a list of their pre-ordered games. Several entries had been marked as “refunded” and “unfulfilled” (presumably indicating if the game had been sent out). The images also came with the message “Blacklisted.” From what we can see, the refunded items in question total up to over $300, with items already shipped totaling up to over $140, plus additional items not shown.
Sarah then messaged “I enjoy trolling as much as the next guy, but just a heads up guys, spreading false info and using company assets is likely to get you banned if not worse.” The customer stated “that’s okay I’ll live. I appreciate the concern though.” Sarah responded “[Thumbs up emoji] you do you, just wanted to make sure you were aware”. Given the situation and Sarah’s earlier language, it seems unlikely the pleasantries between them were genuine.
Another individual then spoke to the customer in the group an indeterminate amount of time later. “I am really shocked that they did that… I wonder who initiated the order”. The customer replied “I would assume [redacted], he was “liking” some of the comments in the other group. But didn’t feel the need to chime in. I was also THREATENED with a lawsuit by a LRG representative.”
Earlier in Hambly’s video we see what seems to be that message (again from Sarah):
“Dude, you got banned for exactly the reasons I warned you about. I tried [shrug emoji] but yeah your orders were refunded from what I can see. usually [sic] takes 3-5 days to post back to whatever the original payment method was. Honestly, if I were you I’d leave it, cuz if you keep pushing you’re likely to light a fire under our lawyers [sic] ass.
There’s a difference between free speech and flagrant misinformation.”
The message then linked to the US Legal Information Institute’s entry on “False information and hoaxes.”
The anonymous customer then replied to a question from another asking if he had been banned over memes.
“yep because of memes. And apparently… As I was told by a rep of the company… These are against the law. And LRG may be coming after me. And these memes can cost me thousands of dollars… And up to 5 years in prison… After she sent a link to a legal document… [Redacted] liked this comment. [Angry emoji] so this is how they say “thank you” for spending many thousands of dollars with our company. These people are a disgrace.”
“Clearly these are a joke. Mocking their tetris release… As its a regular retail release. And bird king was just a blatant FRAUD that they are selling out the back door. They have ZERO respect for the people that built their company.”
We do have questions of our own. Why did the customer support representative reach out to a customer via Facebook group rather than the customer’s email? Why did they speak in a more causal manner on what would clearly become a sensitive issue? Did they act without the knowledge of their superiors?
As indicated by Sarah’s message “you got banned for exactly the reasons I warned you about”, did the customer do more than just this one meme? Was he asked to take down the meme and refused?
The situation does have similarities to the US CASE Act (approved by the House of Representatives), and the EU’s Article 11 and 13– all of which seek harsh punishments on using copywritten content, even in a transformative manner or under fair use.
We reached out to Limited Run Games for comment when this story broke and have yet to receive a response. We will update this article when/if we have a response.