Rationale Behind Non-Transferrable Badges
Posted by traveller

Correct, what you are asking for is something that as is stated is not allowed.  The thing is, its never just *you*.

You don't like the policy because it impacts you, i get that.  But fair or unfair, its the policy your SIL agreed to follow.  Do other conventions do something different, sure.  Do some do something similar, sure.  You bring up the conventions in your area don't have a policy like this, good for them.  It still doesn't make the policy the WORST ever.  All it does is make it the policy Gencon chooses to follow.  I didn't pick similar to gencon conventions (well origins and maybe Dracon Con) but I also included other industries to point out that there may be other factors we are not aware of that make the conventions choose this type of policy.  Unless they are all a part of some vast conspiracy (and I am making a joke there).   

Of course this entire discussion could have been avoided had you simply had the badges/tickets shipped to you (as recommended by Gencon)

Posted by redgriffyn

Here are a few refund/transfer policies from small-mid size cons I go to:

CON1: "What is your refund policy? There is no refund on badges purchased at registration, however, pre-registered badges are transferable to another person up to October 10th.

(note the event starts on 2018-OCT-13, so if this was gencon I would have been able to transfer easily last week).

CON2: "Badges are final sale at all levels. We do not provide refunds for badges purchased, though the purchaser is free to resell the badge at their leisure. Purchasers may not resell more than 4 badges held in their name, and never for an amount higher than original purchase."

(so here I can resell my badge, i.e., transfer it without ANY headaches).

CON3/4/5/6/7: Neither of these cons even have a stated refund or transfer policy because they would just deal with it in house and do it.  Provide the 'personal touch' kind of customer service one might want.

CON8: "Q: Can I pick up Passes on my friend's behalf? ------ Yes, as long as you have a copy of their registration confirmation and a photocopy of valid photo ID. Acceptable forms: Driver's License, Student ID, PR Card with secondary ID, Passport, Credit Card."

(looks like a reasonable means for someone to pick-up someone else's badges/tickets?)

Only two of the 10 cons I checked within a 3 hour drive from me had explicit 'no refund and no transfer' policies stated.  Furthermore one might expect that there would be exceptions given due to extenuating circumstances because sometimes people have a sense of humanity.  If not then they are guilty of the same bad practices as gencon.  Stop pretending like it is industry best practice/good customer service.

Posted by selene314

If they allowed unrestricted transfers, scalpers would buy the tickets and re-sell at higher prices. Gen Con would probably make more money if they allowed this - only the wealthiest gamers could afford to attend, and they would spend more while there (so Gen Con could bump up its prices for event/vendor space). So just maybe it's not greed that motivated them to choose a policy that hurts the small number of attendees in your situation.

If they evaluated transfer requests on a case-by-case basis, they would have to devote a lot of time to doing so. I think your "10-15%" estimate is high, but even 1% of 60,000 badges is 600 transfer requests. If each evaluation and transfer takes only 20 minutes, that's five weeks of full-time work. The staff has a lot of other important things to work on immediately before and during the con.

And if they allowed people to pick up someone else's badge at Will Call, there would be thefts.

It doesn't sound like your sister-in-law's financial situation changed abruptly. She could have returned her badge before June 17. She could have had her tickets mailed, at which point you would be able to return everything except the badge (or use it yourself against con policy despite not being able to pick up additional event tickets). The no-transfers rule wasn't hidden in fine print. It's right there on the "Get A Badge" page, and showed up several more times in the purchasing process, along with the June 17 deadline.

Posted by rhone1

This just appears that the OP is mad that rules aren't being bent to his liking and wants to cause a scene about it.  He's upset and wants to threaten bad PR.  Nothing to see here folks.  I'm moving on.

Posted by traveller

So you picked 10 conventions that proves your point of view, and I found 10 that supported mine.  What does that prove, not a thing.

Statistically speaking the sample sizes are too small to provide any viable conclusions.  

From what little I looked at the smaller the convention the more liberal the refund policy.  Once convention attendance started into the thousands, the refund policies became stricter.  Again, there are thousands of conventions a year in North America alone ranging from under 100 to over 100,000.  Each with their own policies. 

I'll agree with you on extenuating circumstances, but this doesn't apply to our situation so we can let that argument drop.

I'm not saying its a good policy, i'm not saying its a bad policy.  I don't have enough information to judge, I'm only saying it is policy.


Posted by raidkillsbugsded

It's likely their policy because it's what's most cost-effective and expedient given their business model and staffing, at least one would think/hope, assuming they understand how to conduct a business.  

They're not likely to change because they don't have to.  They'll have 60-65 thousand people again this year, and will again next year and so on down the line.  Demand hasn't (and probably won't) lag despite there not being enough downtown housing to satisfy everyone, not having enough of whatever the desired events are to satisfy everyone, raising badge prices again, etc...  We can choose not to go (which I've even considered for various reasons), but the show will go on without us, probably with the same policies regarding badges...They'll still fill the house, so to speak.

Posted by buffythecatslayer

Really, do you want some cheeze with your whine?

Gen Con knows perfectly well how to run a business, whereas it's obvious you don't have a clue. The idea that Gen Con does this as a money-making feature is ridiculous; your statement that they make 10-15% revenue on this is foolish. To make that amount of revenue, they'd have to have at least half that many no-shows, or 5-7% (ignoring event ticket sales), when the actual number of no-shows is probably around 1-3%. Is math that hard for you?

As far as bad PR, no they don't get bad PR by enforcing a policy, no matter how badly it may inconvenience delicate snowflakes. Where they get bad PR is when they start making exceptions to a policy, and people start getting upset that they allowed your "legitimate" request, but not theirs. You want to transfer a badge due to a sudden job change, but what if someone with an even more legit request (broken leg, death in family) can't find someone to take their badge, and wants a refund?

As far as needing to keep volunteers? First, Gen Con pays their Event Team, and they have plenty of people waiting to do the job. Your threats of lost revenue/bad PR/lost volunteers are ludicrous. Also, what other cons do is really immaterial; no refunds after June 17 is Gen Con's clearly stated policy. If your SIL didn't like it, she shouldn't have bought the badges & tickets in the first place.

The large part of the fault here lies with your sister-in-law. I can't blame her for using Will-Call, but if she had used the Friends & Family feature, then all your brother's items would be in his name, and he could pick them up from WC, and you'd just be out the cost of her stuff.

If you hadn't spent the last 2 days whining about this, you would have had time to get yourself a 4-day badge. Now, they're all sold out, and you can sit at home and stew about how "unfair" and "inhumane" Gen Con is, while the rest of us are having fun.

Posted by redgriffyn selene314

selene314 wrote
If they evaluated transfer requests on a case-by-case basis, they would have to devote a lot of time to doing so. I think your "10-15%" estimate is high, but even 1% of 60,000 badges is 600 transfer requests. If each evaluation and transfer takes only 20 minutes...

Lets assume it takes 20 seconds per person at will call to get a badge normally.  Lets assume it takes 10 seconds extra per transfer person at will call so they can see the notarized form/original person's legal ID/etc.. Assuming 600 people that is 6000 seconds (1 hour and 40 minutes).  Split that among 4 employees (4 will call lines) and that amounts to less than 30 mins of extra staff time per staff over 4 days.  Your going to claim that somehow the con can't afford the manpower for 2 extra hours over the entirety of the con per 10 seconds you increment the transaction time?  Especially when they don't likely pay the majority of people who do will call and they are instead volunteers (so you might need to recruit 1 extra volunteer and not pay them for 1 day of the con).  This is on the basis of making an extremely easy change to improve their policy to accept more flexible ID validation.

Also, there appear to be a number of people trying to undermine my critique of the con because they believe I am only here because the policy has negatively impacted me?  That logic is a bit silly.  Of course someone makes a 'customer service complaint' on the customer support forum when something negatively effects them.  Do I need to be some altruistic refund/transfer policy advocate who travels con to con to make a industry wide shift before my complaints are valid?  Its a rhetorical question.  The answer is obviously 'no'.

The other half of you seem to think I'm some whiny baby with hurt feelings who'll be jealous about not being able to attend.  You guys are out to lunch.  My sunk cost is $0.00 and I refused to purchase a 4 day badge.  I didn't come here to whine until I get my SILs badge (it is a forgone conclusion that they won't do it).  I want actual con/event planners to come on here and explain their policy in the public eye, because I believe they are ripping the public off.  This is their own forum for customer service and so far they refuse to come on here and address anything.  The intent here is that maybe they'll make a positive change for future cons.

Instead I get a chorus of gencon fanboys who are unable to reconcile that I'm okay with not going and made the decision not to repurchase ~$300.00 in badge/tickets that was already paid for. I was going to go as a favour to my brother to help make his experience and my nephews experience better (that's my only motivation for going, end of story).  But I can't justify spending the SAME ~$300.00 on a con who treats their volunteers and their customers as ONLY positive cash-flows.  If I had always planned on going to the con then I would have bought my own badge/tickets months ago when my other family did.  It wasn't worth it to me then and it certainly isn't worth it to me now that they are exploiting my family for double badge/ticket sales. 

This is a matter of what people are willing to accept.  It looks like almost every poster here is willing to accept that the con has "no" responsibility to provide customer service simply because they put up a liability policy that excludes one item.  What I'm saying is that despite having a policy like that it is reasonable for you to hold them to a high standard of customer service.  I would expect that if you went to the hospital it might be reasonable to let them transfer their ticket to someone else ho could attend.  I would expect it would even be reasonable offer a refund, which the con makes a transaction fee on (which pays the cost of the admin to process it so no need to calculate an arbitrary 5 weeks of increased staff hours). However, if you think the refund option is too extreme because it is a loss in badge revenue then walk it back one sentence and just do transfers (you know the thing that is already paid for). You guys are likely spending hundreds to thousands of dollars in badge/tickets/merchandise/panels/photo ops/etc. and you don't even seem to care that their business model and policies negatively impacts many of your peers.  Are there no extenuating circumstances that you would find reasonable?  Anyone who says 'no', you'll deserve what you get when you hit whatever your life's rock bottom is and no offers you a helping hand.


Posted by san_fan_49

They do not need to explain their policy here, it is pretty self explanatory. And how are the ripping the public off exactly?

The policy is what they have chosen, it is in their terms of service, and they provide time to refund that up until a certain point. 

And if they started allowing exceptions, where does it end? If I get the flu today and cannot attend, should they allow me a refund or a transfer? If I get into an accident on the way should they? If I break a leg and can't walk? If my dog dies?

How can they reasonably carve out exceptions that will not go further and further year after year?

And forgeries can be done on signed documents and videos can be forced, how can they rely on those items to transfer? What if they do allow that and then the original holder comes forward and says it was a lie and someone stole that information and got their items? Now they are on the hook for something else.

Posted by elvinlord

Sucks your sister couldn't go, there are probably hundreds of people in similar situations.  Every single one of them agreed to Gen Cons terms of service. Most reasonable people consider those terms fair and reasonable, if anything their refund policy for tickets is too generous and encourages people to buy tickets they know they likely wont use.

Insulting people who point this out and wishing them true misfortune is well childish. 

Gen Con has no obligation to publicly justify their terms of service to anyone.  Don't like them don't agree to them.  I often don't agree to purchase products which have what I perceive as unreasonable terms of service.


Posted by traveller

Ok, paragraph one, your assumptions of times is just a WAG.  Nobody here will have reasonable, let alone accurate, ticket agent interaction times so lets agree that this is a point not worth investing time discussing.

You keep bringing up that the con is some way is not providing customer service.  Your brother reached out to customer service (several different people according to you) and received responses.  The responses were, I'll assume since you didn't say anything else, prompt and in line with existing policy.  A policy which you feel unfairly burdens the customer.  You also feel that this policy is a deliberate attempt to gouge customers.  Other than not getting what you wanted out of interaction how are they not providing customer service?

You give an example of being unable to attend the con due to illness and that the con should refund or let your transfer in that instance.  I'll agree with you on that point, but since that is not the situation here we can end discussion on that example and the possible outcomes.  

You don't have a "reasonable" reason for needing an exemption.  Your reason for wanting an exemption is something entirely within your control.  You stated your case to customer service, didn't like the answer, came to forums to try and make this a public issue.  The most likely response you would get is going to be a short note to say they reached out to via your account email address.

Do you accept any responsibility that the situation you are having is due to the choices (and they were all choices) you made?

Oh, and by the way, gencon volunteers are paid positions. 

Posted by kristen2001

Honestly, at this point I am hoping this is just very strange viral marketing for notary public services.

Posted by traveller

While this has been a pleasant diversion to pass time until the con starts, its time to go.

Good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!

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