It happens to everyone eventually, whether due to players forgetting to skip, poor internet connection, a miscommunication, or you (GM) just plain forgot to cancel a session. Eventually, you will need to issue your player(s) a refund. This article will help you understand StartPlaying's refund policy!
StartPlaying’s refund policy is outlined below. At a minimum, you must issue refunds for the causes stated in the policy. You can, however, go above our policy and offer refunds for things not listed here. Choosing to disregard the outlined refund policy will result in a strike on your profile, as described at the bottom of the Code of Conduct.
With that out of the way, let's start with some basics!
- When should a GM give a refund?
- What if a player reaches out to Support instead of me to get a refund?
- How long do I have to process a refund?
- When else might you want to refund a player?
- When should I not issue a refund?
- How do I give my player a refund?
When should a GM give a refund?
- If the GM:
- forgets to cancel or reschedule a session which results in the players being charged.
- offers a free session, but the player is still charged.
- is unable to run a session for any reason, and the player is still charged.
- does not provide necessary prep materials before gametime resulting in the player not being able to play and still getting charged.
- Links to VTTs, video/voice call programs, etc.
- advertises that they provide a specific service or tooling but do not provide those services or tools.
- Ex: Advertising you’re going to run a game using Roll20 and Zoom, but instead not using the advertised VTT (Roll20).
- Obviously, tool outages and service disruptions are not applicable to this.
- If the player has unavoidable tech issues within the 1st hour of the game, such as (but not limited to):
- Power outage
- Catastrophic computer failure
- Loss of internet connection
- Uncontrollable weather conditions and safety concerns.
- If the player accidentally joined the adventure twice, resulting in two charges being issued for the game. (only refund one of the charges)
- If a player played in one session, then communicated to you it wasn’t for them more than 24 hours before the start of the next session and were charged.
- If a player tries to skip a session or leave a campaign by contacting the GM more than 24 hours before the start of the session, it’s the GM's responsibility to ensure the player is not charged.
What if a player reaches out to Support instead of me to get a refund?
If a player reaches out to support for a refund for any of the above reasons, the refund will be automatically processed.
Support will do a short investigation into why the player reached out. If the GM is found to be acting in an egregious manner, the GM will be issued a warning. After 2 warnings, a mark will be placed on the GM’s profile.
Support will automatically process a refund if:
- it’s found that the charge was for any of the above reasons in the “When should a GM give a refund” section.
- a GM allows a player who violated the Code of Conduct or the Terms of Service to stay in a game, resulting in the other players not enjoying their experience. (This will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis)
- a GM does not use or violates the listed safety tools as advertised in their adventure.
If you are experiencing a trouble player, see details below:
This process is in an effort to help our Goblin team be quick and helpful. We do realize that sometimes the automatic refund might be incorrect.
If an automatic refund is issued as a result of false information from the player, StartPlaying will credit the GM payment back while we review the details of the issue internally. We highly suggest keeping receipts in order to provide evidence in case this happens.
Eg: take screenshots, ask other players if they would be comfortable speaking to our investigation team, provide a summary of the issue, etc.
If the Player has given false information, they will receive a mark on their profile, and Support will no longer automatically process refunds for that player without first reaching out to the GM.
How long do I have to process a refund?
GMs have the power to refund any transactions up to 14 days after the session has run! If you need to refund a transaction outside that time frame, reach out to support and we will help!
When else might you want to refund a player?
Guidelines and best practices for excellent customer service
You may want to offer a refund in situations like these:
- If a player played in one session, decided it wasn’t for them, but did not communicate to you that they no longer wish to be in your game. The player was unable to or didn’t know they needed to leave the campaign and were charged.
- If a player played in a session with you and just didn’t like the game (and none of the requirements from the above sections are met)
- A player has been absent and non-responsive as to why. Life might have happened, and it might be best to remove them and open a seat for a player who can bring another hero to the table for everyone's fun!
Professional GMing is a job based on the amazing relationships you create. Understanding your players and helping them out will ensure those folks are excited to return for future sessions or recommend you even if they discontinue playing with you! Word of Mouth is a huge part of growing your audience as a professional GM.
When should I not issue a refund?
Sometimes refunds may not be the appropriate course of action. Every GM will have a problem player at their table at some point in their career. Learning how to handle them both at your table and when they leave is an important part of the GM profession. So when is it not necessary to issue a refund to your players? Some example situations are as follows:
- If the Player:
- did not communicate that they would miss the game and gave no good reasoning for the absence.
- broke the Terms of Service of StartPlaying.
- broke the Code of Conduct of StartPlaying.
- violated table rules that were clearly explained, such as safety tools.
Make sure to save screenshots/collect evidence of problem players and report them to the Safety Team! We all value making sure players and GMs are having fun at the table; no one should infringe on that!