Hey, you bring up several good points. My name is Steven, and I am both an admin here at Oprainfall and the one that this incident happened to.
Yeah, I've been without steady internet the past few days, so I haven't been able to address this as properly as I would have liked to.
First off, contrary to the CheapAssGamer forums (which I have thoroughly caught up on), we aren't "changing our stories". Unlike major "games journalism" sites, Oprainfall does not have a central office. We're scattered around the world and our main communication method is via the internet, and in emergency situations, we will make phone calls.
When I came home to find my house vandalized and pretty much everything of value stolen, my wife and I were traumatized. The next morning, when I had finally regained some composure, I came into the chat group that Oprainfall operates from to let them know what had happened. At that moment in time, I didn't even give a shit about the cases. I was more concerned that my wife and I would need to find a new place to live.
Richard, a fellow admin here at Oprainfall immediately thought of Oprainfall and the cases, and his first course of action was "full disclosure". Which would have been GREAT if he had all of the details. The only problem was that in our limited communication, very little of what made it to the initial post (which has since been hidden) is actually what happened. Several facts were distorted in the initial post, leading forum-goers to think that we had stolen their money and ran with it. The fact that it was the weekend and our printer was closed did not help matters. If I had been robbed during the daylight in the middle of the week, it would have been far more convenient because I could have immediately called the printer to request a duplicate receipt for our goods. But, unfortunately, whatever assholes decided to do this did it at night, at the start of the weekend, when my wife and I were away from the house.
I have noticed that the forum users at CheapAssGamer have been trying to do some internet sleuthing, and I guess they (maybe) deserve props for finding my old address from a few years ago registered to my old company that I happened to register our domains under. As nice as it is that "investigative journalists" are trying to dig up "the truth", unfortunately there's not much more to it than that. How do we know that the users are coming from CheapAssGamer forums? Because our analytic data showed that nearly 90% of readers on the post we made about the cases came directly from CheapAssGamer or were users refreshing the page after coming from CAG. I'm not putting any blame on the actual website, for the record, it just so happens that they have some pretty shitty trolls.
My first thought when a police record was requested was: "sure, no problem, it only takes a minute to scan this thing." But then I gave it some more thought and quite simply put, I don't want that shit posted on the internet.
I don't have the time to sit and edit out a police record because 1) I've been legally advised that although it wouldn't HURT, it actually won't HELP either (and if we're really lying, wouldn't it be much easier to just make a photoshop?). 2) We're offering a full refund for anyone that wants their money back. No questions asked, just send us an email. I fully admit that this process took MUCH longer than expected, and this is partially MY fault for putting my personal life ahead of the cases, and partially because of going with a cheap understaffed printer. I wouldn't expect much less from dissatisfied donators. And 3) the cases were insured. The original receipt was lost in the mess of my home being vandalized, (which led to more confusion for the poor editor that made the original post), but our printer happily provided us with all the information we needed, including the tracking number and the fact that the boxes were insured. We've filed a claim with the shipping company, and when reimbursed, we'll order more cases. If you "don't buy it", ask for a refund, it's really that simple.
I've been advised that our financial information is private since we are offering a full refund to anyone that asks. I can say this much: the amount of money we made in donations was barely enough to cover the costs to print the cases and have them shipped. You can do the math yourself to find out how much it costs to have 1000 sheets of cardboard printed and shipped.
Someone earlier asked for an ETA - at the moment, we do not know. Here's the factors to consider, though: 1) the shipping company must process our claim and issue our refund (if they don't we will either pay for the cases out of our pockets or just issue everyone a full refund, and you'll hear about that when WE know the answer). 2) We must pay the cases to be reprinted (the printer asks for full payment in advance. However, since they already have our design on file, this time around should be MUCH quicker than before. 3) Once the cases are printed and shipped to our staff, we still need to package and mail each case individually. We maintain a secure database of each and every transaction. No one is forgotten. This is in addition to the records kept on PayPal itself.
Oprainfall as a whole will continue to operate, as there are approximately 30 volunteers now that research and write articles. Only a handful were responsible for the cases.
Did we miscommunicate to our audience by making the original, uninformed post? Yes.Was it irresponsible for it to take this long for the cases to arrive? Partially (I defend that because I don't get paid for this - I do Oprainfall in my spare time and my real life comes first). But ultimately, yes.Are we trying to fix the situation? Yes. As best as we can, actually. Everyone that donated will either get a case eventually or will get a refund, it's REALLY that simple.
Will the cases be shipped to the same address? No. My wife and I live in a house (no, it's not an apartment, yes we rent, no we don't have renter's insurance, and no we don't live with my parents, although for the past few days we have been staying with my in-laws while our landlord repairs some of the damage). The reprinted cases will be shipped to a secure address in a much safer location (obviously I'm not going to post it here).
Do I have your money? No. Although it would sure be nice to have money right now since my home was broken into, we're looking for a new place to live, and I've had to purchase a new computer for work (as I work from home, and yes, CheapAssGamer readers got it right, I do website design!). If I had your money, I wouldn't be defending myself and I sure as hell wouldn't be visiting the CAG forums right now. (I did set up an account, but it takes a few days to comment, apparently)
Please feel free to use this comment wherever needed. But my words reflect ME, not Oprainfall (or I'd write an article about it). And if I see this comment taken out of context (which it probably will be), I'll be sure to head to CheapAssGamers forums myself to post the full body of this comment. I wouldn't be surprised to see a sensationalized headline on one of the major gaming sites taking this entire situation out of context as easy click-bait.
So as the
heads of the internet try to convince others I'm on a vacation in the Bahamas laughing all the way to the bank, my wife and I are trying to piece together our lives as best as we can.
Was this post TL;DR?1) We made several PR errors while handling this situation (yes, I admit, we
ed up)2) We're in the process of fixing it.3) Don't believe it? Ask for a refund.
, I apologize that I'm making this post as a reply to your questions, I'm just a little more than pissed off that this is something that I have to deal with during a particularly trying time for my wife and I, and as much as I understand that the slips of cardboard are meaningful to people, I've got a lot of real life business to take care of at the moment.
Okay, carry on.
(More from Steven, a couple posts later...)
Also, this should also be clarified:
1) We made an editorial mistake by not posting that refunds could be requested when we made our second post. Once we stated that we would offer a refund, that offer still stood, even though the line of text was mistakenly forgotten. We still stand by that. If you want a refund, just ask. MEANING: IF YOU ASK FOR A REFUND, YOU WILL GET IT AS LONG AS YOU GIVE US SOMETHING TO SEARCH FOR IN OUR DATABASE.
2) There's been no secrecy regarding the cases aside from the exact number of people that donated enough to get a case. I'm not sure if we will ever disclose that number unless required by law, but I can tell you that after we ship all of the cases to those who donated, we will still have more than half of them sitting collecting dust. It would have been nice to have ordered a smaller batch.
3) When we reprint the cases, I'll post the tracking number for the new batch so you can all follow along. If I posted the current tracking number, all you'll see is "delivered".
4) I don't get why people keep thinking we claim to have "brought over" Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story. Sure, we made a lot of noise and did free promotion, but I think it's pretty clear that those decisions were made by Nintendo and XSEED possibly even before our campaign started. Pandora's Tower would have only been different if one of the publishers we pitched to actually picked up the title. Well, it isn't here, so obviously we can't claim shit on that one.