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Stardoll Entertainment Complaint - Beware Of Stardoll; They Take Advantage Of Children

Review by Minky on 2008-08-09
LOS ANGELES -- My daughter (16) joined Stardoll when she was 14 and ever since then has been having problems, not only technical but with the staff.

She has been deleted 3 times, but had herself reactivated after proving to them they wrongfully deleted her. Ever since then the staff has been very snooty and rude to her, almost as if they hold a grudge because she was not one of the naive children to let them get away with trying to get her into paying more money. When she first started having technical problems, the staff said they could move her things. Before she had a chance to reply, half of her items were on a different account; useless to her. They promised her she would get them back but after asking again, they told her that it was 'impossible' and that she would not get them back. Being naive at the time, we did what anyone would do and that would be buying more of their currency and tracking down those items to replace. But they were quickly removed again.

Recently she started to have technical problems. At Stardoll, when you sign up you have an e-doll as well as an e-suite (this is your house.) and you buy their currency using your own money and build on with furniture, clothes, animals etc... In June of 2008, she was having problems with her suite not loading. She contacted them and they told her they were technical problems that were being worked on and she did not take a second look and went on with her business. A few weeks later, her suite was still malfunctioning. She contacted them again and this time they told her her problems were because she had too much in her suite. Now when she signed up, nowhere in the terms of use did it state that you could have too much, let alone that they would not help you with technical problems that you'd have because of having too much. We believe this is because if users know they will experience problems, they will be less likely to give them money. They offered to help my daughter by moving half of her things to another account.

She said she would let them but they had to give her a compensation. She was loosing half of her things, this was thousands of items and hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise (we've spent in excess of 600$ making her suite her own)and if she could pick some clothes of her choice to make up for loosing all the other clothes and furniture, she was willing to deal with it. After she asked them for this compensation, they then changed their story again. They now relied on rumors around Stardoll that were started about girls who refused to give up things to others for cheap prices. They claimed that they had used a loophole, which was not true. Now the staff came at my daughter claiming that it was the loophole causing this whole problem. She was outraged and then replied back to them. They then attempted to trick her into thinking she was not entitled to anything, claiming when she agreed when signing up that they did not have to give refunds. When she was asking for a compensation, because of technical issues as well as not being warned that this would happen, though they knew it would.

It is now August 2008 and after constantly attempting to get them to listen and what not, they have stopped replying to her and myself all together.
On Thursday she contacted the CEO telling him that she in fact had proof in her inbox that they had ripped her off, in the form of messages where they changed their stories and attempted to trick her into thinking otherwise. Friday morning she awoke to find her account deleted, along with the other account she used frequently. The staff had no reply to this. She started to use a spare account she had, not doing anything more than dressing up her doll and suite and without warning (or reason) they had deleted her account right out of the blue. The reason they deleted her accounts was so she could not get access to the proof she had.

Reports on Stardoll have been filed with:
The Federal Trade Commission
Better Business Bureau
RipOffReport.com
and now my3cents.com

I strongly urge everyone to keep their kids off this site. It is a scam built around children. They believe that once they delete a child, they will re-make a new account and spend more money trying to get back what they lost.

They have no trouble deleting innocent children but refuse to delete racist accounts, sexist users as well as take any action against staff that shows favoritism to certain users and openly teases younger children by offering them things then refusing.


******UPDATE***********
An employee of Stardoll.com filed a rebuttal on RipOffReport.com against my daughter's (I allowed her to write her experience instead of me writing it myself) claim stating that my daughter's ACCOUNT (they did not mention but one) had been deleted due to 'anti social behavior' as well as 'breaking rules'. My daughter had not broken any rules, she had not had time to break any on her other accounts deleted too, and you've got to be kidding me when they say she was deleted for being anti-social! Nowhere in the rules does it say a child cannot be anti-social, further more if she was I would assume they would of contacted her and not given us this lame excuse after we've filed the reports! My daughter logged in for at least 3 hours daily, she replied to all comments and guestbooks (she has almost 2000 pages in her guestbook (10 comments on each) and 5500 inbox pages (10 messages on each) and has obviously given them lots of money as well as I have for birthdays, special occasions and as rewards. If this does not prove that Stardoll.com is a scam for children, then I do not know what does.
Comments:4 Replies - Latest reply on 2008-08-11
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-08-09:
I'm glad that you filed reports with numerous companies on fraud. What they did to your daughter is inexcusable. I've never been on the site so I don't know if they have racist or sexist users, but I would never visit a site that preys on children to get their money and then cancel their account for no reason. Why did you spend over $600?? Isn't there another site like this that's free? I mean it's money for stuff that isn't tangible. What I hope you took away from this is that you should be saving your daughter's money for more important things. I realize children may be influenced by pop culture and their peers, but with much consideration, parents shouldn't allow them to spend money like this. I hope you get some form of compensation back. But if you do, put in a savings account! You'll earn interest and your daughter will thank you later!
Posted by Minky on 2008-08-10:
Yes, believe me my daughter and I know better now! I do not allow her to spend money like this on websites any longer. Though most was from her allowance, she is not allowed to spend more than 10$ for websites in a one month period. We did not start having big problems until being on the website for a while and the money we spent was before the minor problems even started to occur. In the past we had minor problems that were solved therefore we assumed they would be in the future, hence continuing to feed them money. In one month she ran up my PayPal account almost 300$ and oddly enough, that was one of the few months she did not have any trouble with the staff. I at first was a little confused by she was spending so much on items she could not actually use but the website became quite addicting, even for me, especially when they started to put celebrities on the site, holding contest (many of them are fixed)and she had many friends on the site. Basically I believe Stardoll became her hobby, and collecting things for her user was the same as collecting stamps. She is not the only user to spend this type of money either, she once had another user offer to pay her 5$ real dollars for 1 fake pair of shoes. This is why they see the little girls easy to take advantage of because when they get on Stardoll, they get confused and look at it as real life. There are even gossip blogs dedicated to this website and they are approaching their 20 million member. One of the last reasons we have stayed on the site too is because with the amount of investments this company has gotten, we thought that it was a legitimate website. But we soon realized, after watching videos of their CEO talking about the website to attract potential investors, that a lot of what he said was the fabricated truth or a flat out lie.

In the past few months when she was having these problems, she has not bought their currency or membership either, so don't worry. And in the future if the website comes through and compensates her, she will not give them anymore money besides 5.95$ a month to maintain her now almost mandatory 'superstar' membership. No extra payments here and there for Stardollars, and only 1 month membership at a time. We're hoping in the future we can do something to warn multiple people of the problems with Stardoll and how they try to rip off children. All of my daughter's friends have had at least 3 problems with the staff, payment and techincal issues since joining and she estimates 3/4 of her friends have all had past accounts wrongly deleted, some belonging to users who've spent in excess of 1500$. My daughter also asked people with problems to email her and in her inbox is a folder with at least 150 girls ages 9 all the way to middle aged woman who have written their stories, none of which were ever resolved by the staff.

I believe if more parents are warned, less likely children are going to be taken advantage of.

Minky
Posted by Ponie on 2008-08-10:
Let's see if I have this straight. You allow your daughter to spend in excess of $600 for something she can't touch, is not in her personal possession, and pays a $5.95 membership for the privilege of going to a website to 'see' her 'stuff?' It's definitely NOT like collecting stamps. You have the stamps in your possession, quite often in a book(s). The stamp collections usually increase in value as you add to them, although not always. Whatever happened to Barbie dolls? You can dress them also and buy furniture for them. Minky, I really can't determine who's at fault here--the site, your daughter, or you. Where do I sign up to make money like this?
Posted by Minky on 2008-08-11:
Hi Ponie,
If you read my comments and my entire review, you'd know that a majority of what she spent was her allowance, which she had full control over. This was over an almost 3 year period, which is roughly less than a dollar per day. I give her full control over her allowance, because she earns it. Usually if she helped keep up the house for the week, I would reward her with a month of membership as well as a 1 or 2 'stardollar' refills. Of course like mentioned I do not allow her to spend money like this online any longer. And I also mentioned I did not understand why she was spending this much on things she could not use, but again, it was her money and the total amount was over time, an almost 3 year period. I first did not allow her to at all spend money on the website but after the website started making membership for specific features necessary, she was allowed membership and here and there we would top up her account. It was not as if we joined one day, gave them over 600$ and were mistreated. We both used it frequently too, this is why I was willing to actually let her spend this type of money in the long run. I don't think you understand how quickly a 9.99$ top up of currency every few days can quickly add up, especially when items can be as high as 25currency for a background of your home and 15currency for a single dress. However, I would like to point out to you as well as to anyone else that the money is not the primary reason for writing this complaint, it is the customer service and the tactics of the staff and company all together. They're determined to take advantage of girls with money any way possible, even if it means deleting them and taking things away so they are tricked into wanting to get everything they had back. They are a company that thrives on Fraudulent Business Practices to take advantage of anyone with a penny to spare, especially children. Stardoll.com is another world, like my daughter says, I do not believe you can fully understand where we are coming from or what they have done to my daughter without not only having it done to you but also becoming an avid user of Stardoll.

Minky

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