Monday, 16 January 2012

Hidden Chronicles Estate Cash / Facebook Credit purchase rant - (got a refund)

I've been playing Hidden Chronicles on Facebook, and I really enjoy most of the game (like, finding the hidden items in various pictures, customising your mansion and its surroundings, etc.), but parts of it rely too much on getting help from neighbours (as in, your Facebook contacts who play this same game). You can skip some of that with "Estate Cash", but you only get 1 Estate Cash per level-up, so they really want you to buy some..

I decided to spend some of my phone credit on Estate Cash (as I'm still getting monthly post-transfer credit after every top-up). I've done the mobile payment thing before, with Country Life and The Sims Social (=other Facebook games), so I knew how it works, and I hadn't had trouble with it before.

Above, the purchase screen you get when clicking to "Add Cash or Coins", in Hidden Chronicles. I clicked on the "Buy with Mobile" option, on top right..

Above, the menu I got after clicking to Pay with Mobile.. I selected the €20 package, which promised me 85 Estate Cash on this screen - having done this before in other games, I already knew that I wouldn't be charged anything unless I replied "PAY" to the number that would send me a text message, once I'd confirm my number and everything on the purchase screens. I also knew that sometimes the final screen (which shows you the Facebook Credit info as well) would have a different deal, which could be better or worse than the one shown before it - I've sometimes changed my mind and cancelled the purchase there, if the deal has been worse.. So, I just continued, at this point..

I then got this screen (above), as expected. It shows my number (which I've left in the picture as it's visible on my contact info page, anyway), the deal I'm about to go for (although, I'd actually selected the 85 Estate Cash for €20, yet this screen was showing me 74 Estate Cash for €15 - but more about that in a moment..), and on top right, the total price of my purchase, and the amount of Facebook Credits, which is sort of irrelevant info as I was not buying Facebook Credits, I was buying game currency for Hidden Chronicles.

I noticed that there was a drop-down menu for the deals, so I checked to see what other deal options I would have, before going ahead with the purchase. As you can see in the screenshot above, the biggest deal was 100 Estate Cash for €20. I was delighted, as this was a better deal than the one on the default screen. (Keep in mind that I had not yet agreed to buy anything..)

Above, I've selected to buy 100 Estate Cash for €20, which has also updated the total price info on top right, and the Facebook Credit amount (141). Here, I hit Continue..

I received the text message to my phone, which asked me to confirm my purchase by replying with "PAY". I did that, and soon got four text messages, which charged me €5 each. That's how the mobile payment thing works.

Now, normally, this would automatically update the purchase screen, notifying me that I've bought [item/s] for [amount], and it would then instantly appear on my game screen, and I could start spending the game currency whenever I feel like doing so.

BUT.. This time, I got an error message (unfortunately, I didn't take a screenshot of it), saying that there was an error with the purchase, and I wasn't charged for it.

I checked my mobile credit, and it turned out that I WAS charged for it.

I reloaded Hidden Chronicles, and there was no sign of my Estate Cash, yet I had been charged the €20 from my mobile credit.

I then went to check my recent purchases on Facebook, and my purchase WAS listed there;

The top purchase (above) shows that I had bought 141 Facebook Credits for €20. OK, it was a slight relief to at least see some kind of a receipt for this, BUT, I did not want to buy Facebook Credits! I wanted to buy Estate Cash for Hidden Chronicles!

Above, screenshot of the "View receipt" screen, showing the purchase ID number, #9006756028729.

At first, I couldn't find a way to change the Facebook Credits to Hidden Chronicles Estate Cash, but when I eventually checked out the purchase screen again (where I'd originally started this whole process), it gave me the option to spend Facebook Credits to buy Estate Cash. BUT: It gave me a worse deal!!!

Instead of getting the 100 Estate Cash, which I had SELECTED to buy, I was only given 85 Estate Cash for 120 Facebook Credits, which left me with 23 Facebook Credits (=I'd had 2 before this purchase).

Above, the pop-up receipt for the 85 Estate Cash..

I am NOT happy with this. On the actual purchase screen where I confirmed the deal, I selected to buy 100 Estate Cash for €20. I did NOT select to buy a certain amount of Facebook Credits - those are irrelevant to me. Yet, I did not get the 100 Estate Cash that I paid for. Instead, I got 141 Facebook Credits, and then I couldn't even buy the 100 Estate Cash with them. I was only able to get 85 Estate Cash, and now I'm stuck with some stupid Facebook Credits, which I never wanted in the first place.

Here's what I want: I want 15 Estate Cash, and I want it to be paid with 21 Facebook Credits.

I still love the game of Hidden Chronicles, but I don't feel like buying any more Estate Cash, especially if this is not fixed soon. I don't trust the mobile payment thing anymore.

Just out of curiosity, I clicked on the purchase screen again, after getting that pop-up receipt for the 85 Estate Cash. I got this;

It appears that they were having some kind of a communication problem there, at that time, which may have caused the problem with my purchase but I am expecting them to fix the issue (see above, the "Here's what I want" part..)

Once I hit OK, I got this;

I thought, I don't f'ing belive this, but at least my 85 Estate Cash HAD been added to my account, when I reloaded the game.. (I had 2 Estate Cash there already, so the total was now 87 Estate Cash)

I tagged Hidden Chronicles and Facebook to a status update about this issue, but I wanted to post this blog entry about it (with screenshots), before trying to find some support addresses and contacting them directly about this.

Above, my Facebook rant.. It's Public, so should be visible to everyone.

I'll post an update if/when this issue gets fixed.

Edit 1: My post about this on Zynga forums 

Edit 2: I opened a support ticket with Zynga, they replied with a link to open a support ticket with Facebook, I did, and they refunded the Facebook credits back to my account, so I'm happy with the solution as I can now use them again to buy the Estate Cash I didn't get, and I'm actually going to get a bit more of it now!


  1. I sent a support ticket;


    I paid by mobile for 100 Estate Cash (€20), but there was a problem with payment, and I ended up only getting Facebook Credits, and then got a worse deal when buying Estate Cash with Facebook Credits, so I ended up being charged €20, but only getting 85 Estate Cash.

    I have blogged MUCH more details about this issue, with several screenshots - please see here:

    I have also posted about this on Zynga forums:


  2. Matter solved - see "Edit 2", in the footer of the blog entry.

  3. Thanks - this helped me figure out where my estate cash was, once I'd paid for it. A major bug they need to fix.