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'World of Warcraft' billing problems infuriating players

In the wake of my story on ongoing "World of Warcraft" server problems, it appears that players of the immensely popular online game from Blizzard Entertainment are now dealing with an even newer problem.

Apparently, Blizzard's automated billing systems are malfunctioning, resulting in some players' WoW accounts being made inactive because their credit cards could not be charged for renewal.

Blizzard did not immediately return two calls for comment, but in the WoW forums, a Blizzard representative addressed the issue Monday.

"We are aware that accounts that renewed around April 20th and 21st were not charged and players cannot get into the game," the posting said. "We have a workaround for the problem. It requires you to 'refresh' your payment options by placing it in the system again. Note that you will not get double charged."

The Blizzard post then proceeds to spell out the specifics of the steps required to reactive players' inactive accounts. If those steps don't work, the post continues, players should call a toll-free number for support.

But players are angry about the latest problem and are saying so.

"This doesn't work and the phone doesn't work and I can't even cancel the account," wrote a player called Edar on the forums. "This is ridiculous. I am finished with this game. This was really the last straw."

Essentially, the players charge, the support lines are jammed with customers trying to resolve this issue and therefore many are not getting the answers they need.

"I just spent (four) hours trying to get through to your billing department as per your suggestion," wrote a player known as Orso in the forums, "but when I finally got through they told me their tools were broken and I was SOL til you guys fix it. Guess I can kiss my (player versus player) rank goodbye for this week. Thanks, Blizzard."

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