On September 8th we hosted a full day on our Charity Raid Bus for Pokemon Go – such a full day that we had to hire two charter buses to carry more than 100 players around San Antonio to catch the Legendary Bird Moltres. If we were lucky some would be “shiny”. Sadly, one of the passengers – Ryan Wilson – didn’t feel that his bus reached enough Pokemon and he filed an “item never received” chargeback via his credit card.
Our charity effort had raised $800 for an animal rescue that we work with often, much of this was raised when we raffled off a Nintendo Switch along with a handful of other prizes. Unfortunately, that $800 total dropped to $755 once Wilson filed his credit card chargeback. The ticket to the event ran $25 and when you file a chargeback via your credit card vs just opening a dispute with PayPal, PayPal issues the vendor (that’s us) a $20 fee for them to deal with that person’s financial institution.
Ryan Wilson attended our event and while I was on the other bus I had gotten reports that he was being very rude to Jaclyn, the volunteer running the mostly Team Mystic bus that Wilson was on. He stayed on the bus for the entirety of the event, he ate the pizza that was provided as part of the ticket, he drank our drinks, and he ate our snacks. He even stuck around after the event to see if he won the raffle.
He contacted me during the event, while I was navigating for the other bus, to tell me how unhappy he was with the amount of Pokemon they had been able to catch so far. Ryan had contacted me prior to the bus as well and told me he had a peanut allergy and I told him that we couldn’t guarantee that there wouldn’t be some snacks on the bus that included peanuts. Sometimes people bring their own snacks too, those might also contain peanuts, which I informed him. This is a grassroots community event, not a restaurant – we just run it as something nice for the players in a way that can also benefit charity.
We don’t keep a single dime from our events and we even launched a Patreon to provide the best experience possible. Wilson didn’t want to hear that we were all volunteers and that we could only do our best. He wanted a refund, and he was getting very upset. He told me at one point via Facebook Messenger that there had been peanuts served on the bus and “I have a disability and you did not make me safe” despite my warning that I had no means of keeping peanuts off the bus.
Jaclyn, our volunteer that was running the bus Wilson was on, had this to add: “Wilson is a large, loud man, and he kept interjecting from the middle of the bus where we should go next or what we should be doing. We’ve run these events for fourteen months and never really had someone shouting instructions at us. This made other passengers unable to hear me even over the microphone as his comments were frequent. I didn’t feel safe after hearing reports he was threatening me personally from several passengers, so I called Matt on the other bus and had him notify the bus driver to keep an eye on the guy if he decided to start something physical. I doubt he realized his disgruntled comments were overheard.”
So first let me say that I stand by our volunteers on the Raid Bus 200%. It is not always easy navigating a bus that cannot make tight turns and things are *always* going to run slower than if you rode around yourself with a few friends. We often skip raid stops because we can’t pull the bus up to that location – something Wilson knew as a raid bus regular and Patreon backer. Speed isn’t why people ride the raid bus though, they ride the raid bus for the community, and they ride the raid bus because doing so benefits charity.
So we find ourselves after fourteen months asking our first passenger not to return, and we deleted his access to our Patreon. We’ve never had to ask anyone to leave the bus, we’ve never had to ask anyone not to come back or bar them from boarding the bus. Wilson went through his bank, bypassing PayPal’s standard dispute process, and filed a complaint that “his item was not received”, because it is such a small dollar amount the bank sided with him to not spend any more time or resources on it.
I wrote this because I believe strongly in calling out bad actors, and Ryan Wilson is a bad actor who was a Patreon backer of our organization, he bought his ticket to our event with no guarantee that we would reach any specific amount of Pokemon, and even after eating our food, drinking our drinks, eating our snacks and staying for our raffle – thought it fair and just to file with his credit card provider that he did not receive what he paid for – at the expense of the animal rescue we were raising money for.
Now silver lining – PayPal stepped in after I called them and gave us a $45 credit because they could see the format of the complaint, and they could see that it was an event ticket and not “an item” that Wilson was disputing, so once the funds had all become available we were able to still make the full $800 donation to the charity – but not without a lot of headache and time on the phone making sure PayPal knew we’d done no wrong.
Many thanks to PayPal for eating that chargeback so we could keep doing the good work that we do – hopefully in the future grown men won’t resort to credit card chargebacks to cope with strong emotions over not catching enough cartoons on their phones.
Posted on October 11, 2017 at 1:00 am