One thing I am starting to see more of in the online bingo industry, is players complaining about how difficult it can be withdrawing from certain sites.
One such complaint was made by Gemma Scott, who had joined ComfyBingo.com, deposited £10 and then went on to win £80. As she saw it, the minimum withdrawal amount at ComfyBingo.com was £30 so she should be able to withdraw those winnings easy enough. Not so.
When Gemma went to make a withdrawal, she was told she could not withdraw anything until she had deposited a minimum of £25. OK, she thought, I just deposit another £15 and then I can withdraw my winnings. Not so.
You see, Gemma then discovered that at ComfyBingo.com you cannot actually make a deposit if your cash balance is over £60. So as she had £80 in her account it meant she had to lose £20 before she could deposit the £15 required to let her withdraw.
Gemma decided to do just that, as withdrawing £60 would still be a good prize amount to take away, but when she wagered £20 on a slot game to get her down to the required amount, she actually won another £75!
So at this point she spoke with Live Chat, who basically told her the rules again, and that she would need to get her balance down to £60, make a deposit of £15, before she could withdraw. So she eventually did this, and finally withdrew £59, which if you take off the £25 she deposited to get that, amounts to a profit of £34.
Oh what’s that in the Google Results?
Now, you could say that the bingo site is happy here because they had a player who at one point had over £150 cash in her account, but who only managed to walk away with £34.
However, what they wouldn’t have counted on is how one bad review posted on Gemma’s blog site, ThrifyNifty.org, could very quickly shoot up the Google Rankings for the search term ‘Comfy Bingo’.
Her post, Review of Comfy Bingo – next to impossible to withdraw any winnings! currently ranks 3rd in Google for ‘Comfy Bingo’ and 1st for ‘Comfy Bingo Reviews’.
This is what people see in Google:
Comfy Bingo must be absolutely sick of this appearing in their search results, especially as they’re just the white label owner, and all the T&C’s and support handling has been done by the network.
Those terms and how they’ve responded to Gemma could have had a huge effect on the Comfy brand – only they will know how this one complaint has affected their conversion rates from Google search.
If I was Comfy Bingo, I would have contacted Gemma at the earliest opportunity to apologise and offer her all the money she should have been able to withdraw in the first place, if not for the daft withdrawal rules. This may have gone some way to allow Gemma to either update her blog with more positive comments, or remove it completely.
However, judging by her post update in September 2013, Comfy Bingo did contact her, and while she comments that the Comfy Bingo rep didn’t speak in a threatening tone, she found the fact he knew her home address and telephone number to be a bit disconcerting. Legal action was also threatened, which was all enough to prompt Gemma to call the police for advice.
Bingo Sites Need to Wake Up
This example is one of the most extreme I’ve seen yet of how rubbish withdrawal terms can come back to bite site hard, but it should not be ignored.
There are two comments to Gemma’s posts sharing similar issues, and one which says they didn’t join Comfy on the back of her review. So in that example alone it has cost Comfy a potential new depositing player.
The online bingo industry, in particular the big networks who offer these white label sites, needs to wake up and make their terms more fair for players, as in the long run all they are doing is driving players away from their sites.
Players who have problems with a site will tell their friends, either in person, on social networks, or in this instance on a blog that could damage your rankings – so you should do everything you can to sort out their problems.
Brand owners need to be pressuring the network providers to change their T&C’s to make withdrawals fairer and easier for players. I know from my own experience that if a site is easy to withdraw from, I do withdraw, but I usually end up coming back again and again because I know I can trust the site.