You may have stopped playing Pokemon Go but there’s at least one Arizona resident that wishes he still could.
Dave Summers first started playing in July 2016 right after the game was first released.
“I never considered myself a gamer prior to Pokemon Go,” he says.
But after downloading the app, he says he was hooked.
Dave says he’s spent nearly $2400 on in-app purchases and even traveled to San Francisco’s Pier 39 to catch a rare Dratini Pokemon.
“I mean I could talk about it for days,” he says.
In March 2017 Dave says he reached Level 40, the highest level attainable for Pokemon players.
But by May there was a problem.
After nearly a year of having the username VagizardBeater, Dave says it was reported for being offensive.
“It was a slightly PG-13 name,” he says.
His account was blocked and he changed the name; this time to PokeBeaterUpper.
Dave believes that nothing was wrong with the names and that he was being targeted by a jealous rival who wanted to exploit what he calls a “loophole in the system.”
“They kept reporting me so even a wholesome name like PokeBeaterUpper got flagged,” he says.
That too was reported as offensive and then blocked. So he chose another name: PichuPuncherPHX.
Again, blocked. He says wanted to talk to a human to explain that he believed he was being targeted by a rival but could only email and says he received automated responses.
Dave says he was convinced that no matter what he chose he would be reported. His last two names PichuPuncher69 and PichuPuncher666 he says were chosen out of frustration.
“At the time I was thinking I guess I'm going to have to reset my name every day for the rest of my life,” he says.
Nope. Instead he got an email letting him know that he was banned, permanently.
Dave says he later found out Pokemon had five username report limit, and once he reached it, he was banned.
“(There’s) no real review process it would seem.”
He filed an appeal and asked specifically which terms he violated and was surprised by the response.
In an email Pokemon Go support says it reviewed his account and listed falsifying location, using unofficial software, or third party software to basically cheat the system.
Dave says he was shocked at the response and denies ever cheating. He points to the randomness of the email as even more reason that Pokemon Go needs a better system for reporting and resolving player problems.
Dave says situation could and should have been handled better, and he while he would be allowed to start over with a new account he has no plans to.
“I've traveled. I've spent countless hours grinding toward this goal. I've spent money on it, real money--$2400 and to think that it could have been taken away again just at anybody's discretion?” he says.
After weeks of trying to contact Pokemon Go’s parent company Niantic, today a spokesperson acknowledged that they did get our emails but would not have a response available in time for air. We’ll let you know if we get one.
Do you play Pokemon Go? Has your name been reported? How was it handled? Let us know.