I think the best place to begin would be to quote Laeth, the Codemasters Community Manager:
We’ve been reading the many posts about some of the disappointment you are feeling from the Collectors Edition. As previously mentioned the Leather Wristband and Prima guide couldn’t make it into the pack due to time constraints and manufacturing issues, but customers will be able to redeem these items via a special page on the official LOTRO website come April 24th. With regards to the other items that have been mentioned we can only apologies for any misunderstanding, though we should at least explain why and how these things came about.
The Cloth Map changed to a Parchment Map very late on in the production , again due to some manufacturing and quality issues; we had a choice of either not including the map at all or giving you something that would still look great but be on slightly different material. We feel we made the correct choice in giving you a great high quality item.
The Letter from Jeff Anderson changed to a Letter from Jeffrey Steefel for the simple reason that Jeffrey is the closest person to LOTRO and knows more about the game than anyone else in the world – we felt that a letter from Jeffrey would be an amazing keepsake for any diehard LOTRO fan. The wax seal was missing as our heath and safety bods wouldn’t allow us to use hot wax.
The Golden Ring competition is still going ahead, albeit under a slightly different guise – we were blown away with the amount of orders we had from all over Europe and our legal guys just couldn’t find a way for us to run the competition in all territories legally. To this end we had to rework the way the competition runs and details on this will be announced shortly. The winners will still get the Gold and Silver rings along with the trip to Turbine and the Zunes so please bear with us.
We are truly sorry for any disappointment caused and have worked tirelessly to bring you a Collectors Edition we are immensely proud of.
The LOTRO Marketing Team”
So basically the collectors edition promised and failed to deliver on the following things:
The chance to find a 24 karatgold ring and 9 sterling silverrings in the 5000 boxes are not mentioned anymore.
The collectors clothmap of middleearth has turned into a paperprint of Angmar.
The Waxed sealed letter also turned into a paperprint
The Prima guide has turned into a digital PDF download.
The leather wristband is not in but can be mailed later.
I live in the United States and this doesn’t have any affect on me whatsoever but I can’t help but feel bad for those who ordered this extremely pricey collectors edition with hopes of getting more than the total crap-in-a-box they have in their hands. Aside from the lifetime membership to lotro how can a company justify such a change to what they promised? Hot wax being a health issue? – Make it fake wax or another substance or something similar? There’s really no excuse for what Codemasters has done to the euros. Sure they’re promising redeemable things on their website after April 24th but honestly too little too late for some.
My suggestion to all the folks who ordered via credit card would be to call your cc company and explain what happened. Tell them you ordered something and did not receive the product you ordered and would like the charges reversed. At this point posting an after-the-fact “oops” doesn’t make it any less a bait and switch or fraudulent act of false advertising.
Thank god this wasn’t Turbine’s mistake or we would never hear the end of it.