A major European consumer protection agency has accused Nintendo of breaking the law by not allowing consumers to receive refunds for pre-ordered games.
In an investigation conducted by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) on seven leading digital games distributor platforms, only Origin and Steam were found to have the sufficient systems in place for refunding purchased games. However, the Nintendo eShop is the only one that particularly violates the consumer rights, as consumers cannot even cancel games that they have pre-ordered.
The Norwegian Consumer Council sent a letter to Nintendo, asking the Japanese gaming giant to comply with European Law. Nintendo’s current official policy is that all purchases are final. That is considered illegal according to the consumer rights directive, in which the right of withdrawal is stated. NCC director of digital policy Finn Myrstad says that the seller has no right to prevent the consumer from canceling their pre-order until the game finally releases or is available for download.
In the letter, the NCC further asks that Nintendo fulfill the rights of consumers by allowing them to cancel their pre-orders if they wished to do so. Myrstad explains that “Regardless of the system the platform has for pre-orders and refunds, the right of withdrawal should apply before the release date.” He also advises consumers to avoid pre-ordering games “unless they are 100% sure that the game will live up to their expectations.”
Other distribution platforms that the NCC has investigated include Sony’s PlayStation Store, Battle.net, Ubisoft’s Uplay and Microsoft’s Xbox Store. Although these were found to offer some kind of cancellation or refund to consumers who pre-order games from their online marketplaces, the NCC reports that these platforms were offering less than satisfactory policies as well, especially since they usually require consumers to contact customer support beforehand.