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Nintendo accused of breaking EU law over eShop refunds
Think before you click that pre-order button

The Norwegian Consumer Council has written an open letter to Nintendo about their eShop policies, and also criticised Sony and Microsoft.

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According to Norway’s consumer watchdog only Steam and EA’s Origin offer proper refund options, as they insist that Nintendo in particular is in violation of European law (the EU Right of Withdrawal is explained in detail on Steam).

The NCC (Norwegian Consumer Council) has written an open letter to Nintendo in which they highlight the fact that in order to pre-order a new game via the eShop a customer has to waive their right to a refund if they change their mind.

‘According to the right of withdrawal laid down in the Consumer Rights Directive, such terms are illegal’, says the NCC. ‘Until the game can be downloaded and launched, the seller cannot prohibit the consumer from cancelling their pre-order.’

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The NCC looked at seven digital video game platforms in total, and also criticised Sony’s PlayStation Store, Microsoft’s Xbox Store, Blizzard’s, and Ubisoft’s Uplay for making refunds more difficult than they need be.

Sony in particular has been in trouble before over their refund policy, and even ended up on BBC’s Watchdog consumer programme after customers were billed for online games they’d never bought – and were then blocked from their accounts when they tried to get a refund via their bank.

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The NCC found that, except for Steam and Origin, customers were forced to fill out long forms or contact customer support in order to cancel a pre-order, rather than there being any kind of automatic system for doing so.

‘With these hurdles in mind, we discourage consumers from pre-ordering video games, unless they are 100% sure that the game will live up to their expectations’, said NCC director of digital policy Finn Myrstad.

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