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By not offering refunds on pre-orders, Nintendo’s eShop breaches European consumer law, the NCC says

The Norwegian Consumer Council has released a report on pre-order cancellation policies across digital platforms and asked Nintendo to “comply with European law” as the firm’s eShop doesn’t allow for the cancellation of pre-orders.

According to the survey carried out by the NCC, only Origin and Steam had “adequate systems in place for refunding purchased video games” while “Nintendo in particular violates consumer rights by not offering any way to cancel a pre-ordered game.”

The NCC has addressed a letter to the platform holder asking for an explanation, stating that “the consumer does not have the right of withdrawal if the supply of the digital content has begun.” It continued: “This exemption only applies to digital content where the performance has begun. The performance has not begun for games that have not yet been released. Even with prior consent, Nintendo cannot, prohibit the consumer from cancelling or withdrawing from a digital content contract before the performance has begun.”

The organisation is then asking Nintendo to “explain the legal reasoning” behind this policy.

Finn Myrstad, director of digital policy at the NCC, commented: “Nintendo needs to change their practice. They should comply with the law, and give consumers a clearway to execute their rights if they wish to cancel their order. Regardless of the system the platform has for pre-orders and refunds, the right of withdrawal should apply before the release date.”

Furthermore, the NCC told consumers to avoid pre-orders, as it “could result in paying a lot of money for a product that turns out to be a disappointment” (remember No Man’s Sky, folks?). The firm also pointed out that other platforms also don’t make refunds easy as “consumers often face complicated systems.” On this topic, Myrstad added: “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.”

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