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Norway Regulators: Nintendo's Eshop Refund Policy Is Breaking European Laws

by Imran Khan on Feb 21, 2018 at 03:29 PM

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Nintendo have run afoul of European regulators with its eShop return and cancellation policies; which is to say, Nintendo does not allow either of those things, and that doesn't fly in Europe.

The Norwegian Consumer Council has accused Nintendo of practices that violate European law with its very strict no-refund policy. In a letter published online, the Consumer Council harshly condemned pretty much every digital storefront, worst of all Nintendo, for inadequate digital rights compliance. From the summary:

The Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) has found that out of the seven leading digital video game platforms, only Origin and Steam had adequate systems in place for refunding purchased video games. Out of the seven platforms, Nintendo in particular violates consumer rights by not offering any way to cancel a pre-ordered game.

Nintendo, for their part, has a policy of not allowing refunds under any circumstances, including accidental purchases. From the company's support site
  • We are unable to provide refunds or exchanges for mistaken purchases.
  • Please be sure to read the game descriptions and check out the screen shots available through the Nintendo eShop before making purchases.
  • We also encourage you to visit www.nintendo.com for information about the games available for our systems.
  • In addition, many websites make reviews available of games which you can use to make your purchasing decisions.

Nintendo's policy of "all sales are final" explicitly goes against European laws for digital purchases. While other services might also not have consumer-facing refund procedures, they do perform limited refunds through customer service, which Nintendo reportedly not do. The letter petitioning Nintendo points out that Nintendo cannot enter into a contract with consumers that bars them from exiting or dissolving the contract before the game is even released.

The eShop, which includes all of Nintendo's modern platforms including the 3DS, Wii U, and Switch, was the only digital store examined that was found not to be complying with European law.

 

Our Take
European digital rights are taken extremely seriously and I was wondering when they would start holding Nintendo's feet to the fire. It will be interesting to see how Nintendo responds, as not complying with the law is probably not a valid option.