When buying things nowadays, we generally like to know that we’re able to nip back into the store or send an email in order to get our refund. However, that kind of promise is a fairly grey area in the world of digital licenses, including games. Steam, for example, was one of the first platforms to allow refunds – with Microsoft now following a similar process to Steam.
Sony however make it a little harder for the consumer, but they’ll allow you to cancel your pre-order and grab yourself a refund. Want to try that trick with Nintendo though? You’re out of luck there pal.
Once you’ve pre-ordered a digital Nintendo game, that money is gone forever. No changing your mind or amount of angry tweets will make Nintendo give you your own money back. This practice does seem quite unfriendly for consumers and the people over at the German Consumer Protection Authority (VZBV) and Norwegian Consumer Council teamed up to take Nintendo to court, believing it to be illegal under both Norwegian and EU law.
According to Nintendo, they’re not breaking any laws because they’re “fulfilling their contract” to deliver the software and that under EU law, they don’t have to offer refunds once “the performance has begun with the consumer’s prior express consent, and with the acknowledgement that he will lose his right of withdrawal once the contract has been fully performed by the trader.”
The Norwegian council though, says that “The company plainly states that all purchases are final. According to the right of withdrawal laid down in the Consumer Rights Directive, such terms are illegal. Until the game can be downloaded and launched, the seller cannot prohibit the consumer from cancelling their pre-order.”
However, when the case was taken to court in Germany (where Nintendo Europe is based) the courts decided to side with the Japanese company, in a fairly surprising outcome for those involved. Naturally, both the German and Norwegian teams have appealed the courts decision but it’ll be a long time before that one gets a verdict.