Nintendo’s eShop has come under heavy criticism from the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC), who have accused the gaming giant of violating European consumer law.
The charge relates to the lack of an option for consumers to cancel a digital pre-order of a videogame purchased on Nintendo’s eShop.
While accepting that Nintendo are under no obligation to offer refunds for digital games that have been downloaded and are available to play, the NCC noted that pre-order games fall into a different category since “performance” (customers playing the game) is impossible.
“Nintendo cannot, prohibit the consumer from cancelling or withdrawing from a digital content contract before the performance has begun,” the NCC said in a letter strongly-worded letter addressed to Nintendo, before asking the Japanese giant to offer a legal basis for their failure to provide consumers with the facility to cancel pre-orders.
Nintendo are not the only company the NCC have criticised for their digital pre-order policy. For the NCC it is a wider issue and, while Nintendo may be the main offenders, they named Origin and Steam as the only two digital platforms that currently have “adequate” systems in place to handle pre-order cancellations.
On other platforms, the NCC note, even those that offer refunds, “consumers often face complicated systems” to try to reclaim their money.
Partly due to such issues the NCC are currently recommending that consumers avoid pre-ordering games. The fact that there have been numerous occasions in recent years when heavily hyped games have been criticised strongly on release (think of Destiny or Star Wars: Battlefront 2) supports their case. Wouldn’t consumers by wiser to wait until the initial reviews are in to see if a game is worth their money?
According to the NCC, customers of Nintendo’s eShop would certainly be advised to wait – at least until Nintendo respond to the NCC’s challenge with corrective action.