CHOICE Releases A Guide On How To Get A Refund On Sim City In Australia

CHOICE Releases A Guide On How To Get A Refund On Sim City In Australia

When Sim City was first released, people literally could not play the game they paid good money for. At the time EA’s official policy was to offer refunds to people who had bought retail copies of the game, but digital owners weren’t granted the same privilege. We investigated precisely what that meant in terms of consumer rights in Australia and found that the situation here was slightly different. According to consumer law, considering the state Sim City was in at launch, EA would most likely have to deliver a refund to any Australian who requested one.

Interestingly CHOICE, the independent consumer rights watchdog, has now officially released a guide on precisely how you should approach getting a refund for Sim City should you choose to get one. The official statement from CHOICE is quite damning…

SimCity’s always-on feature means gamers need to be connected to the internet in order to play. This appears to be a misguided Digital Rights Management (DRM) measure to fight piracy, although EA have denied this is the reason for the feature.

CHOICE came to the same conclusion we did: the failures of Sim City are ‘major’ and, as such, consumers are well within their rights to demand a refund.

CHOICE believes these problems with SimCity constitute ‘major failures’ and therefore consumers have a right to demand a refund. The problems are considered ‘major’ because had a user known about them beforehand, it is unlikely that they would have ever bought the game.

If a consumer purchased SimCity and is still having trouble playing the game, then they have a right to a refund under Australian Consumer Law.

You could argue that these statements have come a little late, particularly when EA has now fixed a majority of the issues the game had, but CHOICE Head of Campaigns Matt Levey, believes that the game, in its current state still doesn’t deliver upon promises made to consumers at point of sale.

“The always-on DRM has created multiple problems since its release – servers have crashed and fans have been kicked out of the game. These problems still plague consumers today, albeit less severely,” he said.

“To add salt in the wound, the need for internet connection is not clearly communicated at the point of sale. A visit to both and confirm this.”

CHOICE recommends that consumers seeking a refund should…

• Get your refund directly from the retailer. Even if they are online; you do not need to contact EA or any other third party.

• Provide proof of purchase and the game itself, with or without the original packaging.

• Remember proof of purchase does not necessarily mean a receipt. For example a bank statement is sufficient.

• If you have trouble then ask to speak to the store’s manager or owner.

• If words like ‘consumer guarantee’, ‘acceptable quality’, ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘major failure’ don’t sway them, try out ‘ACCC’ and ‘Department of Fair Trading’ and see them come around.

• Make a complaint to the ACCC or your Department of Fair Trading (unique for each state) if the retailer refuses to refund the game.


  • This game will be remembered as one of the biggest failures. Some people make dumb choices and the. All they can do is blame others. Was comical to read the oil spill letter, I remember that part cause it was hilarious. the CEO did what he does best and that is blame others amd that time it was his consumer audiance hahaha. What a douche.

    Man I really hope this doesn’t happen again. Sucks the game is really good, when you get the chance to play it and before the connection cuts out or glitches start occuring.

  • It’s basically fixed now. Sure there are still a few features disabled but the bugs are a lot more scarce than they were at release.

    • This is wrong. I still get rollbacks and crashes to main menu with 3-5 hours of time lost. I have experienced this in the last week. And yes I have a high quality internet connection and computer.

  • What was amazing that despite the massive disaster there was a good game underneath that help ease the flames, but it turned out that it was just a show and that what really was underneath from a broken dumb down mess of a product that rapidly loses all entertainment value. I wonder if EA will agree and offer me a refund despite claiming the free game :D, I will give it a try.

    • It seems you’re still entitled to that free game, despite being unhappy with the product you received at the point of sale. AFAIA, you’re not obliged to surrender any incentives to keep the product if the product you originally purchased was faulty. EA might ask you, and get the shits on if you don’t surrender the incentive (or if they attempt to remove access to it), but they might not have a leg to stand on since the incentive (free game) was offered as a peace offering, essentially, out of their own pocket.

  • Really EA/Maxis should have titled it “Sim Suburb” considering how small the usable area is that you have at your disposal.

      • The annoying thing is that it’s already been proven that the “usable” area constraint is artificial. I recall someone disabling the always online, enabling an accurate population count, and also removing the constraints for your suburb. It would really be nice to be able to use this fix without EA turning around and banning you for it.

  • OMG, Are people still whinging about SimCity. Completely blown out. The game had some issues, its working fine now, if the game was still unplayable today, then okay but it had issues for a few days, well for me it did. Get over it and don’t be a douche.

  • Taking the physical copy back to the store won’t stop you from owning the game, however. You’ll still have access to it on Origin.

    • They may have fixed a few things but this game is far from anything that could be considered “basically fixed”.

      One of the major issues right now, quite a gamebreaking one as well, is the issue with trade depots and things like mines, wells, factories (not the industrial zone ones but the specialisation ones).

      To explain the problem for those who aren’t aware of it, basically, trade depots stop exporting and the specialisations stop send out stuff when they become full. Even if there is only 1 trade depot, totally empty, a mine or factory which is “Closed” due to being full won’t ship anything to the depot. Kinda makes it hard to play if you’re specialising in producing stuff.

  • I’ll keep on playing my version cause I’ve been quite enjoying the game and haven’t really had many problems. Regardless this is a good thing though.

    • Same, I only had problems on the first day. For that matter, I only had Diablo 3 problems on the first day too. After that, both games were smooth sailing. Guess I’m just lucky.

  • The reason Choice released this now, even though it’s late in the scheme of things, so you know that next time this shit happens australian law is on your side. And it will happen again.

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