Norway Takes Nintendo To Task Over Consumer Refunds

Norway Takes Nintendo To Task Over Consumer Refunds
Image: Kotaku

The gaming industry has come a long way when it comes to offering consumer refunds, particularly in Australia. But as far as Norway is concerned, the industry hasn’t gone far enough – Nintendo in particular.

The Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) has taken Nintendo to task on its website, claiming that “Nintendo … violates consumer rights by not offering any way to cancel a pre-ordered game”.

In the NCC’s open letter, which is published in English here, they notice that an exemption in the European Union’s Consumer Rights Directive does not take away a consumers’ right to withdrawal if they haven’t received the product or part of the product yet:

In accordance with article 16 (m) of the Consumer Rights Directive the consumer does not have the right of withdrawal if the supply of the digital content has begun with the consumer’s prior express consent and his acknowledgement that his consent entails that he thereby loses his right of withdrawal. 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 Consumer Council discovered that Nintendo stands out from the rest when it comes to the pre-ordering of video games. 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,” the council wrote.

For added measure, they also reiterated that consumers shouldn’t be pre-ordering video games anyway “unless they are 100% sure that the game will live up to their expectations”. Nintendo’s international offices had not issued a comment or responded to the consumer council publicly at the time of writing.

Kotaku Australia also contacted Nintendo locally for comment regarding the company’s refund policies in regards to Australians and local consumer law; if we get a reply on any of the above, we’ll let you know.


  • I think the takeaway from this article is gaming companies have to be dragged kicking and screaming to a point where they accept countries consumer protection laws apply to them. Valve is still trying to litigate it’s way out of complying with Au laws.

    • “Games as a service.”

      It’s not just to let them control how/when you play, and extend sales tails and sell DLC… it’s also to try and divorce gaming from the concept of ‘games as a product’. Because consumers have waaaaaay too many rights when it comes to products compared to ‘subscriptions’.

      I’m hoping legislators are keeping an eye on this to head off this kind of bullshit and make sure that the ‘fair go’ approach to consumer protections extends to cover the changing marketplace.

      • Ooh…..instead of spamming us with random UFC articles irrelevant to gaming, Kotaku should do a piece on the legal differences between owning a product and subscribing to a service. I think you made a very good point and has highlighted maybe a hidden agenda here.

    • That’s what makes the next gen of consoles worrying. Subscription service only?

      No one wants that except Sony and Microsoft. I can’t even see developers wanting to give up day 1 game sales?

  • Heres my little consumer rights story, and it goes a little like this.

    I bought an LG C7 OLED in Oct 2017. All the issues are through my now 1 year old $4000 PC with a GTX 1080. Win 10 i7-7700k. 16 GB Ram.

    – Doom will never start. And I mean EVER. Out of over 15 attempts it’s never launched once. And it plays perfectly on my 5 year old Samsung 1080p LED TV.
    – Far Cry 4 will never ever display 4k, 2k images or HDR, even though the game displays the HDR logo. And occasionally Far Cry 4 won’t launch at all.
    – Exact same thing with Dishonored.
    They are all the game I tested, so what the point in trying more when those are my most played favourites.
    – All my 1080p media through my PC looks like it’s running at 720p.

    I listened to LG and Bing Lee advice to buy HDMI HDR 4k compatible cables, check the latest updates for PC and TV and tested alternate Video players, and nothing worked.

    After months of trying to return the Faulty TV, Bing Lee in Belconnen A.C.T absolutely refuse to accept a return. Same with LG Australia. All due to because when LG send out Tech 1 to inspect the TV, the technician saw the exact faults I described above but when he checked if the TV was to specifications – it said that it was. And that has been their only defence ever since.

    When I countered that with screenshoots proving my PC was to specifications by running a General and Video Card diagnostics which came back 100% fine – that was completely ignored.

    I tried Contacting the Access Canberra – who work through the ACCC – and get this, they say they can do anything because there’s “conflicting evidence”. And my only option is now legal.

    I’m still fighting this. But if you think you protected with your rights, don’t be so sure.

    This whole time LG and Bing Lee have been dishonest and lying rights denying scumbags.
    Trying to blame my PC without evidence.
    Never ever initiating phone calls.
    Lying about the TV’s most serious faults when deliberately not naming Doom not starring as one of the main faults. Then Bing Lee later Claiming that the Doom issue was ongoing one which was never ever mention to me once, till they said it to ACT government just a few days ago, after I complained about that for 4 months.
    I asked LG for the short 1 page Tech 1 repair centre report that LG was basing their refusal of return on, but they said it was their private property, but they came to my house, inspected my TV and then refused to send me a copy of the report. Oh, Bing Lee sent me the 1 page report anyway……and much more.

    All this that I have evidence of, and I still haven’t been able to return the faulty TV.
    LG and Bing Lee are awful rights denying turds.

    • Although it isn’t based in the ACT any more, tried consumer voice in the Canberra times (if it still exists)

  • I’m in a battle with Sony at the moment in regards to a refund for Destiny because of the bullshit that has gone on. In the process of sending it to government body to resolve it as they seem to think the number of trophies I have achieved, some how relates the failures of the game?! And is reason enough to deny a refund.

    On my to do list to dob their refund policy into the ACCC as well.

    • I still can’t understand how Sony are allowed to get away with the same nonsense that Valve got taken to court over here in Australia? They’ve been denying refunds and only issuing store credit when it suits them completely at odds with Australian consumer law. They still pretend a digital version isn’t a “thing” that can be consumed when the Valve case showed this was certainly not the case. Sony obviously is keeping this crap going as long as possible until they eventually end up in court and then they’ll make some changes when their hand is forced.

  • Definitely needs to stop. If I have yet to receive the item, I should be fully able to receive a full refund. It’s not just law its common sense.

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