After requests for refunds of the PC version of Fallout 76 were allegedly denied, Washington DC law firm Migliaccio & Rathod LLP launched a deceptive trade practices investigation against Bethesda.
The law firm told us an attorney came across the a story on hothardware.com which talked about the refusal of refunds. The launched an investigation which soon took off.
I spoke with the firm over email. "We have received dozens of responses since putting our investigation up yesterday morning on our website and on Reddit," said M&R. The Reddit post is currently sitting over 18 thousand upvotes on Reddit with over 2500 comments. They added: "That’s significant since we sometimes have investigations that go months without much of a response, so it would appear that we’ve hit a nerve here. Early purchasers of Fallout 76 didn’t like the state that the game was delivered in and are rightfully annoyed at its lackluster performance."
Their investigation pertains to deceptive trade practices. This legal term has an intentionally broad meaning to it, and M&G believe Bethesda's Fallout 76 falls under the prohibition of unfair and deceptive trade practices. They said:
Almost every state has a statute (law) that broadly prohibits “unfair and deceptive trade practices.” The wording is deliberately broad to make sure that all forms of such conduct can be policed – both by the government and by individuals who fall victim to such practices. Some typical forms of unfair and deceptive trade practices include the omission of a material fact in connection with a sale such as failing to disclose that a product suffers from a debilitating defect or promising something (like a refund) and not delivering on that promise. Those examples should probably resonate with Fallout 76 users.The law firm's main goal is to help owners achieve their rightful refunds. They cite that if owners of Fallout 76 knew it would release in such a poor state, they would have either not bought it, or waited for it to get in a better state or decrease in price.
There have even been some cases where players appeared to have received a refund, but was taken away the next day. M&R explains that they have had consumers believe they were able to get a refund and attempt to get one, but were denied by Bethesda. "Assuming what they say is true," said M&R, "that is classic consumer fraud."
While this is the firm's first video game case they've tackled, they are no stranger to taking on big companies in the tech industry. For one of their cases, they represented MacBook owners suing apple over defective butterfly keys. In another, they represented Facebook users whose accounts were breached.
Along with the firm's Reddit post, Migliacco and Rathod's investigation has been popular thus far. "We are stunned by the overwhelming response that our Fallout 76 investigation has received," said attorney Jason Rathod, "and intend to move forward with a class action lawsuit to hold Bethesda Games accountable."
The long legal process has just started, but be sure to stay tuned for updates on the case when more information becomes available. We will have more information on this situation going forward.
What do you think about Migliaccio and Rashod's case? Let us know in the comments below!