Nintendo is one of those companies in the gaming industry that everyone loves, despite its flaws. Sometimes it is their games or systems (Virtual Boy anyone?), other times, however, it crosses over into the territory of lawsuits and patent disputes.
Rarely, however, does one really win against Nintendo, though a UK resident was able to score out a win in a small lawsuit against the company.
The user in question, going by the reddit name crownshots, made a post on the NintendoSwitch subreddit yesterday, telling the tale of his encounter with the big N over a faulty product.
According to crownshots, their Nintendo Switches Joy-Con would eventually be shown to be defective, implying it is suffering from a well known issue with the controllers, nicknamed the 'Joy-Con Drift'.
Joy-Con drift is when your Nintendo Joy-Con controller's thumbstick detects movement without touching the stick on the Joy-Con, or even touching the Joy-Con at all. This leads to players seeing their characters or in-game interfaces 'drifting', basically moving without any input.
Nintendo is contending with several lawsuits over the issue of Joy-Con drift, including a major class action lawsuit that claims the company knew about the issues but purposefully sold a faulty product for profit. Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa, for his part, directly apologized for Joy-Con drift in subsequent interviews, and has stated that Nintendo will work to further improve their products.
So what does this have to do with crownshots? according to their story, they were told by the UK branch of Nintendo, Nintendo of Europe, that a refund for the Joy-Con's for the system would be impossible, despite the fact that the UK has fairly clear-cut consumer protection laws that allow for full or partial refunds for defected products.
Per crownshots, after requesting for a manager or a legal department, which Nintendo Europe denied having in place, they pushed the rep "a bit more (politely) to see if he was absolutely certain about this, since such a refusal is illegal, he just flat out told me to seek legal action and disconnected!"
Crownshots then took a drastic step.
I emailed/wrote to Nintendo to ask for their official complaints process. After several more attempts to get this information, and not receiving a response (over about a month) I moved on to the next step... dispute resolution. Since their website says they don’t participate in alternate dispute resolution, I tried an ombudsman - but because Nintendo HQ is a different country to me, they said there’s nothing they can do. So I had no choice but to open a case with small claims court.
I entered all the information and uploaded evidence, which by that point had been over a period of 16 months since purchasing the console.
The choice to take the case to small claims would see crownshots receiving a win and a refund for their Joy-Con, as Nintendo didn't respond to the claim within the 21-day time period. The direct judgement afterwards would see crownshots (with photo evidence to prove their claims) receive a refund from Nintendo of Europe.
Crownshots also noted that they heard back from Nintendo via email after the judgement was sent out. "Suddenly, when the judgement was sent out and they were ordered to pay, they emailed me saying 'We’re sorry we didn’t respond to the claim, we are currently receiving lots of emails' - as though legal issues come last!"
The whole ordeal took over a year, which for many may be too much time to care for a refund, but the principle of the matter is important to Crownshots, and the £100 refund, which also covered the costs of filing the legal action.
This was mostly possible due to Crownshots purchasing the Switch directly from Nintendo, which made them both retailer and manufacturer in this case. Crownshots also notes in a separate post that those who wish to pursue a similar claim should contact the retailer first for a repair, and if it doesn't work, to then consider the small claims.
So please," they say at the end of the post "if you have any issues with their support, don’t give up and don’t take no for an answer if you know you’re in the right."