The Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) has determined that Nintendo is violating European Union (EU) laws regarding refunds and cancellations for digital purchases. EU law requires the ability to refund digital purchases and to cancel pre-orders.
According to a report from Norwegian site Forbrukerradet, NCC looked at seven game platforms. Steam and Origin were the only stores in full compliance with the law with easy to use options. Battle.net, the PlayStation Store, Xbox Marketplace, and UPlay allowed cancellations or refunds but had requirements such as contacting support via phone, chat, or email. Nintendo does not offer any means of a refund or cancellation. Their letter to Nintendo has a screenshot of the website terms of service directly saying “All sales are final.”, which would appear to be a violation of the EU requirements.
“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.” said the NCC in a letter to Nintendo of Europe.
The NCC asked Nintendo three questions at the end of its letter: “Can consumers freely cancel or withdraw from a pre-order or pre-purchase before the release of the game? If yes, how does the consumer proceed to forward such a claim? If not, please explain the legal reasoning.”
As of this writing, Nintendo has not issued a response to the NCC or other EU authorities.