European court: Nintendo doesn't have to offer refunds for digital pre-orders

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member

For roughly two years, according to Norwegian gaming site PressFire, Nintendo has been locked in a legal dispute (Google Translated version here) with Norwegian and German "consumer authorities" regarding digital game refunds.

Specifically, refunds for digital game pre-orders. Right now, Nintendo does not allow customers to cancel orders for digital games that have not been launched.

"Except as authorized by Nintendo or as required by applicable law, all payments that you make through the Shopping Services (including pre-purchases and Subscription payments) are final and non refundable, and Products may not be returned or exchanged," Nintendo's official "Purchase and Subscription Terms" documentation reads.

Like many business practices of Nintendo's, this refund policy is quite different than that of many others. Even some of the most controversial figures in the gaming industry (we won't point fingers here) offer full refunds on digital pre-orders.

At any rate, the consumer authorities mentioned before sued Nintendo in the hopes of forcing the company to change its ways. Unfortunately for them and any consumers who felt their cause was just, that suit has failed.

Not only will Nintendo be allowed to retain its current digital pre-order policies, but the plaintiffs will be required to pay the company's legal fees (standard practice for cases of this magnitude). The plaintiffs have appealed the court's decision, but it remains to be seen whether or not that will work out.

Image credit: Market Realist, Nintendo Life

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TorturedChaos

TechSpot Chancellor
Pre-ordering really doesn't make any sense to me if your buying a digital product.

Pre-ordering didn't make much sense in the days of physical media either, but I could see a bit more of a point to it as a popular title may run out of physical copies at the store you are trying to purchase from. Especially in a smaller town.

But its not like they will run out of digital copies. You can purchase it at any time its offered.
 

hahahanoobs

TS Evangelist
Zed and Tortured are right.

The worst part is, devs give you scraps as incentive. If pre-orders were $10 cheaper, THEN and only then could I justify pre-ordering again. Until then, if you do it and get hosed, that should be on you. But in reality, consumers will still cry if they can't get what they want. At least when it comes to gaming. But not Apple. Apple can do whatever they want to their customers.
 
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PEnnn

TS Maniac
Why do people pre-order?? It's not like they will run out of copies or something, they're digital copies!!
And they will not get them sooner or cheaper either...so what's the point!!
 
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Jona King

TS Member
You guys are ignoring the context when saying; "Just don't preorder!". This case is about an international entity wanting to do business in a region that has a set of laws protecting consumers from predatory business practices. This governing body is then saying to the courts; "We believe Nintendo's business practice is against our laws that stipulate that orders can be cancelled without reason, unless the product is "made to order"". But we also have laws that say 2 parties can make any deal they want, as long as it doesn't break any laws. The question is kind of simply; which of these laws gets to kill the other when it comes to this type of business.
As for not getting anything extra, or not getting the game sooner for pre-ordering, that's not always true. Indeed some games do give earlier access if you pre-order, or in-game items that are supposedly only available to those who pre-ordered.
 
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NightAntilli

TS Evangelist
This is really shady... I mean, what happens if you pre-ordered a game and it gets cancelled? Don't you have the right to a refund? Because there is nothing in the terms that refrains this from happening.

Yes, it is a risk to pre-order. To the ones saying to stop pre-ordering, that's exactly what I do. But not everyone is as conscious as a consumer. Normally rather than having lower prices for a pre-order, you generally get exclusive pre-order bonuses, which some people simply want, thus they pre-order.

Not being able to cancel any order, especially one that has no real practical limit (I.e. cancelling an order if the package is already shipped and on the way is a real limit that doesn't exist digitally), is simply a **** move. If I could express it in a more friendly way I would, but there's no other way to put it.

Nintendo is becoming one of the worst publishers out there... And once again it is evident that people need to take care of themselves, since large organizations at one point or another will leave the people hanging.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
The better resolution would be the the EU to pass legislation that outlawed pre-orders, the back it up with a law that required companies to double the buyer's money back if they fail to deliver the product, as promised, and if they fail or either or both issues, they face a permanent ban to do business in that country(s). Businesses aren't stupid; they will always take the easier route and when compliance = profits, they quickly fall in line.