Nintendo eShop Refund Policy Overturned After Losing Court Appeal

Nintendo lost a lawsuit against them by a German consumer advocacy group, with a court ruling that the eShop’s pre-order refund policy is illegal.

A recent refusal of a legal appeal by nintendo is likely to change its current eShop pre-order refund policy, which states that refunds can only be made up to 7 days before the game’s release. The game company is no stranger to disputes, this one being one of many lawsuits filed against Nintendo in recent years. This latest decision aims to improve the rights of nintendo switch customers by making their refund policy more similar to the refund policies of other companies.

The increase in digital game pre-orders and downloads in recent years has created uncharted legal territory for game developers, with companies often varying in their digital product refund policies. For a long time after the console’s release, the Nintendo eShop offered no refund options for digital pre-orders of future releases – Nintendo would take payment from the user immediately, offering no recourse if it later decided that he didn’t want to buy the game. Nintendo changed its eShop policy in September 2020, allowing players to request refunds for their purchases up to 7 days before the game’s release.

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European consumer groups challenged the policy in 2018, with the Norwegian Consumer Council taking legal action against Nintendo that year, eventually joined by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations – known as VZBV – in legal proceedings against the company. Initially, this case looked like a victory for Nintendo, and it was reported that the German court ruled in Nintendo’s favor, dismissing the case. However, Nintendo’s life reported today that the appeal of the VZBV’s case was successful, with the court ruling stating that “Nintendo had excluded the right of withdrawal and invoked a legal exception. However, the prerequisites for the right of revocation were not met, because the download made available after the pre-order did not yet contain any usable games. Until the release date, the game is worthless to buyers and Nintendo’s contract is not fulfilled in any wayThis goes against Nintendo’s argument that the return policy was fair because players could pre-load games after the pre-order was completed, thereby fulfilling the sales contract.



So far, this legal outcome has not been challenged by Nintendo, although no changes to the returns policy appear to have been made at this time – Nintendo still states on their website that returns can be made up to 7 days before a game is released. However, based on the outcome of this case, the company may now be forced to implement an updated policy soon. The case could set a precedent for how digital game sales are handled, now that a court has ruled that pre-ordered content does not amount to a product returned to the customer.

Problems with refunds being given to video game buyers have been a long-standing issue in the gaming community, with refund policies varying widely between different retailers, which many gamers find unfair. Some companies like GOG have very lenient refund policies, while others like nintendo have only recently begun to relax their strict rules on returns. This case sought to improve the rights of consumers to nintendo switch users, and with this new verdict, it looks like it will do just that.


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Sources: Nintendo Life

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Timothy C. Mayo