German court asks Nintendo to allow digital refunds until launch

A German high court has asked Nintendo to give players the option of obtaining digital refunds on games until launch.

As it stands, players who pre-order a game through the eShop can only cancel and get a refund if the game is still seven days or more away from release.

“The voluntary right to cancel a pre-order can only be exercised seven days or more before the software release date,” reads Nintendo’s support page.

The Norwegian Consumer Rights Council and the German Consumer Protection Authority (VZBV) had previously sued Nintendo, claiming it violated consumer laws, but in December 2020 a judge at the Frankfurt Regional Court ruled that it was legal.

The decision was then appealed and sent to the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt, which has now overturned the previous verdict.

According to a statement posted on the VZBV website, the judges pointed out that the EU’s 14-day right of withdrawal law – meaning customers have the right to request a refund up to 14 days after having bought something online – did not apply to video. Games.

Part of Nintendo’s argument was that some of its games can be pre-loaded on the Switch and activated on the release date, which means the transaction took place at this point.

However, VZBV’s argument was that even though a game had been preloaded, the fact that it could not be activated before release meant that up to this point “the game is worthless to the buyer and the contract. Nintendo was not fulfilled in any way. ”.

The judges accepted and the appeal was granted, meaning Nintendo was ordered to change its policies. According to VZBV, this has already been done for the German and Norwegian versions of the eShop.

It is not yet clear whether Nintendo will apply this to all eShops in Europe or the rest of the world.

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