The Norwegian Consumer Commission (NCC) has filed a complaint against EA, Nintendo, Sony and Valve for not complying with European consumer legislation.
Digital storefronts for each publisher were either non compliant with the EU consumer law statute for right of withdrawal or failing to offer refunds.
EU consumer law states a customer has a 14-day window after making a purchase to request and receive a refund.
The NCC complaint states Steam, EA’s Origin, and the PlayStation Store failed to comply with the law by not obtaining “express consent from the consumer,” and “acknowledgement they thereby lose their right of withdrawal” (thanks, GI.biz).
Steam has a refund policy which is similar to the “right of withdrawal,” as customers can return a game within 14 days of purchase – if they have played it for less than two hours.
The NCC’s issue with Steam, is the store doesn’t make this immediately known before a customer makes a purchase.
“The consumer must acknowledge the policy by ticking a box or something similar,” a spokesperson with the NCC told Gi.biz, “ An action from the consumer is required.”
Valve recently lost an appeal filed with the High Court of Australia, and must pay a $3 million fine imposed by the Australian Competition Consumer Commission for misleading consumers over a guarantee of refund.
Nintendo was called not for not accepting eshop cancellations of pre-orders before a game’s release date. The NCC previously contacted Nintendo to request it change its return practices.
Nothing came to pass, so the NCC filed a formal complaint [PDF] against the company alongside the others.
Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad, director of digital services at the NCC, said games purchased from digital storefronts “do not exist in a lawless vacuum.”
He said EA, Nintendo, Sony and Valve are “some of the largest entertainment companies in the world,” and have to “observe laws and rules and honor consumer rights just like everyone else”.