In addition to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ruling that Zenimax must refund Fallout 76 purchases, the ACCC has targeted Australian gaming retailer EB Games for deceptive practises regarding refunds for Fallout 76. Specifically, EB Games has been ordered to refund anyone who tried to seek a refund for the game between November 14th 2018 and October 31st 2019. More details regarding EB Games’ undertaking can be read here.
“Consumers had complained to the ACCC that EB Games representatives had advised them they were not entitled to a refund after they experienced a range of faults with the Fallout 76 game, including problems with servers and bugs in the game”, writes the ACCC in a statement. “EB Games has provided a court-enforceable undertaking to the ACCC, committing to refund consumers who contacted EB Games between 14 November 2018 and 31 October 2019 to request a refund for the Fallout 76 game due to faults and were denied a refund.”
The ACCC takes Australian consumer protections very seriously. Any Australian retailer found to be misleading consumers regarding their rights to a refund tend to get found out. In this case, EB Games was found to be misleading customers regarding their entitlement to a refund after Fallout 76’s litany of misleading marketing materials and bugs. According to the ACCC, “EB Games acknowledges that its conduct is likely to have misled certain Australian consumers about their rights under the ACL in connection with the statutory consumer guarantees and is likely to have contravened sections 18 and 29(1)(m) of the ACL.”
Bethesda has steadily been addressing criticisms of Fallout 76, patching bugs and adding more story content. However, the shadow of its early controversies has continued to haunt it. With continuing stories of paid features that don’t work properly, Zenimax will need to be careful to stay on the right side of Australian Consumer Law. Under the law, Australian consumers are entitled to refunds for goods or services that are not fit for purpose. These protections are in place regardless if the goods are bought within Australia or from an overseas distributor.
The ACCC concludes its statement with advice for Australian Fallout 76 owners. “Consumers who are eligible for a refund from EB Games because they were denied a refund should contact EB Games before 1 August 2020 by emailing the EB Games Customer Service Centre at [email protected] to request a refund. Consumers who accept a refund will lose their entitlement to access and play the game.”