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Nintendo, Valve, Sony, and EA reported in Norway for breaching European consumer law

UPDATE: NCC reports Nintendo to German authorities after dropping other complaints

Original story (27/04/18): Four leading digital storefronts have been reported by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) for breaching European consumer legislation.

A survey carried out in December last year found that Nintendo failed to offer consumers the option to cancel software pre-ordered on the eShop.

Steam, Origin, and the PlayStation Store meanwhile were reported for not adhering to the right of withdrawal, yet failed to meet the criteria to be exempt.

The NCC complaint noted that Steam, Origin, and the PlayStation Store are in breach for not obtaining "express consent from the consumer and his acknowledgement that he thereby loses his right of withdrawal".

Right of withdrawal is an EU law to protect consumers, allowing them to refund a purchase from the moment they make it until 14 days after receiving the product.

The NCC says it previously wrote to Nintendo asking for the platform holder to change its practices and comply with the rules. This led to nowhere however, and the NCC is now filing a formal complaint against all four companies.

Director of digital services at the NCC, Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad, said in a statement the breach of Norwegian and European consumer contracts "shows a lack of clarity by the four powerful gaming platforms".

He added that digital games "do not exist in a lawless vacuum" and that big gaming providers, as some of the largest entertainment companies in the world, still have to "observe laws and rules and honour consumer rights just like everyone else".

Although Steam was called out by the NCC, the distributor does actually offer a refund policy similar to the right of withdrawal which allows consumers to return a game within 14 days of purchase, providing they have less than two hours of recorded game time.

However, in a statement issued to GamesIndustry.biz, a spokesperson for the NCC said: "Steam (Valve) does have a compliant policy, but they have not made the correct reservations immediately before the consumer makes the purchase. The consumer must acknowledge the policy by ticking a box or something similar. An action from the consumer is required."

Update (06/07/18): The Norwegian Consumer Council has dropped its complaints against Valve, Electronic Arts, and Sony. Nintendo, however, is not off hook yet, and has been reported to the German authorities.

"We have sent the complaint regarding Nintendo eShop to the German Consumer Authority because Nintendo of Europe have their business address in Germany," an NCC spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz. "We have decided not to proceed with the complaints concerning the other companies."

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