Around the time that SimCity was imploding, EA told players that they couldn’t have refunds – unless they’d bought a boxed version, and then only within 14 days of purchase, as per Origin’s then-policy.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission took exception to those stipulations: the country’s consumer law dictates that players have a right to insist on a refund when a product has a major failure.
Now, EA have agreed to create a consumer redress program for Australians who bought a faulty game through Origin from January 2012 onwards.
The publisher has promised to set up a toll-free 1800 number to tackle the complaints of affected buyers over the period – which covers the March 2013 release of SimCity.
“Businesses such as EA selling digitally downloadable goods cannot avoid their responsibilities under the Australian Consumer Law just because they are located outside of Australia,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.
“It is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law for businesses to state that customers are not entitled to refunds under any circumstances,” Sims went on. “Where a product has a major failure, consumers can insist on a refund or replacement at their choice. Representations that this right has or can be excluded, restricted or modified are false or misleading.”
EA first announced their intention to comply with Australian consumer laws back in 2013 – and this week told Kotaku AU they were “pleased to have worked cooperatively with the ACCC to resolve [their] concerns and ensure our players in Australia have the best possible experience”.
It’s worth noting that EA now have their Origin Great Game Guarantee, which means refunds on their own games up to 24 hours after you’ve first launched them. Have you taken advantage of that?