Are you an Australian who bought Fallout 76 in its buggiest state? Did you get a refund? Were you flat-out denied that refund? You may be entitled to compensation.
No, this isn’t a sketchy lawyer commercial — this is an actual court ruling in Australia.
If you tried to get a return/refund for Fallout 76, you’re now entitled to your full money back from ZeniMax. Any Australian players who attempted such between November 24, 2018, and June 1, 2019 will be contacted by ZeniMax to have a refund offered. Of course, if you get your refund, you can’t play your game. But that’s the point of a return, right?
If you fall under these terms, you have Australian consumer laws to thank. Yesterday, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission accepted a resolution from ZeniMax, the primary development studio of Fallout 76, to resolve consumer complaints about refunds. If you’re wondering why it’s not Bethesda, it’s likely because ZeniMax also handles the customer service department.
The ruling implies that Fallout 76 was buggy enough to invoke consumer laws about “misleading or deceptive conduct.” The first law invoked is section 18 of the Competition And Consumer Act of 2010, which reads:
(1) A person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.
The other cited section in this ruling is 29(1)(m), which reads:
(1) A person must not, in trade or commerce, in connection with the supply or possible supply of goods or services or in connection with the promotion by any means of the supply or use of goods or services:
(m) make a false or misleading representation concerning the existence, exclusion or effect of any condition, warranty, guarantee, right or remedy (including a guarantee under Division 1 of Part 3-2);
In short, again, Fallout 76 is so damn buggy that consumers in Australia who requested such were legally entitled to a refund, if requested to the company in charge.
During the original debacle, however, it appears that ZeniMax didn’t give a refund option for customers who believed their game was faulty. As a result, ZeniMax is being put under a series of sanctions requiring change and clarity in its refund laws. In addition, they must undergo changes (likely in the form of training) to make sure their customer service department follows the law of the land.
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- Fallout 76 Curse Strikes Again with Power Armor Helmet Mold Recall
Thanks to a case against Valve last year, games sold in Australia need to follow its consumer laws. Valve was fined $3 million AUD as a result of the legal action, and it was part of Valve’s implementation of a refund policy. Just this year, Sony was made to do something similar with some of its downloaded games published and sold on the Sony store. Sony’s terms stated that software didn’t have to be returned after 14 days. In one case, a customer was redirected to an indie studio.
As software becomes more of a part of our daily lives, governments around the world are more likely to make sure we’re given usable programs. Or at least the ones we’re told we’re buying.