New UK consumer act enables digital refunds

As of October 1, 2015, UK consumers have been granted further protection against faulty goods, enabling customers to receive a refund should a digital product be deemed faulty.

You will now have 30 days to claim should you discover your digitally purchased goods are faulty, and can make a claim via the retailer. For example, if you purchased your game through the Xbox Live store, then you will have to go via Microsoft, or if you purchased it through Steam, you would contact Valve.

The Citizens Advice website gives various instances where faulty digital content can be eligible for a refund, below of which is the example they give for a downloadable game:

You download a free game (for example, a virtual world) and build up some virtual currency in the game through your normal game play. You then buy some additional virtual currency in order to make an in-app purchase (for example, an item for their world). The item is faulty and doesn’t appear in your virtual world. Under the Act, as the game is free, the provider does not have to provide a remedy for any faults in the game. However, once you paid a price for some content then, if then you can show that that content is faulty (that is, does not meet the quality rights), the provider will be liable to provide a remedy. The provider is only liable for faults affecting the chargeable elements of the game.

The question to ask now is, as we’re very much in a digital world, what constitutes a faulty product? Would the graphical issues at the launch of Assassin’s Creed: Unity result in mass-refunds within the first month of launch? Or is it more focused to titles which are completely unplayable, much like the ill-fated release of Batman: Arkham Knight on PC? According to the new act, you will be covered in situations like these, putting further pressure on developers to ensure their products are of a high standard on release.

For further information on the changes to the Consumer Rights Act, visit the Citizens Advice website.


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