The German Consumer Protection Authority (VZBV) has decided to take legal action against Nintendo over its no-cancellation eShop pre-order policy.

This is the crusade begun in Norway at the beginning of 2018. It was taken to Germany because Nintendo of Europe resides there.

After months of work the VZBV, off the back of the work the Norwegian Consumer Council has done, will go ahead with formal proceedings, according to Norwegian site PressFire. It's all expected to begin in three-to-four weeks, but could take more than a year to reach any kind of verdict.

The outcome, though, could have consequences right across the European Union. Imagine being a part of that, wistful sigh.

The eShop policy in question is Nintendo's refusal to allow cancellations and refunds of eShop games, even pre-ordered way before release. The Norwegian Consumer Council said this breaks European law, but Nintendo said the pre-loading process - whereby the game can be downloaded ahead of release - means it doesn't.

eshop
You can't pre-order anything from the eShop without agreeing to waive your right to get a refund within 14 days.

Nintendo cited article 16 of European Consumer Law Directive 2011/83 in defence, which says it doesn't have to allow cancellation if "the performance has begun with the consumer's prior express consent, and with the acknowledgement that he will lose his right of withdrawal once the contract has been fully performed by the trader".

But as the Norwegian Consumer Council originally argued: "The company plainly states that all purchases are final. According to the right of withdrawal laid down in the Consumer Rights Directive, such terms are illegal. Until the game can be downloaded and launched, the seller cannot prohibit the consumer from cancelling their pre-order."

Whether Nintendo's interpretation will withstand scrutiny in court we'll have to wait and see.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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