UK watchdog calls on Nintendo to refund customers who purchased new Joy-Con due to ‘drift’

joy con drift nintendo which refund

‘Drift’ issue recognized as ‘design fault’ by Which?

Long-standing UK consumer watchdog Which? has called on Nintendo to refund all customers who purchased alternate Joy-Con peripherals as a result of the packaged units suffering from “drift”.

“Joy-Con Drift”, as you will no doubt remember, referred to a frequent problem in the Switch’s lifespan which would see one or both thumbsticks roll off-center, resulting in on-screen movement even when the sticks were stationary. The flaw resulted in numerous complaints from users and led to several class-action lawsuits being filed against Nintendo, leading to Nintendo improving the controller’s design but open admitting that instances of drift would be “unavoidable”.

Which? recently performed a new investigation into the sturdiness and manufacture quality of modern Joy-Con, ultimately deciding that drift is a result of both dirt damage alongside worn contact points. Despite the natural wear-and-tear nature of frequent usage of console controllers, Which? has called on Nintendo to instigate a four-point plan for all Nintendo Switch warranties going forward.

  • Commission an independent investigation into the causes of drift on Joy-Con controllers and make the findings and outcomes publicly available
  • Commit to a ‘no-quibble’ and completely free-of-charge repair or replacement of all Joy-Con controllers sold in the UK that have developed drift since the Nintendo Switch Classic launched in 2017
  • Provide a compensation or refund plan for any UK consumers who can prove that they have paid out for replacement Joy-Cons as a result of the drift fault since 2017
  • Promote this scheme so that all consumers who are affected are aware that they can access free support, compensation, or refunds.

“Nintendo Switch drift has been plaguing gamers for years now, and we’ve found evidence that mechanical issues are likely to blame,” said Which director of policy Rocio Concha. “Nintendo must get a grip on the problem and provide free repairs, compensation, refunds or replacements to any consumers who have been impacted by this issue since the launch of the console.”

Of course, as Which? is only a consumer association, Nintendo does not have to accept the outcome of its investigation nor take its four-point policy on-board. The report does, however, thrust the time-honored debate of controller construction back into the headlines, asking what is a reasonable amount of wear-and-tear and/or damage that can be allowed to take hold of any game console’s controllers before it becomes a matter of customer vs. design.

For Nintendo’s part, any customer who has purchased a Switch console since 2017 who is suffering from Joy-Con Drift should book a repair on the official Nintendo website. The publisher has also noted that it will take all repair requests into consideration, even if your console is outside of its warranty period.

Which? tells Nintendo what is causing its Nintendo Switch drift issue [Which? Official]

Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s and writing about them since the 1880s. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse