Anti-refund policy exposes the risk of buying digital
If you are one of the many who purchased SimCity this week and found yourself unable to play it, you may feel like you were gypped out of $60 and want your money back. Unfortunately, while physical retailers might do the honorable thing, Origin won’t refund you.
An Origin rep told Polygon it doesn’t refund users unless there are “special mitigating circumstances,” and EA selling a game that doesn’t work through self-serving design doesn’t count. A refund situation may include your computer not meeting the requirements for something you bought. It doesn’t include EA putting its fearful need for post-purchase user control above the enjoyment of its customers.
While the lack of refunds on Origin isn’t exactly a new policy, situations like this expose the risk of purchasing digital content, and highlight the need for more efficient and consumer-friendly refund policies. The “Wild West” factor of digital distribution allows platforms to refuse customers the right to a refund, but if the industry wants physical media to be taken over, it’s going to have to eventually start treating digital like a real business.
There’s simply no long-term value in doing what this industry’s doing right now. If games increasingly release in deliberately unplayable states, while refusing refunds, it will eventually burn even the most patient and loyal of users. EA’s been steadily displaying a fear of its own customers for a while now — and the more it acts on that fear, the more it’ll fulfill its own prophecies of consumer abandonment.
EA not offering SimCity refunds [Polygon]