Bethesda permanently banned several gamers from Fallout 76 known as the Gay Eliminators for trolling other players. Many gamers pointed out that Bethesda may have violated consumer protection laws given that the $60 product was rendered useless once the Gay Eliminators were banned from the game. Some gamers decided to start a petition to get the Gay Eliminators unbanned, just so that they can be properly punished.
Average Developer started the petition over on Change.org. In the post it actually doesn’t simply advocate for reinstating the Gay Eliminators, it actually advocates for properly punishing them, with the creator of the petition writing…
“Bethesda has taken an extremely anti-consumer stance by choosing to permanently ban some trolls on their game Fallout 76 instead of administering a proper punishment. By using a permanent ban, Bethesda has actually opened up a door to legal ramifications. Fallout 76 is still a product, therefore protected under consumer protection laws. […]
“My proposed solution to this fiasco is to unban their accounts and indefinitely mute them. By doing so, the banned players may continue to utilize the product. This also renders them unable to chat with other players, preventing further incidents. This is the logical and legally secure solution that Bethesda should have approached the situation with.”
This is actually a very measured and legally apropos solution.
Bethesda’s ham-fisted approach to the matter, which consisted of permanently banning the users after footage surfaced of the Gay Eliminators trolling other players by saying they were hunting down all the gays in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. You can check out the video footage of the incident that was re-uploaded by Borgus Borg.
After news spread throughout Left-wing media outlets calling for Bethesda to permanently ban the users, Bethesda responded by kowtowing to the Social Justice Warriors by permanently banning the users, all while completely ignoring consumer laws.
Average Developer points to the European Union directive regarding consumer goods and associated guarantees, which is available over on the Eur-Lex website for perusal, specifically Article 215 sub-section 22, which states…
“Whereas the parties may not, by common consent, restrict or waive the rights granted to consumers, since otherwise the legal protection afforded would be thwarted; whereas this principle should apply also to clauses which imply that the consumer was aware of any lack of conformity of the consumer goods existing at the time the contract was concluded; whereas the protection granted to consumers under this Directive should not be reduced on the grounds that the law of a non-member State has been chosen as being applicable to the contract;”
In other words, just because Bethesda operates out of the U.S., if their breach of consumer contract (i.e., banning someone permanently from the $60 product they purchased, thus rendering the product useless) doesn’t mean that they can’t be held liable to the EU regulation that affects consumers who purchased that product from a member state (i.e., a country within the European Union).
So essentially if Bethesda pulled this move and it affected someone from the EU, they would be held liable for violating the consumer contracts. This isn’t even the first time that they’ve violated EU laws, with the most recent transgression being the violation of GDPR Article 7 regarding forcing users to accept ads from ZeniMax without a choice to opt out during the registration.
As pointed out by the maker of the petition, they don’t support homophobic attacks towards other people, but they also believe Bethesda needs to respect and adhere to the current establishment of consumer laws. That’s not to mention that there are in-game features such as the Report button, the Mute button, and the Block button to distill any perceived harassment or abuse.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can visit the Change.org page.
(Thanks for the news tip Consumer of Eggnog)