There’s a common joke now that each week brings new controversy for Fallout 76. A game that simply cannot or will not catch a break has provided an endless stream of controversial occurrences. To such a degree there is now a conspiracy hypothesis floating around that Bethesda is intentionally tanking the game by making it as bad as possible so that when Starfield comes out people will love it for being an improvement over Fallout 76. Regardless of the validity of that claim today mere days after their last issue the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has ordered Zenimax to issue refunds to those that request one for Fallout 76.
The refund issue was recently covered by YouTuber YongYea.
Two reasons emerged in the ACCC’s statement for the mandate. Primarily the issuance was made because of the reported broken, buggy and often problematic nature of the game from consumers. Unlike the United States Australia’s consumer protection laws have caught up with the digital realm, as such under their laws consumers were owed a refund. Zenimax didn’t agree and went on to lie to consumers regarding their rights to said refund under Australian Law.
““ZeniMax has acknowledged that they are likely to have misled certain Australian consumers about their rights to a refund when they experienced faults with their Fallout 76 game,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.”
The statement would go on to iterate on the protections guaranteed under Australian consumer protection laws and the implied contract that is established upon the formation of a sale through official means.
“When a consumer buys a product it comes with automatic consumer guarantees, and retailers must ensure their refunds and returns policies do not misrepresent what the Australian Consumer Law provides,” Ms Court said.
Zenimax for their part has not contested the mandate and have begun updating their terms of service to properly reflect Australian law in Australia. All in all a rather sad day when a government body has to instruct a corporation to issue refunds over quality control issues, but this does signal the end of the wild west and unrestricted freedom the gaming industry has exploited these past few years.