The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) have announced that ZeniMax Media (parent company to Bethesda Softworks) will issue refunds to certain Australian customers.
For those unfamiliar, Fallout 76 has been plagued with issues both in-game and in real life. While Bethesda Director and Executive Producer Todd Howard stated he “knew we were gonna have a lot of bumps,” the issues have been numerous and serious.
When the game was launched, it was discovered to be heavily buggy (as documented by Internet Historian and Joseph Anderson Editor’s Note: Niche Gamer is not affiliated with either of these YouTube accounts, nor it support any allegations made in these videos). This resulted in extremely low reviewer and user scores.
Once details of how to get a refund even after playing the game for 24-hours became wide-spread, Bethesda stopped issuing refunds. This resulted in a lawsuit investigation from Migliaccio & Rathod LLP, over Bethesda “releasing a heavily-glitched game, Fallout 76, and refusing to issue refunds for PC purchasers of the game who found it to be unplayable because of its technical problems.”
While the case in the US is still underway, the ACCC have concluded their own, with ZeniMax found to be at fault.
“The ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from three related video gaming companies after they acknowledged they were likely to have misled consumers about their consumer guarantee rights in relation to the online action game Fallout 76.
The companies, ZeniMax Media Inc, ZeniMax Europe Limited and ZeniMax Australia Pty Ltd (together, ZeniMax), accepted that their actions were likely to have contravened the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
The ACCC received complaints that ZeniMax representatives told consumers that they were not entitled to a refund after they had experienced a variety of faults with the Fallout 76 game, including, in some cases, problems with the servers, lagging, graphic and visual problems.”
Those in Australia who requested a refund from ZeniMax between November 24th 2018 and June 1st 2019 will now receive one, should they had not received one already. Once this is done, consumers “will no longer be entitled to access and play the game.” The statement did not specify if those who contacted Bethesda would be eligible or not. We have reached out to the ACCC for clarity.
The statement also claims ZeniMax “has also undertaken to amend its customer service documents and scripts to address the ACCC’s concerns about misrepresentation of the consumer guarantee rights under the ACL.”
“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,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said, “When a consumer has purchased a product that has a fault which amounts to a major failure, the Australian Consumer Law provides them with the right to ask for their choice of either a repair, replacement or refund.”