Often, people will buy games on Nintendo eshop only to realize that the game wasn’t what they were hoping for, or make mistaken purchases and get a completely wrong game. That is where the refund request comes in.
Unlike the physical copy, which can be returned in person, these refunds are handled by an algorithm. Here is how to make sure that their algorithm recognizes your refund request as legitimate and approves it.
Nintendo eShop Refund Policy
Widely considered to be one of the more difficult game producers to get a refund from, Nintendo e-shop is very harsh in terms of the cancellation period for its digital content.
The company believes that you should take your time to thoroughly read the terms of service before making each digital purchase and, as such, often doesn’t provide refunds in cases other companies would.
What this means is that you should try to get as much information as possible about any games you buy before you do so.
Thankfully, things such as streamer and blogger game reviews have made this much easier, and the game descriptions provided by the Nintendo e-shop are usually quite extensive as well.
Finally, if you have kids or someone else’s kids who can access your computer, make sure to turn on parental controls on the Nintendo e-shop. The company believes they were put there for a reason and will not accept a refund request made because a child emptied out your credit card on their games.
Getting a Refund on the Nintendo eShop
The first and most important part of making use of the Nintendo refund system is that you have to act fast. You can only return digital game products in the first 48 hours after purchase. Once that time has passed, the cancellation period ends.
Furthermore, the official Nintendo refund policy states that you will not get a refund at all if the purchase was made in digital format.
The exact passage on their website reads:
We are unable to provide refunds or exchanges for mistaken purchases and/or if you don’t like the game. Also, when you purchase digital content in Nintendo eShop, at the time of your purchase, you consent to Nintendo beginning with the performance of its obligations immediately, before the cancellation period ends, and you acknowledge that you will thereby lose your right to cancel at that point.
Another thing to note is that the likelihood of getting a refund can drastically change from country to country, both in the case of physical copies and their online counterparts.
For example, countries with strong consumer rights laws are often pushing back against the Nintendo eshop refund policy as they consider it unfair and not consumer-friendly.
For example, Nintendo eshop states that in the case of pre-ordered, unreleased games, you are entitled to a refund up until the last week before the release of said game and not afterward.
This is against consumer laws in some countries, with the company even coming under a lawsuit in Germany.
There are further examples around the world, with this being the most prominent one. Either way, when looking to get a refund on your game, make sure you are aware of the local laws, as they can provide you with additional arguments depending on where you live.
How to Get a Refund on Nintendo eShop?
Still, all hope is not lost, and customer support will sometimes refund a game purchase even if it was made online. If this is the path you want to take, there are a few important things to know.
You will need to make your call within the first 48 hours from purchase, just as if you bought a physical copy of the game.
Another thing to note is that you need to be calm, collected, and, most importantly, polite to the customer support agent you are talking to. Since they are not officially bound to refund your accidental purchase, you will need to convince them to do so.
In addition, you will need to be thorough in your explanation, providing all the necessary details to the agent you are talking to. Did your child buy a game using your credit card after bypassing parental controls? Did you buy a game you already owned a physical copy of? Tell them that, and try to provide some proof.
Believe it or not, these situations are quite common for a massive video game chain like Nintendo, and it is possible that the same sales agent that you talk to has already had similar issues reported to them in the past.
Finally, you can’t just play the game all day, complete it, and then ask for a refund. If your playtime exceeds a certain number of hours, or the customer support ascertains that you are not asking for a refund in good faith, they can and will deny your request.
This doesn’t mean you cannot try to see if you like the game. Just don’t play it too much. In general, the customer’s experience suggests that unless your playtime exceeds 15 hours, the support agents are likely to issue a refund.
Another form of refund that needs to be discussed, and that Nintendo is a little bit more lenient about, is pre-order cancellation.
The official policy states that the preorder cancellation period ends a week before the official release of a video game, meaning that you can only get your refund before that time. This rule, however, isn’t set in stone, and in some cases, you will be able to get your money back even after that time.
The secret lies, once again, in talking to customer support. While they are not obligated to return your purchase, and the company officially states that they are unable to provide refunds in that last week, this is clearly against the law in some countries.
In all honesty, however, these online purchases are a bit of a legal gray area, with the store forcing you to give up your rights to a refund before you even start downloading the game. Is this allowed? You cannot really be sure.
In this case, we can stress that you have to get as much information as possible when buying anything from Nintendo eshop, as the company is notorious for its decision not to provide refunds or exchanges.
Nintendo eShop Refund Compare to Others
Nintendo is considered to be the least consumer-friendly of all three major console manufacturers. In fact, both Playstation and Xbox online stores have a much better internal policy when it comes to issuing refunds and addressing accidental purchases.
When considering SONY, we will see that, unlike Nintendo, it does offer an official customer support channel to complain to even if they state they are unable to provide refunds on digital games.
This is a step forward compared to Nintendo, a company that doesn’t even consider allowing a refund on their games.
However, Microsoft’s XBOX store takes the crown in this category, with its refund policy being fairer to consumers than SONY offers.
It openly states which criteria influence the likelihood that you will get a refund. Things such as playtime, time passed since the purchase of said digital content, and time since the product was released all, have an impact.
This transparency makes XBOX much more reliable than Nintendo’s shady customer support rules, so we must give them credit for that.
How to avoid buying the broken or wrong game?
With Nintendo shop’s refund policy being the way it is, making sure that you know what you are buying is far more important than usual.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to ensure that your digital game works while also avoiding having to pay for it in advance. Here are some of the more important steps:
Do your research
There is a lot of information to be found online on any up-and-coming video game and even more on those that have already been released for a while. You can do research of your own and learn a lot about the game before making any purchasing decisions, thus greatly reducing the chances of needing a refund.
Places such as blogs, game critique websites, twitch and youtube, and even wikis can be a great source of accurate and reliable information about the game.
If the company offers no refunds on digital products as Nintendo does, these sources of information are a genuine lifesaver.
Use online trial
Some great games for streaming will have an online trial version available before you purchase them. Playing this online trial doesn’t force you to buy the game afterward and is a good way to see if the gameplay and graphics are interesting to you.
It is also a good way to avoid making mistaken purchases on Nintendo eshop and thus preventing the entire refund hassle altogether.
In addition to playing an online trial, some games will have a free, downloadable demo that you can try out. This is also great for the same reasons as the version above. The only real difference is that it will take you some time to download the game before you can try it out.
Alternatively, you can ask your friends that have already bought and played the game for their opinion or even try the game out on their devices. This is an excellent way to judge the product firsthand, without all the limitations the demo version may impose on you.
Buy the game
Finally, once you have done your research and tried any free versions available, the time has come to purchase the game. Hopefully, you will be familiar enough with it not to desire a refund.
Nintendo eshop is quite difficult to get a refund from, featuring some policies that make little sense and aren’t very consumer friendly. Thus, you need to take careful steps before purchasing any games from the company and make sure to contact customer support as soon as possible in case of any issues.
Why can’t you refund Switch games?
Nintendo eShop refund policy does not allow for refunding switch games, which makes it quite a bit less impressive than others.
Can you return open Nintendo Switch games?
Unfortunately, no, there is no way to return a switch game that you already opened, at least according to the company policy. But you might have more luck when appealing to customer support.
Can you return digital games?
Depending on the publisher, the chances of getting a refund on a digital game can go quite high or become nearly nonexistent. With Nintendo, it is more of the latter, as the company claims that all sales are final.
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