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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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If I cant sell something and then take it back with no explanation

Resolved Question:

If I cant sell something and then take it back with no explanation nor justification, how can companies like "Steam" and EA's "Origin" sell games to people in the UK and simply because they cant fix their own product block access to the product that the customer has purchased with no comeback?
For example, Electronic Arts are a US company selling product internationally which is available to download online. They are notorious, consistently rated as America's worst company for customer service and even failing to deliver a product once purchased.
If I went into a store and purchased a product on DVD or CD in the UK. They are obliged to refund me if they don't provide it. Yet, Steam and EA don't have to. This has killed UK businesses. Steam in particular sell products which go beyond that, to the point where they use advertising which in no way resembles the product.
It seems to me that consumer protection in the EU is non existent but the UK did used to have trading standards and other organisations which prevented outright immorality and enforced the sale of goods act. How do these companies get away with it, not once but in thousands of cases constantly?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : I do not quite understand, are you a retailer and have products you are unable to do anything with ?
Customer:

I am a member of the public. I am trying to understand why companies in the EU which have a physical presence have to abide by the sale of goods act and statutory obligations to refund a purchase if the purchase is either not as described or undeliverable by the vendor and these 2 large corporations can get away with telling consumers they have no right to request a refund and that they have no obligations as a vendor.

Instead, if some software you download from them doesn't work, they tell you to speak to the people developing it. Of course, you purchased it from the distributor not the developer so they have no obligation to speak to you at all and often do nothing while the people you actually purchased it from "Steam, EA" shirk responsibility.

Customer:

The claim that the act of downloading the software means you have no rights associated. So whether it works or not is irrelevant. They routinely mis sell and use false advertising to sell a product (showing screen shots and video which are not related to the final user experience when the game or software is launched).

Customer:

Somehow, it seems that legislators / consumer action groups do not know what to do with this sector. Yet it is worth billions. So my question is. Do the same rights apply to me as a British Citizen purchasing in the UK as they would if I were to walk into a store to purchase the same product. These companies have actually destroyed many large UK software retailers through these sharp practises with several going bust over the last couple of years. How do they get away with it?

Alex Watts : Ok, but have you tried to pursue a refund? What is the value here?
Customer:

In this case the value is small say, 100 Euros however, over the course of many cases on many accounts. In my case 1000 of Euros and more broadly many millions of dollars.

Alex Watts :

Are they based in the UK or EU?

Customer:

The distributor categorically refuse to refund any purchase. They claim that the act of downloading the software purchased means they have no statutory obligations nor accountability.

Customer:

They are US but are also registered in the EU (Luxembourg).

Alex Watts :

ok

Alex Watts :

How did you pay?

Customer:

Oh, hi. Your working late. Sorry. I did not expect a real time answer.

Customer:

VISA

Alex Watts :

Yes it is late but watching Arrow!

Alex Watts :

credit or debit card?

Customer:

Haha. Ok. I use both on these sites. Debit and Visa. You basically register your card with them.

Customer:

The 2 major platforms are as follows

Customer:

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA)

Alex Watts :

Ok, credit card you are ok.

Customer:

14.8 bn market cap

Alex Watts :

If its credit card you can charge back

Customer:

They ban you and close your account if you do that.

Customer:

You basically loose access to all the other software you own.

Alex Watts :

No matter they are bound by the Sale of Goods Act in the UK, goods must be fit for purpose as described and of suitable quality

Alex Watts :

So you can ask Visa credit to refund you on that baiss

Customer:

Ok. I thought that too but they totally ignore it.

Customer:

I have even quoted paragraphs from it. They respond with comments that their terms and conditions expressly state that the act of download the software be it game, application or other means acceptance.

Customer:

Some of the music software can costs 1000's of Euros.

Customer:

My account is probably worth several thousand over the years so getting banned would be pain.

Customer:

I have argued that the act of downloading is equivalent to the act of picking up a DVD from a retail shop. As its the same thing. You cant know if its of suitable quality or even if it has anything on it until you have it and try to use it.

Alex Watts :

Ok, so the only option is Court

Alex Watts :

You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.



If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.



The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.



If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation.



Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Am I missing something? Can they simply over ride Statutory rights and Sale of Good laws by putting this in terms and conditions?

Customer:

I think your saying no. I take your point. Thank you very much for your help. I feel a bit more confident about my next steps now. Much obliged.

Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you