For a long time, it has been common practice for new games, even ones without release years, to go on sale right after they are announced. We see it all the time during E3, with retailers like Amazon and Walmart using obviously not real placeholder dates and letting customer plunk down money right away. Well, consumer rights laws are growing in prevalence, especially outside of the United States. In fact, a German court ruling may effectively kneecap those vague preorders.
Resale company MediaMarkt was taken to court over delivery delays, and the Munich Regional High Court ruled that vague wording such as “coming soon” is not an acceptable tactic for accepting money from customers. The burden is now on retailers in Germany to specify a date on product listings, and that date must be accurate. Customers will be legally entitled to a full refund if that date isn’t accurate.
This ruling casts a wide net and particularly impacts real estate. But in our little corner of the world, we can immediately make the connection to games like Cyberpunk 2077, which can currently be pre-ordered despite not having a final release date.
Obviously, this won’t bother anyone outside of Germany, but as we’ve seen before, as these consumer rights laws can have a long reach. Countries using them have not only been able to fine international companies, but even win in appeals court! (See Valve recently having to fork over a few million dollars in Australia for not having a refund policy until 2015.) We could also see ripple effects from this ruling as well.
Source: Tech Power Up