EA alters Origin refund policy in Australia

EA Great Game Guarantee

EA has changed its Origin refund policy in Australia, after the ACCC (the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) made it clear its old one was breaking Australian consumer law. Origin's refund policy was already relatively generous, compared to Steam's at least, but if you've bought games on Origin from January 2012 onwards—and you live in Australia—you can now ask for a refund at any time, should those games turn out to be "faulty".

EA is in the process of setting up an 1800 phone number to deal with its new refund system, but in the meantime, your best bet is to hit up the Aussie Origin store if you're entitled to your money back.

Here's ACCC chairman Rod Sims detailing the commission's complaints with EA in a statement:

"It is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law for businesses to state that customers are not entitled to refunds under any circumstances. Where a product has a major failure, consumers can insist on a refund or replacement at their choice. Representations that this right has or can be excluded, restricted or modified are false or misleading."

And here's EA's statement on the matter, made to Kotaku:

"We’re pleased to have worked cooperatively with the ACCC to resolve the ACCC’s concerns and ensure our players in Australia have the best possible experience when purchasing and playing EA games. In addition to rights available to our players under the Australian Consumer Law, we are also proud to offer our global, industry-leading Great Game Guarantee that allows for digital returns within certain timeframes if anyone is not satisfied with a digitally-downloaded game from EA. (see: https://www.origin.com/en-au/great-game-guarantee for further details).”

As Kotaku points out, the ACCC is currently involved in litigation with Valve over precisely the same issue, although that case hasn't reached a conclusion yet. Hopefully, in a few years, the restrictive and consumer-unfriendly refund policies currently employed by many digital game stores will be a thing of the past—this seems like a good step forward.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.