The Korea Consumer Agency, a South Korean regulatory body, has reportedly called the Pokemon GO refund system anti-consumer. Although it’s not yet in the game, the refund system would allow Pokemon GO players to refund PokeCoins and item purchases, but with significant limitations. The KCA has reviewed the limitations of the refund system, along with the terms of service players have to agree to alongside the system, and believes changes are necessary.
The KSA finds several specific issues unfavorable. For instance, Niantic limits refunds to within seven days after making an in-game cash purchase. Also, refunds can only be done if a user has only used less than 10% of their purchase in-game. But the most concerning of the rules is that Niantic retains the right to ban users at their discretion based on refund usage. All of these decisions empower Niantic to limit refunds while making the process more difficult, if not impossible, for consumers.
As seems typical in this day and age, Pokemon GO‘s terms of service are filled with language that make it difficult to hold Niantic accountable. They reportedly contain language that doesn’t guarantee the quality of the content, implying there is no guarantee that the things players do in-game will reliably work the way they’re intended. And of course Niantic’s terms protect the company for any accidents involving property damage or negligence, too.
The KCA is likely unable to force any changes but, like the Better Business Bureau in the United States, just applying pressure can lead to dramatic changes. Here are the KCA’s comments on the issue:
“The terms are excessively undermining normal use of the service and are even restraining consumers’ cooling-off rights. We will recommend the provider of Pokemon Go to reform the terms that are unfavorable for users. We also plan to discuss the issue with our U.S. counterpart, the Better Business Bureau, if necessary.”
Pokemon GO has driven many users to pursue refunds, due to the games popularity mixed with online systems that can make microtransactions not work as intended. Users have often gone through Apple or Google’s payment systems to request refunds, but an in-game option has always been preferable. Odds are if this new in-game system doesn’t live up to expectations, then people will continue using the old methods. There’s always the risk of being banned from a Pokemon GO account by doing that, but hopefully there will be an appeal system.
Pokemon GO is available now on iOS and Android devices.
Source: Korea Times