It's more than fair to say that Fallout 76 has hit quite a few significant bumps on the road ever since it released last year: the post-apocalyptic online RPG has struggled with bugs, controversy, and large-scale griefing. As a result, many consumers who played the game attempted to get refunds, with Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax turning many of them down.
Today, however, consumers in Australia have won a big victory in getting their money back: the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking on behalf of Australian Fallout 76 players who want a refund.
According to the ACCC, the commission received ample complaints from Australian consumers who were turned down for refunds after purchasing Fallout 76, with many having been turned off from the title due to lag, server issues, and graphical errors. With the ACCC now stepping in to force Australian Consumer Law, ZeniMax has now agreed to reach out to consumers who contacted them to request refunds throughout November 24, 2018 and June 1, 2019 and offer them their money back, albeit very belatedly.
A statement from ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court defined the problems encountered in Fallout 76 by these consumers as a 'major failure', which grants them a legal right for a refund.
ZeniMax has acknowledged that they are likely to have misled certain Australian consumers about their rights to a refund when they experienced faults with their Fallout 76 game. When a consumer buys a product it comes with automatic consumer guarantees, and retailers must ensure their refunds and returns policies do not misrepresent what the Australian Consumer Law provide. When a consumer has purchased a product that has a fault which amounts to a major failure, the Australian Consumer Law provides them with the right to ask for their choice of either a repair, replacement or refund.
While not every country has such consumer protections, it's good to see that some players left miffed by Fallout 76 will be entitled to their money back. Of course, once the refund is processed they will lose access to the game itself, though one imagines those who requested a refund likely haven't been too active with the post-apocalyptic RPG.
Bethesda Softworks has recently found itself in more hot water regarding a new paid subscription in Fallout 76 called Fallout 1st, which provides pay-only access to features that the majority of fans have been requesting for some time. Even still, some Fallout 1st features have encountered bugs, with those who have subscribed to the service finding themselves being griefed by non-subscription players in what has developed into a class war of sorts.
Suffice to say, the drama surrounding Fallout 76 is far from over. For now, at least consumers in Australia who attempted to get a refund for the game between November 24, 2018 and June 1, 2019 will be entitled to get their money back. There was no deadline mentioned for when ZeniMax must reach out to these consumers by.
Fallout 76 is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.