Home Gaming EA forced to give refunds down under – but what about South Africa?

EA forced to give refunds down under – but what about South Africa?

3 min read


It’s tricky to get refunds on games you’ve bought – whether at retail or through digital distribution. It’s especially tricky when the store you’ve bought it from doesn’t provide a method for refund. EA’s Origin doesn’t. At least everywhere other than Australia. They’ve been forced to change their policies by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

“Businesses such as EA selling digitally downloadable goods cannot avoid their responsibilities under the Australian Consumer Law just because they are located outside of Australia,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said 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,” he added.

EA issued its own statement, which says:

“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.”

Could this happen for those of us here in South Africa? We have a Consumer Protection act that’s fairly strict, and should make provisions for refunds on games that don’t work.

Here’s EA’s terms of sale regarding South Africans.

“Residents in South Africa have the right to withdraw from their purchase within 14 days from the date of conclusion of the purchase process.  Please note that you will lose your right of withdrawal once we have sent you a purchase confirmation email, either with a digital download code enabling you access to the EA Content, or confirming your Account has been directly entitled.”

Essentially, all that means is that you’re allowed to cancel you pre-orders. Once you’ve got a download code, or have initiated the download process you lose your right to withdraw the sale. That very much contravenes our Consumer Protection Act, which says that:

  • Consumers have the right to return unsafe or defective goods and request a full refund for such goods, provided this is done within a reasonable period.
  • Consumers have the right to return goods that were not pre-examined prior to delivery.

According to Blackslash, “goods” includes: “Any literature, music, photographs, films, games, information, data, software, codes or other intangible goods or a licence to use the product (a software licence).”

However, there’s a bit of a caveat here, and it could be how EA’s getting around adhering to the CPA. According to the act, it covers:

  • Every transaction occurring within the Republic of South Africa;
  • Promotion or supply of any goods and services occurring within the Republic; and
  • Goods or services that are supplied or performed, in the Republic, in terms of transactions mentioned in the Act

Now while your Origin purchases do occur with your bum on a chair within South Africa, it could be reasonably argued that the digital transaction happens on a server overseas. When you buy from Origin, the seller, according to the invoice that gets mailed is:

EA Swiss Sàrl, 8 place du Molard, 1204 Geneva, Switzerland. Registered in the Geneva Companies Registry with Company Registered Number: CH-660-2328005-8.

I don’t know, or understand South African consumer law well enough, but to my mind I think we should be able to wrangle refunds much in the same way that the Australians have.

Last Updated: April 28, 2015


  1. Admiral Chief

    April 28, 2015 at 13:09

    “forced to give refunds down under”


    • Lord Chaos

      April 28, 2015 at 13:18

      Bad service?


  2. Blood Emperor Trevor

    April 28, 2015 at 13:10

    That’s interesting. So why does Origin show prices in Rand when it should be in Swiss Francs, I’m buying from Switzerland apparently.

    Obviously that’s a hypothetical purchase, I don’t buy EA games.


    • Admiral Chief

      April 28, 2015 at 13:16

      I’ve bought EA games before….when they were free.

      I haven’t installed any though :/

      Oh, did play BF3 and that free BF4 week though


  3. Hammersteyn

    April 28, 2015 at 13:19

    EA having to give refunds means they damn well make sure their games release in working condition and their servers are ready for the day one rush, else they could lose a lot of money. No more patching it later and “we’re looking into to it” excuses.


  4. Kromas,powered by windows 10.

    April 28, 2015 at 13:32

    What is this? For every Steam hate article there must be an EA one?

    Let us not forget Steam has a worse refund policy.
    Goes a little something like this.

    You are entitled to 1 steam refund. That’s it fienies en kla!


    • Mossel

      April 28, 2015 at 14:30

      It’s Newton’s second law of Internet Rants.
      For every Steam hate article there must be an equal and opposite EA hate article.
      Read a book dammit. xD


  5. Dutch Matrix

    April 28, 2015 at 13:41

    You know what both Steam and EA should bring back? The damn demo. Simple as that. Case in point: I wasn’t sure if Mass Effect 3 would run on my PC. I found a demo on origin, downloaded, and played.
    It ran. Great. Sale made.
    If not, then no harm no foul. Uninstall and upgrade PC.


  6. Kensei Seraph

    April 28, 2015 at 14:22

    If this worked you could by a Battlefield game, finish the singleplayer campaign and then return it for a full refund.


  7. Michael

    April 28, 2015 at 15:01

    Wasn’t titanfall withheld because of the CPA?


  8. string_slinger

    April 28, 2015 at 16:21

    We’re paying VAT, which means the transaction can very easily be legally argued as local. I am all for game publishers being held accountable for crap release quality. A publisher is no different to a distributor of physical merchadise getting held accountable for warranty issues. I’m getting very tired of paying for broken software… (look at YOU Ubisoft)


  9. Wyzak

    April 28, 2015 at 20:03

    Good luck getting hold of the CPA. They only exist on paper.

    Besides “within a reasonable period” – For EA that is 0 seconds.


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