No More Paying for Products That Can Be Indefinitely Delayed
A new ruling by the Munich Higher Regional Court, abbr. OLG (Oberlandesgericht München) has outlawed vague release dates for in marketing for items made available for pre-order. Specifically, entrepreneurs have been barred from using generalizations like “coming soon” or “shipping soon.”
A litigant recently took German company Mediamarkt to task over excessive delays on pre-orders. Reported on Techpowerup, the company product made available for pre-order was a Samsung Galaxy S6. Listed back in August 2016, the product page promised eventual delivery but failed to present consumers with a specific release date. As such, Oberlandesgericht München has ruled that the implementation of pre-orders without a final release date threshold is against the law.
Translation of the new German law was made available on Reddit via Lksaar. Seeing as I don’t know enough German to confirm the full validity of this translation, you’re welcome to take it with a grain of salt. The relevant excerpts read as follows:
§ 312 Duty to provide information
(1) 1In the case of contracts concluded outside business premises and distance contracts, the entrepreneur is obliged to inform the consumer in accordance to Article 246a of the Introductory Act to the German Civil Code. 2The information provided by the Contractor in fulfillment of this obligation shall become part of the contract, unless the contracting parties have expressly agreed otherwise.
§1 Duty to provide information
(1) According to § 312d paragraph 1 of the German Civil Code, the entrepreneur is obliged to provide the consumer with the following information:
7. the terms of payment, delivery and service, the date by which the entrepreneur must deliver the goods or service and, where appropriate, the procedure followed by the entrepreneur to deal with complaints,
Due to the ongoing exodus to purely digital retail, pre-orders have become part everyday transactions. Businesses now pivot on the demand for products before they even arrive; it’s why they attempt to secure pre-emptive sales, and the method has become especially rampant in the gaming industry. Fallout 76, for example, became available for pre-order before we caught word of a release date. For the first time, however, a country is decisively moving against the grain. This begs the question, will nations like the US follow Germany’s lead and break the “coming soon” tag?
For some perspective, if we had these newly implemented laws, then Crackdown 3 would have already been released or canceled after the 3rd (if not 2nd) delay. Which begs the question: will this court ruling from across the sea generate enough ripples to impact how game publishers market their products? Could we see more games announced closer to their intended release dates?
What are your thoughts? Comment down below.