An invalid serial number rendered the game unplayable, but recent rulings says that there is no transfer of property with software, therefore no exchange of goods
D2D said it couldn’t help as the code was provided by EA. I have had no reply from EA and D2D refuses to give me a refund saying it’s EA’s fault.
The fault may originally lie with EA for providing the wrong licence key to Direct2Drive (D2D) but Mr Winn’s contract is with D2D. This means it is this retailer’s responsibility to provide Mr Winn with the correct licence key.
However, software is not considered ‘tangible goods’, so consumer protection tends to be patchy. We have been looking at ways Mr Winn could use the Sale of Goods Act; he could argue that the goods are not fit for purpose because a legitimate licence key has not been included.
However, a recent court case could invalidate this argument. The High Court of England and Wales recently decided that because there was no ‘transfer’ of property regarding software if it was only licensed to the user, there was no sale of a good.
Therefore the judges ruled the SoG would not apply. It is unfair that consumers have so little redress when they have problems with software.
We have contacted D2D by email and the company has now asked us to provide more details. As soon as we hear back we will update readers on the outcome.
We contacted D2D by email asking it to get in touch with us about this matter and the company said: “He purchased two games from us and reached out for activation assistance. For one of the games, we were able to provide direct assistance. For the other, it required activation assistance directly from the publisher. We reached out to the customer this morning and contacted the publisher's support as well to confirm resolution.”
However, when we contacted Mr Winn again to make sure everything was resolved he said the new key he had been given also didn’t work. We got back to D2D and it has now refunded Mr Winn his money for the game.
D2D acted very promptly when we contacted it and was extremely helpful but this shows the problems people have when buying downloads. Consumer protection is very limited and a recent case in the High Court showed the legal difficulties people are faced with.
The High Court of England and Wales recently decided that because there was no ‘transfer’ of property regarding software if it was only licensed, it wasn’t a sale of a good. Therefore the judges ruled the Sale of Goods Act would not apply.
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