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Customers refunded for 'not so free' games

Customers refunded for 'not so free' games

Electronic Arts New Zealand Limited has admitted breaching the Fair Trading Act, and has agreed, in a settlement with the Commerce Commission, to reimburse and apologise to nearly 9,000 customers for not disclosing postage and handling costs during a ‘buy one get one free’ promotion.

Electronic Arts admitted breaching the Act during a promotion run in major retail stores nationwide between September 2001 – January 2002, which misled consumers into believing they would get one classic computer game free for every game they purchased.

An additional cost of $5.00 postage and handling was not made known to customers until they had purchased the game, opened the cellophane wrap and read the conditions of the offer on the reverse side of the ‘buy one get one free’ sticker. In addition, the choice of free games was restricted to eight specified titles.

Commerce Commission Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said that consumers should be able to rely on promotional advertising as being accurate and factual.

“Electronic Arts obtained over $40,000 from customers as a result of their ‘free game’ offer. All of that money will now be refunded.

“If you’re going to promote something as free, it must be genuinely free – with no strings attached,” she added.

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