KCA Labels Pokemon GO Refund System As Being Anti-Consumer

Niantic’s refund system for its popular mobile game Pokemon GO is facing regulatory hurdles in South Korea over its supposedly unfavorable terms of use. The Korea Consumer Agency has criticized the Poke Coin refund system as the regulator believes the conditions stipulated in it put users at a great disadvantage and provide the developer an unfair immunity to any liability. More specifically, the KCA describes the refund condition as unfavorable compared to other online games in the country as they allow for deductions even after almost ten percent of the purchased digital currency has been spent. On the other hand, Poke Coin’s terms and conditions allow refunds for in-game cash only when users request it within seven days after making the purchase, provided that the purchased items have not been used at all. The KCA is now looking to have Niantic change those rules by arguing that they violate a number of basic consumer rights.

The regulator also criticized the terms and conditions associated with Pokemon GO, which give Niantic the absolute authority to block a user’s access to the game. Once blocked, the user may no longer apply for a refund of any kind. The game also lacks a system for soliciting or even accepting complaints from its millions of players and the KCA believes all these unfair conditions negatively affect the regular use of the service, in addition to being anti-consumer. The agency plans to take the issue to the U.S. where it's seeking to hold a discussion with both Niantic and possibly the Better Business Bureau in a bid to have the game’s policies reformed.

Despite not maintaining the popularity that it reached last summer, Pokemon GO remains one of the most played mobile games in the world that's still generating millions of dollars in revenue on a monthly basis and continues to engage gamers from all over the world. The augmented reality (AR) title recently received a major content update and an overhauled Gym system that's meant to be more compelling than its predecessor, with Niantic promising that more similar additions are in the works and will debut shortly.

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