A B.C. woman who bought a second-hand Nintendo Switch for her kids has been granted a partial refund after discovering the device was banned from online services days after the purchase.
Nicole Jones took her case to the province’s small claims court, which ordered seller Jaime Macdonald to return half of the $380 she paid for the gaming console.
Jones told the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal she bought the device through Facebook Marketplace back on March 18, and that her young children were able to use it for about two months without any major issues – until they tried to go online.
That’s when the mother contacted Nintendo and learned the console had been given a lifetime ban from online services as of March 26, eight days after she took it home.
Jones said a Nintendo representative told her bans are typically handed out for things like piracy, hacking and other intentional tampering. She said the representative also told her it can take several weeks for Nintendo to detect and investigate unauthorized activity before a ban is imposed.
The company did not provide further details about what prompted the ban or when it might have happened, and tribunal member Rama Sood noted that Jones’s recollection of her conversation with Nintendo was hearsay.
However, given the timeframe of when the problems arose, Sood still determined the Switch could be considered “not durable” when Jones bought it, breaching an implied warranty under B.C.’s Sale of Goods Act.
Sood also noted that Jones’s children – who are six and nine years old – were unlikely to have caused the issue with the console.
“Ms. Jones did not have knowledge of gaming systems and I find it unlikely that either her or her young children had the sophistication to use the gaming system for unauthorized or fraudulent activities that would lead to a ban,” the tribunal member wrote in her Dec. 21 decision.
Macdonald argued the system was working when he sold it, and that he proved as much by testing it for Jones before the purchase. He also noted that despite the ban, the system can still be used for offline games.
Jones told the tribunal she was promised the console was in “like new” condition, and that it was “essentially worthless” because the software can’t be updated, games can’t be played online and save files can’t be stored on Nintendo’s cloud.
Sood accepted the Switch still functions in a limited capacity, however, and only granted the mom 50 per cent of the purchase price, plus $87.50 in Civil Resolution Tribunal fees and $1.39 in interest.