Hey Lifehacker, I’m running Batman: Arkham City on my Mac via Steam. On 21 December, it started crashing on launch every time I opened it. I emailed WB Games for support and didn’t receive a reply until 8 January, when I received some canned advice designed for Windows users. I emailed them to reiterate that the advice wasn’t relevant to Mac users, and received a reply this week that said “Sorry, we can’t help you because we don’t do Mac support”. Do I have any rights in this situation?
I replied asking what WB Games intended to do for me because they had wasted so much of my time and they responded that they were ending correspondence. Any advice? Thanks, Hugo Strange Behaviour
If WB Games wants to sell you a version of software designed specifically for Mac, it has to be willing to support it. Under Australian consumer law, products must be fit for purpose. Selling a Mac version unarguably suggests that you should be able to run the product, and that support should be offered if it doesn’t work.
Many software licences include sneaky and lengthy language to the effect that there is no guarantee that the product will work under a particular set of circumstances. However, those clauses can’t be used to override your basic consumer rights.
If WB Games isn’t willing to support the game, then you can ask for a refund. As we’ve explained before, you’re entitled to a refund if the product has a problem so pronounced that you would not have purchased it had you been aware of this. Mac software that doesn’t actually run on a Mac seems like an unarguable example of that kind of problem.
So what can you do? Since you purchased the game through Steam, that’s the channel you need to use to ask for your money back. Steam claims to have a no refund policy, but your rights as an Australian consumer can’t be overridden by such a clause if Steam wants to sell to Australians (Apple has also been forced to recognise this in similar circumstances). So hit Steam’s own support system and explain your issue. If you can’t get a satisfactory response, follow up with the relevant consumer affairs body in your state.
When you compose that initial email, stay courteous and stick to the issue at hand: you have been sold software that does not work, and you are entitled to a refund under Australian consumer law because of this. The fact that your time has been wasted, while annoying, isn’t relevant here.
Incidentally, had you been running a Windows game in Boot Camp or Parallels on your Mac and it hadn’t worked, it would be a much tougher case to argue. But as that’s not the situation here, I’d absolutely be pushing for a refund. Good luck!
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