If we threaten or harass Nintendo staff in Japan, they may deny our warranty rights…
Nintendo’s domestic branch has introduced a new policy that may seem anti-consumer initially, but not if you look at both sides of the coin. If the owner of a faulty product (e.g., a Joy-Con controller) behaves in a harassing way, the big N may refuse to repair it! Kyodo News reported it: Nintendo changed the policy in October with this explanation:
“When inquiring about a repaired product, please refrain from using any actions (including but not limited to those listed below) that go beyond what is socially acceptable to fulfill your request. If we deem any of these actions to occur, we may refuse to replace or repair the product. Furthermore, if the Company deems the conduct malicious, it will contact the police, a lawyer, etc., and take the appropriate action.”
These are the reasons listed by Nintendo when it may refuse to repair: “intimidation or threats, insulting or denigrating remarks, invasion of privacy, excessive demands, such as for a free repair when the warranty has expired, demanding an apology from Nintendo or its staff without reasonable cause, excessively repeating the same request or complaint, defamatory comments on social networks or websites.” Sounds logical.
A Nintendo public relations official told Kyodo News, “We decided after concluding our customers would understand because of the reputation we have built of faithfully responding to them.” According to Kyodo News, there is no law against customers harassing staff in Japan, but several companies have incorporated some anti-harassment policies into their terms of service. Incidentally, Nintendo’s move has been praised by an official from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, who said it was a strong move by the big N. Hiromi Ikeuchi, professor of social psychology at Kansai University, added: “In recent years, posts on social media have made visible the harassment various industries are exposed to, and consumer attitudes are also changing. As a result, Nintendo has successfully kept up with the times by deciding that society was ready to accept.”