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The reality of the unreal or the buyer is always wrong

In March 2010, an invitation to the conference “The evolution of legislation in the field of software quality” came to the list. The keynote speaker was Cem Kaner, JD (LL.D.), PhD, professor at Florida Institute of Technology, in general, a serious comrade. And theses were also very attractive (I quote in my translation):
- why software manufacturers do not have obligations comparable to manufacturers of other products;
- how, from the point of view of the law, software services should be interpreted ( namely, services, not software — my note );
- legality of restriction of rights to reverse engineering.

Etc. Very interesting was supposed to be a conference. Unfortunately, I did not hit her.

In the light of some recent events, I wanted to speculate on the first paragraph of the plan. So, “Why software vendors have no obligations comparable to manufacturers of other products?”.

Let's start with double recognition. My wife is an Amazon addict, and I, in turn, is a Steam addict. She can spend hours choosing some gift on Amazon - comparing descriptions, reading customer reviews, etc. I can spend about the same amount of time looking for ancient computer games and nostalgically reviewing screenshots of 640x480. Not that we buy a lot, no, but the selection process is delaying. In this aspect, both Amazon, and Steam and many other online trading services are very addictive: A lot of Products. Symptoms are the same as those of a book lover who went to Waterstone's huge six-story bookstore in London. But! It turns out serious differences between the same Amazon and Steam, as soon as it comes to shopping.

Most of the items purchased on Amazon can be returned (or replaced) if you suddenly did not like them, did not fit, or if you suddenly regretted the money spent on this nonsense. Pack and ship within 30 days, even shipping will probably not be worth anything. Very comfortable, is not it. And this is by no means a praise ode exclusively to Amazon, most online and “regular” stores provide the same features. Even a mattress on which you find it uncomfortable to sleep, you can return within a month.

Everything is completely different in Steam. The only way to refuse the purchase is to cancel the pre-order before the game is released. In all other cases, the money already spent cannot be returned in any way.

And this is very strange and, at the same time, very bad for two reasons.

First, it is unclear how the game differs from the same mattress. Both that, and that - the goods. A product that may not be suitable / not like / not satisfied with the quality. Moreover, in the case of a mattress, the return process is definitely more difficult, and the prospects for reselling a mattress on which we slept for 29 days (of the permissible 30 for “try”) are doubtful.

Secondly, by refusing to buyers the opportunity to refuse the goods and demand their money back, we lose an effective feedback mechanism. Imagine that Toyota would have the opportunity to abandon the exchange of defective cars with a retreating gas pedal. Or Nokia with their exploding batteries - "it is already tied to your account, we can not do anything." The situation is absurd, but in Steam is in the order of things.

A recent example: Civilization V came out monstrously buggy, and with AI at the level of an underdeveloped baby. The howl on the specialized forums is worth it yet; Judging by polls, more than half of the visitors are unhappy with the game. However, players do not have the opportunity to return the game, and, thus, show their attitude to the release of low-quality product. The question is why? The answer is because it is not profitable for the publisher. But wait, after all, the return of shoes purchased on Amazon that did not fit in size is not beneficial to Amazon - you need to at least pay for shipping in both directions. What is the difference between two goods, one of which can be returned or exchanged, and the second is not?

I do not see this difference. I see only the difference in attitude towards the buyer. Instead of the usual “buyer is always right,” we get a diametrically opposite.

What is typical when it comes to piracy, the defenders of the rights of publishers equate the “virtual” goods (in our case - the game) and the “real” goods (read - shoes or mattresses). But as soon as it comes to the return of money, five gigabytes of garbage on the disk are much more weighty than the same shoes. No guarantee of quality, and do not even dare to be dissatisfied.

What the hell is asked?

I would love to know what Professor Cem Kaner from Florida Tech thinks about this. It is possible that I will even write him a letter if I find the address. I am almost sure that the current state of affairs does not only concern me.

I also wonder how things are with other software and other online services. The fact that there is no guarantee is a given, I believe, everywhere. But what about the refund? For example, Microsoft, not by the night it will be remembered, allows for the return of its products within 45 days . With a lot of reservations and restrictions, but still a chance to get back the money for, say, Windows is available. I do not know how real it is, so far I have not had to try this mechanism in practice.

It will be necessary to delve into it somehow at your leisure.
Best regards, save your money.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/105132/

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