Shops tell employees to keep quiet on Nintendo 3DS sick returns

Nintendo may have found itself with another Virtual Boy on its hands, after customers have flocked to forums and back to stores complaining that the new 3DS console is making them sick and dizzy.

The Virtual Boy was Nintendo’s 90s attempt at a 3D console, which it pulled from the shelves as it made consumers ill.

Despite reports that customers are returning their 3DS’ in droves, Nintendo is sticking to its guns. In fact, it seems it has retailers right under its thumb.

A popular chain of game shops in the UK, which we cannot name, admitted to TechEye that staff had been told to keep customers in the dark about the 3DS making people feel dizzy or ill and returning their consoles. The figures paint a different picture – one branch saw 30 3DS returns over a single weekend. Almost half, 14, were a result of people feeling sick.

Maxconsole was flooded with users complaining about the system.

One wrote: “I had a headache for the few couple of minutes (soon went), however my eyes are taking a few minutes to refocus after using it,” while another said: “Got to try out the 3DS today. Really don’t like it. It’s hard to look at and gave me motion sickness and a headache.”

Nintendo does have something to hide however, claiming that seven year olds should not be allowed to play on the device for more than 30 minutes a day.

TechEye contacted Game, which found itself in the middle of a media storm after The Sun reported a customer was not given a full refund after he took the device back in, as it made him feel ill.

Neil Ashurst, head of UK communications at Game told us that it had “fewer than five complaints” through its customer service hotline. He added that none of the Game stores had received any complaints. We find that hard to swallow if an unnamed chain has had 14 returns in a single weekend. 

“We’ve had a demo unit in stores for six weeks prior to launch and they are still there, meaning people can try before they buy,” he said.

However, he said those who had complaints about the 3DS wouldn’t be entitled to a refund. This is because they are not covered under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, which says stores are only required to make a refund if the item is not fit for purpose – ie damaged.

“Our 28 day policy is also for unopened goods bought as presents,” he added.  

“We’re doing the best we can and to help customers we’re able to offer them trade ins. This amounts to £190 in-store credit or £180 cash.”

Others are following suit. One Dixons employee told us: “We ain’t had no issues, if it’s open we can’t refund it, innit.”

HMV is taking the same line, claiming it is not aware of any manufacturing faults with the 3DS console and that is has not issued any refunds for it. But manufacturing isn’t the problem here: consumers unexpectedly sold products that make them feel uncomfortable is.

HMV did say it will offer customers a £200 trade in.

Nintendo said in a statement: “The number of calls and emails with queries on Nintendo 3DS is in fact well below the rate experienced during past hardware launches and having spoken with our retail partners in the UK there are only a handful of people who have actually gone into stores to request a refund.”

*EyeSee Trusted sources have told TechEye that both Nintendo and Game are all too aware of the returns.

*EyeSee II Game has called us in a tizz to tell us that, when talking to TechEye, the spokesperson wasn’t aware of complaints in-store rather than outright denying the complaints.