Germany has banned vague release dates for pre-orders.
It means shops can’t offer pre-orders with phrases such as “coming soon” or “available soon” any more. Instead, they must indicate the latest date by which the product will be delivered – or not offer a pre-order.
A consumer protection group raised the issue with the German courts, which issued the ruling, according to Heise (and verified by our friends at Eurogamer.de).
Customers should know when they can expect a delivery after a pre-order, the Higher Regional Court of Munich said.
The ruling came about after a consumer protection claim was made against German retailer Media Markt over the pre-order offer for a smartphone Samsung Galaxy S6 in August 2016. But the ruling applies to all products, including video games.
“When consumers order goods on the internet, providers must specify by when the goods are delivered,” said Wolfgang Schuldzinski, CEO of Düsseldorf Consumer.
In the UK, no such law exists, so shops are able to offer pre-orders with vague release dates or none at all.