how Nintendo punishes aggressive customers


Faced with incivility against its employees, Nintendo took a radical decision. In Japan, to protect its after-sales service teams, the Japanese company gives them permission to deny repair requests of the Nintendo Switch console in all its forms (OLED, Lite etc.). In Japan, this console sells 300,000 copies per month. It now exceeds 100 million units sold worldwide.

Nintendo details the reasons for this new policy on its Japanese Twitter account. Faced with virulent, aggressive, insistent or impolite customers, employees may refuse to serve them.

This decision follows numerous incivilities suffered by Nintendo employees in the Land of the Rising Sun. They reportedly suffered verbal and even physical violence in certain situations.

“We made this decision after concluding that our customers would understand it thanks to the bad reputation that we have for responding in good faith to their requests” explains Nintendo to the Japanese media Kyodo News. Is right. Barely announced, this measure was immediately welcomed on social networks, yet the scene of harassment against employees of the company’s after-sales service.

The Japanese Ministry of Health (and Labor) also welcomed Nintendo’s decision. Experts, including Hiromi Ikeuchi, professor of social psychology at Kansai University, believe that this change will even bring social transformation if it were to become generalized to other companies.

Indeed, Hiromi Ikeuchi explains that “In recent years, social media posts have made visible the growing harassment of employees across all industries”.

And in France ?

Can such measures apply in France? From a legal point of view, yes. If the law provides for a two-year warranty obliging distributors to repair defective products, the provision of services is not without conditions.

Indeed, according to the code L. 121-11 paragraph 4 of the consumer code, “It is prohibited to refuse to a consumer the sale of a product or the provision of a service”. This same article indicates that a professional can derogate from the principle of prohibition if he has a “legitimate reason”.

Thereby, “the insulting behavior or rudeness of the consumer (CA Versailles, March 7, 2003, n° 01-04329) have been recognized as legitimate reasons justifying practices of refusal of sale or provision of services” can we read on the Senate website.

If in Japan Nintendo had to take measures for its own employees, in France, case law already authorizes professionals to refuse a sale or provision of services to aggressive or insulting customers. This goes for Nintendo, but also for any other company.

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