If you’ve ever bought something from the Nintendo Switch eShop, then you probably know Nintendo has a very strict policy about refunds. In short, they don't allow any returns. However, I recently had a frustrating encounter with my Nintendo Switch Online subscription that resulted in me getting charged twice.
I added my fiancée to a family subscription, but auto-renewal for her individual subscription was still turned on, and so we got charged a yearly subscription ($20) despite her being in the family membership. For context, you can’t purchase an individual membership while you’re in a family membership because you get all of the same benefits, so the eShop won’t let you. We, therefore, assumed this auto-renewal must be a mistake. But it wasn’t. Here’s what happened when I contacted Nintendo customer support.
What happens when you’re double-charged for Nintendo Switch Online?
I explained the situation to the representative who replied, “there is no automatic way to remove a Nintendo Switch Online’s automatic renewal, even if joining a family group that has a family membership.” This was already a red flag because that means, whether intentional or not, this is how the system was designed. You need to turn off automatic renewal otherwise Nintendo will double charge you when you join a family plan with the same service.
I then asked the agent for a refund, to which they responded, “per the Nintendo Switch Online Terms of Service, we cannot offer refunds or credits for time left on a membership.” And in that same text, they said they would assist with cancelling my service (as if that would remedy the situation).
I pointed out why that was an obvious issue, but they said, “I can provide you with the steps on how to remove the automatic renewal to ensure that it does [not] happen again in the future for you.” It then turned into a frustrating back and forth between the agent and myself. It feels as though Nintendo double charged me for a service then blamed it on me because I didn’t turn off a feature that should have been turned off automatically.
The agent then tried to explain to me that joining a family membership doesn’t end an individual membership, “which is how you can have two different types of Nintendo Switch Online memberships at the same time.” They continued to re-explain how this happened to me and wormed out of giving me any compensation, even though consumers can't buy individual memberships while in a family membership.
However, I continued to press the agent over this issue until they finally said they'd see what they could do. Then they attempted to offer me two additional months of the additional membership, which is pointless given that the account in question was in a family plan and two months free is nowhere near being worth the $20 I was charged. I explained that to them, and suggested the alternative of giving me a refund in eShop coins.
After all of that effort, they budged and asked me for my email and console’s serial number. After a few moments, the agent drafted a text stating that they would forward my incident to an administration group to see if anything could be done and that they’d email me within the next one to two business days. However, within minutes, whatever I was charged ended up as credits in my Nintendo account.
Why this is such a huge deal
Nintendo, you can't blatantly double-charge people then blame them for not turning off a feature that should have been automatically disabled. You need to fix your systems. This is one of the most consumer-unfriendly things I’ve encountered with Nintendo’s services.
My fellow readers, warn your family members to turn off auto-renewal. Nintendo is clearly strict about giving refunds, even to those who clearly need one. If you happen to get double-charged like I did, talk to customer support and bother them until they give you your money back. Don’t be a jerk, but don’t let Nintendo swindle you out of your money. This entire process and system shouldn’t exist, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens a lot.