Sony’s updated refund policy that was instituted back in September of 2017 was seen as a joke to many gamers. The refund policy allowed gamers to return purchased software within 14 days after a purchase, but only if you did not download the software. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission took umbrage with Sony’s antics, and decided to move forward with investigating them for misleading consumers.
According to ACCC chair Rod Sims, he stated…
“We allege that Sony Europe gave false and misleading information to their customers about their rights in relation to games sold via its PlayStation Store,”
“Consumer guarantees do not expire after a digital product has been downloaded as we allege Sony Europe told consumers, and refunds must be given in the form of original payment unless a consumer chooses to receive it in store credit.”
“Consumers who buy digital products online have exactly the same rights as they would at a physical store,”
The main issue here is that the ACCC doesn’t like that Sony has prevented gamers from getting a refund after downloading a game.
As many of you know, the only reason Valve instituted refunds into Steam was after the ACCC sued Valve and won for violating consumer protections regarding refunds. For the longest Valve refused to offer digital refunds or resale options, even after the VZBV came after Valve, as reported by PC World.
However, the ACCC was able to succeed where the VZBV failed, and managed to get Valve to institute a refund policy for games that weren’t older than 14 days of the customer purchase date and had not been played for more than two hours. Valve even attempted to appeal the verdict… but failed, as chronicled over on the ACCC website.
In this case, they’re targeting Sony both for the lack of refunds for downloaded games and they’re also going after Sony for trying to limit redress for PlayStation repairs. The ACCC wrote…
“The ACCC also alleges that from at least October 2017, Sony Europe told consumers in its Terms of Service that its liability to provide redress for faulty products was limited when this was not true. The Australian Consumer Law applies to all businesses that engage in trade and commerce with Australian consumers, including the supply of digital goods such as games.”
While Australia may be considered a nanny state to many, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has usually be on-point, and it’s very rare that they don’t nail their target.
With Sony clearly in their sights, it’s already set to institute proceedings against Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe, since that’s the division where Sony’s products are being distributed from in Australia. We’ll see if Sony complies or decides to fight the issue in court.
(Thanks for the news tip Ebicentre)
(Main image courtesy of Spark Chronicles)