Sony Is Being Sued In Australia For Not Offering PlayStation Refunds In Some Cases

Australia's federal government is going after Sony over claims that PlayStation made "false and misleading statements" about its refund policy.

15 Comments
Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Now Playing: PS5 Price Will Be "Appealing" - GS News Update

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) is going after Sony over claims that the PlayStation company made "false or misleading statements" to Australian gamers in regards to refunds. Specifically, the ACCC said in a statement that it takes issue with Sony Europe's statement in September 2017 that the company was not required to provide refunds for downloaded games, or if two weeks had passed since the purchase.

"Sony Europe also allegedly told consumers it did not have to provide refunds unless the game developer told the consumer the game was irreparably faulty or otherwise authorized a refund. It also told consumers that it could provide refunds using virtual PlayStation currency instead of money," the ACCC's statement continues.

The ACCC says these claims are "false or misleading." Under Australian Consumer Law, consumers are entitled to a refund, repair, or replacement "if a product is faulty because it is not of acceptable quality, is not fit for purpose or does not match descriptions made by the businesses, depending on the seriousness of the fault." Sony is running afoul to this with its refund policy, the ACCC says.

"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," ACCC Chair Rod Sims said in a statement. "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."

He added: "Consumers who buy digital products online have exactly the same rights as they would at a physical store. Sony Europe's alleged conduct may have caused Australian consumers to not seek a refund, replacement or repair for a faulty game when the Australian Consumer Law gave them a right to do so."

Further still, the ACCC says Sony Europe made a statement in October 2017 that its own liability to provide a refund for faulty products was "limited," but the ACCC says this is not true. According to Australian Consumer Law, all businesses that operate in Australia must comply. This is the same argument that the ACCC used against Valve over that company's refund policy. Valve ended up paying a $3 million fine related to the ACCC's campaign, and a notice is now posted on Steam's Australian store that outlines the refund policy.

"No matter where in the world a company has its headquarters, if it is selling to Australian consumers, the Australian Consumer Law applies," Sims said.

The ACCC is demanding that Sony make good to consumers with "pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, correctives, and costs."

You can read the full complaint against Sony here on the ACCC's website [PDF]. This action comes amid rumors of Sony preparing to officially announce the PlayStation 5.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 15 comments about this story
15 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for bdrtfm
BDRTFM

Hence the reason I don't buy digital unless a game is on sale and has been out for awhile. I bought the digital version of Horizon Zero Dawn weeks ago because it was on sale and I know since it's been out quiet awhile and got great reviews, it's a quality purchase. So no buyers remorse to worry about.

Avatar image for chubby170
Chubby170

A great example of why Digital is not the way to go in the future. They have total control..

Avatar image for lonesamurai00
lonesamurai00

@chubby170: Then it should please you much that digital isn't the future for Sony or Microsoft at all - that'll be streamin' games to ya laddie! You won't have to worry about game refunds with that.

Avatar image for chubby170
Chubby170

@lonesamurai00: Thats worse.

Avatar image for sippio
sippio

Sony customer support is atrocious!

*even if you are the biggest PlayStation fan= it benefits you if they improve...

Avatar image for bdrtfm
BDRTFM

@sippio: I have to talk to their support weekly for RMA's and such. Great consoles. Great games. Customer service, Oh my. Best to have a shot before calling them. They are terrible. Absolutely terrible. Even their phone system sucks. Just getting someone on the phone who doesn't follow a script can take half an hour or longer. I don't have time for that..... Just try going to the business online RMA status page for Canada. All you get is an error page. Been like that for years.

Avatar image for skippert
skippert

I ran into a lot of problems with Sony and their customer service department(s) over this. They are completely oblivious and have no intention of helping their customers out at all. I asked for a refund on Anthem within the first 24 hours of release after it turned off my console multiple times within the first hour of play. It effectively preventing me from using the product I bought. After 2 weeks of going back and forward with opening tickets and calling service representatives, I finally managed to speak someone reasonable and was promised a full refund. I had read multiple times from a few sources that Sony was offering refunds for that debacle of a game. The problem with Sony customer service is that your ticket is not handled by one person and the next day the representative I spoke to disappeared. The one that was now handling the ticket refused to refund again. Eventually, I decided to go through PayPal to get my refund as they are very much customer orientated in that way. That got my PSN account blocked (which I realized was going to happen in accordance with their Terms of service). Eventually got that unblocked again through some strange method that involves scanning gift cards and mailing them over. Over the space of two months (with exception of that one friendly rep) not a single response I got felt like it came from an actual human. For me, their customer service department was probably the worst I have had to deal with until now. Sadly for them, that lost them a customer. I canceled my PS Plus subscription right after that. I will either give away my PS4 Pro or sell it at some stage as it has been replaced by a beefy PC

Avatar image for davillain-
DaVillain-

If Digital Gaming is going to be the main standard, your ass better offer Refunds to the consumers and Steam does it right. No excuse Sony!

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Good. Refunds should be standard.

Avatar image for xshinobi
Xshinobi

Hold their feet to the fire. All digital store fronts should offer refunds.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

Yay. Sony's customer support is absolute garbage and it's high time someone knocked them off their pony. Getting any refund from them is a dog fight, and if they do give it to you, they act like it's some kind of divine mercy that you didn't deserve.

Avatar image for Tidus1012
Tidus1012

I wonder how many gamers in Australia buy digital games, I have heard that Australia has terrible internet speed.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Tidus1012: Bandwidth and latency are different things.

Avatar image for HelIWithoutSin
HelIWithoutSin

@Tidus1012: It's because the internet runs clockwise down there.

Avatar image for Archangel2222
Archangel2222

@Tidus1012: They sure do. Its terrible internet and even the mobile phone networks stink. The wholesale mobile phone networks are even worse. For claiming to be a modern country they are backwards alot