Sony to be taken to court in Australia due to alleged breaches of consumer laws

 
Refunds for digital games under scrutiny

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking Sony to court over alleged breaches of consumer laws, specifically in regards to refunds for games purchased through the PlayStation store.

“The ACCC alleges that from around September 2017, Sony Europe told consumers seeking a refund for faulty games that it did not have to provide refunds for games that had been downloaded, or if 14 days had passed since purchase,” reports the ACCC. “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 authorised a refund. It also told consumers that it could provide refunds using virtual PlayStation currency instead of money.”

“The ACCC’s case is that these representations are false or misleading, and do not reflect the consumer guarantee rights afforded to all Australian consumers under the Australian Consumer Law.”

“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,” adds ACCC Chair Rod Sims. “Consumers who buy digital products online have exactly the same rights as they would at a physical store.”

Sony Europe cover the Australian PlayStation store so they will be the ones heading to court.“No matter where in the world a company has its headquarters, if it is selling to Australian consumers, the Australian Consumer Law applies,” Mr Sims said. The ACCC will be seeking “pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, correctives and costs.

Australian consumer law states that “you are entitled to return a product if you believe that there is a problem,” and given the shoddy state of some games that have been released recently that law could apply. However, it might be difficult to define exactly what ‘a problem’ is. Fallout 76 was buggy as hell but for the most part did work, so if a game is playable and does not crash that could be classed as a functioning product and would not require a refund.

However, another part of the Australian consumer charter states that “Products must be of acceptable quality, that is: safe, lasting, with no faults,” and we all know games can ship with many bugs.

It will be interesting to see how this one pans out as European consumer laws are broadly the same as those in Australia, we will keep you updated.

Source: ACCC

Written by
News Editor, very inappropriate, probs fancies your dad.

5 Comments

  1. This is going to be interesting indeed but I am confused…. its not like SONY tested Fallout 76 and decide to put it on digital PSN store and physical copies… surely its the developers at fault for doing so? Hence why they tried to save face by giving out the proper bag merch instead of the canvas that ripped off alot of Fallout fans!

    • You’re not buying it from the developers though. You’re buying it from Sony, so they’re responsible for refunds and broken products.

      Same as if you buy anything from any normal shop and there’s a problem. You take it back to the shop, not the manufacturer. If it’s broken to start with. It may be easier or quicker to go direct if it packs up later.

      • But isn’t that not a warranty is for? Like if you buy a Sony TV from Argos but the warranty is for Sony TV up to say 3 years and Argos is just under a Year in case there was a fault during their own shipping but if something happens in 2 years or so as long as its Under 3 Years then its Sony’s fault and not Argos?

      • There’s a bit of a grey area there, sure.

        If you buy a TV from Argos, get it home and it doesn’t work, you’d go straight back to Argos for a replacement or a refund. Argos would almost certainly sort it, some other shops might try and argue you should send it off to Sony. (Plus there’s the whole thing with Argos where you can take it back for any reason in a certain time)

        If it packed up after some months? It’s still technically down to the shop to sort it. They sold it to you, they’re responsible. To use Argos as the example, they’ll get it repaired or replaced, or refund some or all of the cost (depending on how long it’s “reasonably” expected to last) up to 6 months. After that, you need to prove it was faulty when you bought it.

        Of course, you could send it back to Sony to get it fixed. But if the option is there to get it sorted quicker, why not go for that? Then again, if they’ll just send it off to get it fixed, it might be quicker to do it yourself instead of taking it to the shop and then having to collect it when it comes back.

        My PS4 controller died within 6 months (5 years ago!) and I just told Amazon. They sent a replacement, arrived next day, no questions asked. I could have sent it off to Sony and they’d have sent a replacement in a week or 2. Apparently. I wouldn’t know. I disposed of the broken one properly as Amazon instructed and didn’t even consider sending it off to Sony to fix.

  2. Thanks for the info MrYd

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