The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has fined Sony $3.5 million for misleading customers over their rights to refunds under Australian law. Sony’s policy states that people are not entitled to a refund if a game is downloaded or 14 days after a game is purchased, directly breaching Australian consumer laws. Sony tried to defend itself by stating a refund did not need to be given unless authorised by the game developer, and also saying one customer was only entitled to a refund through store credit.
The ACCC’s Chair Rod Sims made a statement on the ruling:
“Consumer guarantee rights do not expire after a digital product has been downloaded and certainly do not disappear after 14 days or any other arbitrary date claimed by a game store or developer. What Sony told these consumers was false and does not reflect the consumer guarantee rights afforded to Australian consumers under the Australian Consumer Law. Consumers can obtain a repair, replacement or refund directly for products with a major fault from sellers and cannot simply be sent to a product developer.
Refunds under the consumer guarantees must also be given in cash or money transfer if the consumer originally paid in one of those ways, unless the consumer chooses to receive store credit. Consumers who buy digital products online have exactly the same rights as they would if they made the purchase at a physical store.No matter where in the world a company has its headquarters, if it is selling to Australian consumers, the Australian Consumer Law applies.”
Recently, the ACCC ruled that Australians who purchased Fallout 76 through EB Games were entitled to refunds. This ruling came after customers complained that EB Games had misled customers over refunds and stated they were not eligible for one despite the faults that Fallout 76 had.