PlayStation Is Under Investigation For Supposedly 'Misleading' Consumers

Referring to what amounts to anti-consumer refund policies.
Sony Interactive Entertainment has officially announced PlayStation Productions, its visual media arm for producing film and TV series.
Sony Interactive Entertainment has officially announced PlayStation Productions, its visual media arm for producing film and TV series. Sony

Sony and PlayStation once again find themselves in relatively hot water, as it was announced that the gaming giant is under investigation by an Australian body for reportedly ‘misleading’ Australian gamers.

According a report first broken by Press Start, the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) has made its intentions of undertaking proceedings against Sony Interactive Entertainment for the company’s reported misleading representations to Australian consumers on its storefront, the PlayStation Store.

The investigation points squarely to Sony’s very controversial refund policies, which has been a very widespread talking point for some time now. It’s up there with the company’s censorship policies that go beyond what certain developers are comfortable with, raising more questions as to whether what Sony is doing is ethical or not.

Going back to Sony’s refund policies, the ACCC alleges that Sony Europe, in particular, has been telling its consumers that it does not have a responsibility to provide refunds for digital games that have been downloaded, or for purchases made up to 14 days ago. The governing body has stated that this is against Australian consumers laws, which lead to the investigation.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims clarified the body’s stance in a statement, saying, “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,” he added.

The rest of the ACCC’s statements raise some very hard-hitting topics which should be discussed more, including consumer rights for digital products versus physical products. We’re now into an age where a digital storefront is preferred to a physical one, which in turn leads to some arguing that we no longer really own the games we buy. It’s a very interesting point to look at, and if you certainly observe some of the refund policies on various digital storefronts, you can see that it’s mostly stacked in the favor of the companies, as opposed to if you bought a physical copy directly from a retailer.

That said, it is good to hear that possible infringement into consumers’ rights can still be held accountable, even if they are relegated to one single country. Expect to hear more on this from us as it develops.

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