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BREAKING NEWS: ACCC Slams Sony Over PlayStation Game Refunds

The ACCC has slammed Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe Limited (Sony Europe) over illegal game refund terms made to Aussie customers within its PlayStation online store.

The regulator has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court, asserting from September 2017 Sony Europe told customers it was not obliged to offer refunds for faulty games if downloaded, or 14 days from purchase.

“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,” affirms ACCC Chair, Rod Sims.

The ACCC claims Sony Europe informed consumers it was not required to offer refunds unless authorised, or deemed irreparably faulty by the game developer.

The company also told customers it could offer refunds via virtual PlayStation currency.

The ACCC asserts Sony Europe’s behaviour was false or misleading, and did not reflect consumer guarantee rights under Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

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

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

The watchdog is seeking pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, correctives and costs.

The news follows similar action against US-based gaming retailer Valve Corporation.

Under the ACL, consumers have a right to refund, repair or replacement if a product is faulty, not of acceptable quality, not fit for purpose or does not match business descriptions.

“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,” remarks Mr Sims.

The ACCC claims from “at least” October 2017, Sony Europe informed customers (via its Terms of Service) that its liability to provide redress for faulty products was limited – in fact untrue.

The regulator asserts Australian Consume Law applies to all businesses that engage in trade or commerce with Australian consumers, “including the supply of digital goods such as games.”

Sony Europe is incorporated in the United Kingdom and is responsible for the PlayStation Network Terms of Service that Aussie consumers must abide by when creating or using a PlayStation account.

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