The ACCC has revealed that is has filed an investigation in the Federal Court of Australia against Sony Interactive Entertainment for making false and/or misleading representations to Australian consumers on both the PlayStation Store and its official website. More specifically, the issue pertains to Sony's refund policy. The ACCC alleges that Sony told consumers that it did not have to provide refunds for games that had been downloaded or if 14 days passed since the purchase, which goes against consumer laws in Australia. Interestingly, Sony's refund policy used to be worse until it improved it this year. Before, there was no way to get a digital refund, though sometimes exceptions were made by PlayStation support. But then earlier this year Sony updated its policy to allow refunds on games that haven't been downloaded yet, as long as it was within 14 days of purchase.
"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," said ACCC Chair Rod Sims. "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.
"Consumers who buy digital products online have exactly the same rights as they would at a physical store."
The official statement from the ACCC notes that under Australian Consumer Law, consumers have the right to a refund, repair, or replacement if a product is faulty because it is not of acceptable quality, or if its description is misleading in relation to the final product. Of course, the problem here is that unless a game is downright broken, this is a bit of a grey, interpretive area.
"No matter where in the world a company has its headquarters, if it is selling to Australian consumers, the Australian Consumer Law applies," added Mr Sims.
The ACCC is seeking pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, correctives, and costs. Of course, we'll keep you updated as this story develops and unfolds.