The ACCC is taking Sony Europe to court, alleging the video game maker told customers they could not get refunds for faulty PlayStation games.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Sony Europe violated Australian consumer law by telling customers in September 2017 it did not have to provide them refunds for faulty games that had been downloaded, or more than 14 days since purchase.
It is also alleged consumers were told refunds would be delivered in virtual PlayStation currency instead of money, and that Sony had put impediments in the way of Australian users seeking to obtain refunds by referring their complaints to game developers.
The allegation was detailed in an October 2017 case cited in the ACCC’s court filing, where customer support told a customer who downloaded the Aven Colony game: “In regards to a refund for this game, we can’t actually issue that refund. Not that we don’t want to. We can’t. Only the game developer can give us permission to refund it once the game has been downloaded.”
In another October 2017 case, a user who experienced difficulties downloading the Hitman game was told: “There’s actually no way for us to refund it. Because of the way the game works, it’s not actually a game. It’s a licence for a game, and we buy that from the publisher.”
ACCC chair Rod Sims said on Wednesday that consumers who buy digital products online had the same rights as they would at a physical store.
“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,” Mr Sims said.
“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.”
Proceedings have been instituted in the Federal Court of Australia against both Sony Europe and its parent company Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe Limited.
The ACCC is seeking pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, correctives and costs.
Comment is being sought from Sony Australia.