PlayStation Are Sending Mixed Messages About Refunds

Image: Hello Games

In the saga that will not end, a support email has revealed that the PlayStation support service has been giving gamers "goodwill gesture refunds" for No Man's Sky. Those refunds, however, were seemingly only available for Americans. And if that wasn't frustrating enough for Australians, it seems like Sony's local support staff are sending mixed messages on their refund policy in general.

A tipster has provided a series of support emails to Kotaku Australia where they, like many others, were chasing up Sony to refund No Man's Sky. The support chain began in late August, although it wasn't until recently that PlayStation's local support staff remarked on the refunds being offered by their American counterparts.

The chain began with PlayStation's local support rejecting a refund, but then asking for clarification on what part of the No Man's Sky description on the PlayStation store was "misleading, or not included in the game".

After a brief back and forth, PlayStation's local support replied with the block description about No Man's Sky and Hello Games that we reported on earlier this month, which reads:

We are aware of comments online from some players expressing disappointment with the release features of No Man’s Sky. During the development process, the game changed and evolved based on thousands of hours of user testing and feedback on what worked and what didn’t to bring you the best gameplay experience and the most fun. Hello Games made choices during this development which they believed would provide the best experience for the players. No Man’s Sky was intended to be something unique, vast and inventive, and we feel Hello Games delivered that. They are also working to ensure that No Man’s Sky will continue to evolve and benefit from new features over the coming months, and as such, we are not making any exceptions to our standard refund policy.

But after being referred to a screenshot circulating online of a PlayStation support staffer offering one-time refunds for No Man's Sky, the PlayStation Australia support team replied that PlayStation America was "authorising goodwill gesture refunds" — something that would not be offered in Australia.

The email continued with this:

When purchasing digital content, there is no right to cancel your purchase because you are receiving access to the content immediately (even if you do not download it straight away).

It contradicts the policy listed on the PlayStation website, which says users can "cancel a digital content purchase within 14 days from the date of transaction, provided that you have not started downloading or streaming it". Digital content that has started downloading or streaming can also be refunded if the content is "faulty".

Image: PlayStation Store FAQ

Sony was contacted about the email chain and the disconnect with PlayStation America, but did not respond to request for comment by the time of publication.

It's understandable that PlayStation Australia wants to stick to their policy. But they need to at least provide consistent messaging to users on their policy. On the bright side, the email at least does end with the support specialist saying that "you do have the right to pursue further action if you wish" — not that Sony, or any other manufacturer or developer is empowered to remove those rights from consumers if they so choose.


Comments

    Yeah, this was the real story all along. Not even Microsoft or Nintendo get so many own goals from their tepid first-party games.

    The reception towards No Man's Sky or people's opinions on it as a game is one thing.

    But Sony effectively 'defending' the game against criticism is beyond the pail. Then to see Sony Prez come and publicly lash it is also equally bizarre.

    Really amazing to watch. It's not a game I've bought, but through it all I'm still interested in it.

    Truly, if there was a situation for the saying 'this is why we can't have nice things' this takes the cake.

    "no right to cancel your purchase"

    What a load of crap, the Australian Consumer Law disagrees.

      What they do is put as many blockers in your way as they think they can get away with, all designed to make it too hard to get what you want. You give up, they get to keep your money.

      They fight this, then reluctantly give you store credit (note: thats NOT a refund), and claim the've followed consumer law when they havent.

      Its rife in the large retail market, I've been through similar with Foxtel, and Telstra, and am currently listening to my boss disconnect his Foxtel after a free trial that didnt impress him. Most entertaining discussion btw.

      In every case, what they do is totally against the Australian Consumer Laws, but that doesnt mean they're not going to try.

      Technically you are buying from Sony Europe, not an Australian company, not an Australian transaction, hence the no GST. So ACL is not relevant.

      As per the receipt you get:

      This email has been sent on behalf of Sony Network Entertainment Europe Limited, a company registered in the United Kingdom with registration number 06020283, with its registered address at 10 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7LP

      Last edited 23/09/16 3:20 pm

        They're making a legal transaction with Australian consumers though so they need to follow our trade laws. If we were all using VPN's to buy from them then you'd be right but we're not, they're open to trading directly with customers in thia country.

        It's the same reason Valve got sued by the ACCC even though they claim to only be a US company (even charge us in USD)

          The Valve issue raises a good point, and very relevant however the other does not, it’s not that simple. Someone selling a shoe online in Peru should not be held to ACL just because someone in another country decided to buy from them. Obviously this is not like that case, it is more like the Valve thing.

            If the business decides to sell shoes to Australia then yes the ACL laws do apply to them. Enforcing it is another matter.

              No, because at that point, the buyer is also considered the importer. Aus law is that importer is deemed manufacturer, so you kind of become responsible to yourself at that stage.

        I'm not a legal professional but I'm pretty sure If you operate a business within Australia, then you are subject to ACL.

    Playstation Australia needs to get that sorted cause Australian Consumer law they cant remove any consumer rights protected by law... and their representatives can not misrepresent those rights or give misleading/false information about their rights under Australian Consumer Laws. The message has to be both accurate and consistent.

      As above, it's not an Australian transaction, but one with a UK registered company. ACL is not relevant.

        Valve vs ACCC. Goods and Services sold to Australians regardless of country if origin still have to comply with Australias refund policy.

          That is not what the final finding said. It was far more complex than that.

            No its not... Sony is incorporated inside Australia, and its a multinational. Regardless of it being on another planet or another dimension, it has actual business in Australia and will have to answer in part for its practices in our borders. You cant offshore your legal responsibilty and Federal court gets real pissy at people who try (ie Valve).

            Valves defense was they dont sell goods and dont operate in Australia, that defense was thrown out by the judge so Sony saying its in Europe wont work... Also EU is very particular companies operate fair to consumers both in and out of their country.

            Can you imagine anything you buy was only valid warranty insode the coubtry of origin... doesnt work thay way cause we have laws.

    we feel Hello Games delivered that well the person asking for the refund disagrees

      It's even more laughable when I see this quote, "Hello Games made choices during this development which they believed would provide the best experience for the players." By removing stuff from the game and lying about multiplayer? Yeah that's so what we wanted, to be scammed and lied to.

    "Replacements and refunds

    You can ask for a replacement or refund if the problem with the product is major.

    Replaced products must be of an identical type to the product originally supplied. Refunds should be the same amount you have already paid, provided in the same form as your original payment.

    The business may take into account how much time has passed since you bought the product considering the following factors:
    - type of product
    - how a consumer is likely to use the product
    - the length of time for which it is reasonable for the product to be used
    - the amount of use it could reasonably be expected to tolerate before the failure becomes noticeable.

    For a major problem with services you can cancel the contract and obtain a refund or seek compensation for the drop in value of your services provided compared to the price paid.

    What is a major problem?

    A product or good has a major problem when:
    - it has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it
    - it is unsafe
    - it is significantly different from the sample or description
    - it doesn’t do what the business said it would, or what you asked for and can’t easily be fixed.

    A service has a major problem when:
    - it has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it
    - it is substantially unfit for its common purpose and can’t easily be fixed within a reasonable time
    - it does not meet the specific purpose you asked for and cannot easily be fixed within a reasonable time
    - it creates an unsafe situation."

    https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees/repair-replace-refund

      Not an Aus transaction

      Sony Network Entertainment Europe Limited, a company registered in the United Kingdom with registration number 06020283, with its registered address at 10 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7LP

        Level 3, 165 Walker Street, North North Sydney NSW 2060
        Sony Australia Head Office, Address

        Where they bill you from is irrelevant, they are a locally registered business trading to Australian customers , within Australian from an Internet address registered in Australian.

        So if I buy from a local shop but pay via PayPal I don't get any consumer rights because the transaction was processed in the US?

        Valve/steam was not an aus registered business. Sony corporation is.

        Last edited 23/09/16 5:07 pm

          You are not buying from an Aus business, hence there is no GST charged. The Store is not registered in Aus.
          The PayPal example is deeply flawed, and just plain silly.

    Sony is succeeding in spite of itself.

    Their PR fiascos are remarkable.

    It applys I even got it to apply to Amazon with a USA version of no man's sky because they sold ot to me in Australia gst is irrelevant

    Great thing is they refunded the full amount in both gift cards and credit card so ended up with 130 usd which is fair after having to suffer a few hours of this crap game

    Be careful what you wish for. Hosting their games in Europe may mean a shitty refund policy but it also means that the ACB isn't a constant obstacle to you getting notable games - ask any Xbox One owner in Australia whether they've been able to play SuperHot or The Witness... only if they muck around with region settings and overseas currencies

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