'It's Not Actually A Game': Stories From Users Trying To Get Refunds From PlayStation

First they took down Valve, and now the competition regulator is going after Sony. But as part of the ACCC's legal claim, they've cited a number of instances where users tried to refund games on the PlayStation Store but couldn't — and what games they were trying to refund.

The regulator's legal filing outlines eight different scenarios where users tried to refund a game, successfully or otherwise, through PlayStation Support. The theme throughout the anecdotes is pretty straightforward: a user purchased a game digitally, downloaded the game, ran into some kind of issue, and then attempted to seek a refund through PlayStation's official support channels.

Some of the games are high profile, like Madden NFL 18 G.O.A.T. Edition or the Hitman reboot. Others are lower profile titles, like Aven Colony and the LEGO Ninjago Movie: Video Game. Other games aren't mentioned, but clearly identifiable — one user mentions complaining about a game that was "unplayable", and the chat with the support representative then goes on to mention Bungie and that the game cost $100 (a clear reference to Destiny 2, which launched in September 2017, the time when the ACCC alleges Sony Europe began refusing refunds to users).


User CK, who tried to refund LEGO Ninjago Movie: Video Game

On 4 October 2017, User CK received an email from "PlayStation" saying, in part, "[a]t the time of making your purchase of wallet funds, you asked us to provide you with immediate access to the funds and confirmed your understanding that this means you will not have a "cooling off period" and cannot cancel your purchase of wallet funds or get arefund'. By this email, the Wallet Representation When Adding Funds was made.

On 9 October 2017, User CK called PlayStation Support and spoke with "Scott". User CK reported that the game was corrupted and that it would not move to the next level. Further correspondence, by phone and by email, followed between User CK and Playstation Support. User CK confirmed that they had followed the trouble-shooting instructions, but that had not fixed the fault.

Sony Europe, through Leonard, made the Referral to Publisher Representation by saying the following.

(a) On 10 October 2017, "Leonard" from PlayStation Support emailed User CK saying: "As per our cancellation policy, you can request a refund within 14 days of your initial purchase, provided you have not downloaded, used, or streamed the content, unless the content itself is found to be faulty. This content is now available to use on your console and cannot be removed, as digital content cannot be returned to us. . . . If the publisher cannot resolve the issue, please forward us any correspondence and we will revisit your request and escalate to our head office".

On 10 October 2017, User CK responded by email: "It is the responsibility of the retailer to contact the manufacturer and resolve an issue with products which are not fit for purpose. It is the obligation of the retailer to issue a refund if a repair was unsuccessful. I have purchased the product from PlayStation 1 and asking for a refund of your faulty product after receiving unsuccessful repairs. Under Victorian consumer law this product qualifies for an automatic refund'.

Sony Europe made the Refund to Wallet Representation by saying the following (see (a) to (c) below). On or about 24 October 2017, the purchase was refunded to User CK's PSN wallet. On 28 October 2017, User CK sent an email to PlayStation Support saying: "The funds have not appeared in my bank account. Would you confirm that the refund was sent back onto my Visa card and not in the form of store credit'.

On 30 October 2017, User CK sent an email to PlayStation Support saying: "Unfortunately the funds have been sent to my PlayStation wallet account instead of my bank account. This is a store credit and not a refund. Please refund the funds properly onto my visa card as this is where the purchase was originally sent from". On 30 October 2017, User CK called PlayStation Support and spoke with "Rebecca".

(a) User CK was told that "we have refunded it back to your wallet on your account, so you can use it on the PlayStation Store but we won't be refunding it back to your payment method' and that "within your AGL, it doesn't cover this. This is our terms of service. We stand by our terms of service. You had a refund back to the wallet on the account and that's a decision that has been made by head office".

(b) On 30 October 2017, "Rebecca" from PlayStation Support emailed User CK saying "As previously discussed, regrettably we are unable to offer a refund for purchase back to the payment method following out [sic] Terms of Service".

(c) On 30 October 2017, "Augustas" from PlayStation Support emailed User CK saying "As your refund request was already escalated to the highest point and was refused it means that it is the final decision of the head office to only issue a refund back to your PSN wallet'. On 2 November 2017, User CK emailed PlayStation Support referring Sony Europe to the ACC's guidelines on repair, replace and refund.

On 5 November 2017, "David" from PlayStation Support emailed User CK saying that Sony Europe had now refunded the purchase to User CK's payment method.


User JA, who tried to refund Aven Colony

User JA purchased and downloaded the game Aven Colony from the PlayStation Store. On 31 July 2017, User JA requested a refund via an online contact form on the PlayStation website.

On 30 September 2017, "Leonard" from PlayStation Support called User JA about User JA having trouble logging into his account. Leonard said the account was temporarily banned because User JA had reversed the payment for Aven Colony with the bank. Leonard said that User JA needed to pay the money back to have the account unbanned.

Sony Europe, through Leonard, made the Referral to Publisher Representation by saying the following.

(a) User JA was told "if you can contact the developers and they actually give us authorisation for a refund, and we- we'd happily just refund that game back for you" and that "if you contact them and just forward us any correspondence from them just admitting fault with the game, then, yeah, I mean, if they say, you know, the- you know, the game is unplayable or, you know, that they're - this has been affecting a certain number of users, if you can get any kind of correspondence from them saying that, we'll happy just refund that back to you".

On 12 October 2017, User JA called PlayStation Support and spoke with "Chris". User JA informed Chris that User JA had attempted to contact the developer but the developer had not responded. On 12 October 2017, User JA called PlayStation Support and spoke with "Ibrahim".

Sony Europe, through Ibrahim, made the Referral to Publisher Representation by saying the following.

(a) User JA was told "in regards to a refund for this game, we can't actually issue that refund. Not — 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'.

On 25 October 2017, User JA called PlayStation Support and spoke with "Ryan". Sony Europe, through Ryan, made the No Obligation to Refund Representation by saying the following.

(a) User JA was told "because the game is now thoroughly working and you're unable to provide a screenshot of the game ' otherwise, I'm afraid the only option for yourself is if you just want to pursue a refund further would be to contact Team 17 who are the publishers of the game".

(b) User JA was told "you are entitled to your compromise. But unfortunately you have to go to the publisher of the game, not the developer. The publisher which is Team 17'.

(c) User JA was told "In terms of the actual sort of stability of the game, that is something that's unfortunately entirely in the hands of the developer. As a platform which PlayStation is, we only process transactions on their behalf essentially. So once you've bought a game, the money goes straight through to them. Any refunds that we can process is basically just credit from us. And so we can later recuperate from that — from the developer anyway. That's why our — our — that's why our refund policy is strictly if you have not downloaded the game and it's within 14 days".

(d) User JA was told: "because it's not a PlayStation specific problem ... there, there's not much further that we can do at our end. But as I said, get that dialogue open with Team 17 and just I explain your dissatisfaction with their game".


User HP, who tried to refund Hitman

Image: Io Interactive

User HP purchased and downloaded the Hitman game via the PlayStation Store.

On 5 October 2017, User HP requested a refund via an online contact form on the PlayStation website because "the game doesn't work keep telling me to download it'. On 6 October 2017, User HP called PlayStation Support and spoke with "Cameron".

Sony Europe, through Cameron, made the No Obligation to Refund Representation to User HP by saying the following.

(a) User HP was told "unfortunately, due to our refunds policy, we're not actually able to offer refunds on things that have already been downloaded'. When User HP queried "Even if they don't work?", Cameron made the statement in (b) below.

(b) User HP 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, and that's like a single-use code, so when you start to download the game, we can't actually take the code back and use that again".

(c) When User HP queried whether this was the position "even though it's [the game's] not working", Cameron said "Yes".

(d) User HP was told "if there is an issue with the game itself, you would be eligible for a refund, but that wouldn't be from us.

It would be from the publisher because it was a problem with their game".


User JS, who tried to refund Call of Duty: WW2

User JS purchased and downloaded the Call of Duty: WWII game via the PlayStation Store.

On 2 November 2017, User JS requested a refund by "refund request" form from the PlayStation website because User JS said the game was "faulty" and "in its current state it is not functioning properly".

On 3 November 2017, User JS called PlayStation Support and spoke with "Ryan". Ryan confirmed that User JS was "asking for a refund". Sony Europe, through Ryan, made the No Obligation to Refund Representation to User JS by saying the following.

(a) User JS was told that "generally, if you've downloaded the game, it's actually out with our refund policy. So if you wanted a refund, you would have to go via your Activision". User JS was also told that "at this point, if you would like a refund, you may have to go through Activision ... just confirm with them. If it was fully faulty as well, that would also be Activision".

(b) User JS was told that "our refund policy with digital games is that, if you report within 14 days, which, granted, you have, and that the game has not been downloaded - that's purely because there's no way for us to physically remove games from your console".

(c) User JS was told that "because you've downloaded and played the game, that's out with our returns policy. That's across all digital games, it's not a Call of Duty specific thing, [JS]. It's just all our outright returns policy with digital games, okay".

(d) User JS was told that "if you are adamant on having a game refunded, Activision is open to communications going in, so if you approach them, they - maybe see what they can do, okay".


User BM, who tried to refund Raid: World War 2

User BM purchased and downloaded the Raid: World War II game via the PlayStation Store.

On 18 November 2017, User BM requested a refund via an online contact form on the PlayStation website.

On 20 November 2017, User BM's parent, LM, called PlayStation Support and spoke with "Michael". Michael confirmed that LM was seeking a refund because of a problem with the game. User BM explained that "It's just a buggy mess.

A lot of things just don't work" and "You can't start certain levels 1 and stuff like that". User BM confirmed that "I've contacted the dev[eloper]. I've got a support ticket that they're just ignoring. I had a look on their Twitter page, and they're basically ignoring all of their console players".

Sony Europe, through Michael, made the No Obligation to Refund Representation and the Referral to Publisher Representation to User BM, by saying the following.

(a) User BM was told that "once the game is downloaded, there's 1 no refund available and that "we would have to get I correspondence from the developer that states it can't be fixed'.

Features of false, misleading or deceptive conduct (b) In the context where User BM described the game as "a buggy mess", told Michael that "a lot things just don't work', told Michael that certain levels in the game could not be started, described the game as "fully broken", and said User BM had already contacted the developer but was being ignored, Michael 1 said "I can't give you a refund, end of, really, because the game's been downloaded. And in the terms of service, it advises you once the game is downloaded there's no refund available".

Michael went on to tell User BM that he (Michael) could "escalate a refund request" only if the game was "unfixable" and User BM obtained correspondence from the developer stating that "it's non-fixable" and provided it to Sony.


User BS, who tried to refund Madden NFL 18

User BS purchased and downloaded the Madden NFL 18 G.O.A.T Holiday Edition game via the PlayStation Store.

On 10 January 2018, User BS contacted Sony Europe about a problem with the game via an online contact form on the PlayStation website.

On 3 February 2018, User BS called PlayStation Support and spoke with "Ian" about "an ongoing problem with a game on my PS4 Pro, Madden NFL 18 G. O.A. T Edition". User BS said "the I game crashes about a minute into any - playing any mode. I've tried - I've tried all of the troubleshooting that I've been told to do from EA and PlayStation". [

Sony Europe, through Ian, made the Referral to Publisher Representation to User BS, by saying the following.

(a) User BS was told "Okay. Now, what we need from you now is confirmation from the publisher of the game that you've completed all of their troubleshooting, and that the game is broken for you".

(b) User BS was told "Again, you're going to have to get, like, some type of confirmation from the publisher that - we can confirm that you've completed all of our troubleshooting".

(c) User BS was told "Once you do that - once you get your confirmation, obviously we would need to see that, yeah, so you send that to us and then we'll take it from there" . (d) User BS was told "Okay. Brilliant. So once you've got confirmation from the publisher that the game's broken, we 'II take it forward from there".

Later on 3 February 2018, User BS called PlayStation Support and spoke with "Chris". User BS said "So I just called them [the publisher] ... They said that it was a PlayStation code, not alike, an application error code, or console code or something".

Sony Europe, through Chris, made the Referral to Publisher Representation to User BS, by saying the following.

(a) User BS was told "So I know this is a bit of a pain there, Brent, but I would advise - contact EA again... See if they can offer any troubleshooting. If they won't offer troubleshooting or can't offer troubleshooting, if you can get them to give you proof that that is the case - so just get them to send you an email with any troubleshooting saying that that's all that they can do for you, or send you an email saying it is purely a PlayStation issue, you know, so that we can then, you know, escalate that at our end...

It's just that - so that we can escalate it at our end, we do need, you know, confirmation there just from the publisher saying, essentially, that they're not going to help you.... reply to [the email Sony Europe previously sent]... with, you know, the proof there that Electronic Arts aren't going to help you and we can then certainly try and take up from there."


One user who tried to refund Firewall Zero Hour

User 1 purchased and downloaded the Firewall Zero Hour game via the PlayStation Store.

On 1 September 2018, User 1 called PlayStation Support and spoke with "Alan". User 1 reported that the game "keeps dropping out of the server and there's been problems with if'.

User 1 asked for a refund in the form of PSN credit.

Sony Europe, through Alan, made the Referral to Publisher Representation to User 1, by saying the following.

(a) User 1 was told that PlayStation's policy is to "only offer refunds for games that have not been downloaded or played or used or the content's not been redeemed'. Because User 1 had downloaded and played the game, "the only kind of avenue you have for this one is for if the game itself is faulty".

(b) User 1 was then told that, "to prove that [fault], we have to have correspondence from the publisher through yourself to say that they are unable to resolve the issues you're experiencing in your game".

( c) Alan said that "If you get the correspondence to say that they're unable to resolve the issues you're experiencing in the game, we will be able to refund that for you". Alan further said that "[g]oing onto Youtube isn't proof of that [fault]'and "that's not going to give us any evidence to say that the game isn't working for yourself'.

Alan said that "without that [email from the publisher], I'm afraid we wouldn't be able to do anything with that. That's the refund policy that we have."


The rest of the ACCC's claims, and the user experiences outlined, can be read here.


Comments

    I really hate how all these companies put something like by clicking the play game button you wave all rights for everything forever.

    How do I know if the game is not going to be garbage without at least launching it?

    I recently got screwed by this with uPlay, I bought Anno 1800 opened it up and played it for about 45 minutes before realising it was in no way worth 80AUD. I just assumed it would be like Steam or Origin where you can just request a refund on something you have barely played but uPlay said once you open it thats it.

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      And that in Australia is not legal. Your rights by Australian law cannot be overriden. If the game is faulty or clearly does not do what was promised when you purchased it then you are legally entitled to a refund regardless of what those "click to play" conditions say.

        You are always 100% entitled to go "This game is crap and I don't want it" and get your dosh back within the first 21 days. Unless the laws changed since I worked in the area, Sony can't actually overwrite that.

      Off to the ACCC with you! :)

        I don't think the ACCC will help you if you bought something and didn't like it or think it was worth it.

          @PiratePete: I feel your pain but I'm with @darren on this one. If the game works and isn't faulty it's not the publishers fault. The only way you could possibly claim that would be if it was misrepresented somehow - like they said on the advertising it was a first person shooter, but in reality it was a turn based RTS or something like that.

          As for knowing whether the game is garbage before launching it, there are a bunch of options. Reviews, gameplay videos, in some cases playable demos. Hell even grabbing a pirate copy (not legal but hey) and trying it out before buying.

          As for the article, it goes to show that knowing your legislation really helps in the event of trying to get a refund. Most of them got stalled but the first example looks like because the person knew the consumer protection information they got their money back. It looks like the guide for anyone trying to get a refund.

          You're correct. Their first stop should be their state government's consumer protection department.

            They won't care either.

              Actually it's their job, and in my experience they perform it well.

                Their job is to give value to your view of a videogame as being 'worth it'?

                  To ensure people get a refund for products that are faulty or not as advertised despite what retailers or manufacturers would like people to believe.

                To ensure people get a refund for products that are faulty or not as advertised despite what retailers or manufacturers would like people to believe.

                I think you've got your threads confused. This one is about someone who bought something then decided they didn't like what they paid for it.

      I recently got screwed by this with uPlay, I bought Anno 1800 opened it up and played it for about 45 minutes before realising it was in no way worth 80AUD. What you just mentioned is completely your problem and you have no legal right to a refund. You can only get a refund if the product is faulty or clearly is not the product it is advertised.

      Some places like Origin and Steam do offer change of mind or no question asked refunds, but it is not a legal right and in this case, further study of the game should have been done to figure out if the game was right for you before purchasing it.

        I understand that it is my problem which is why I haven't pursued it in any way.

        It's just frustrating because nobody offers demo's these days and reviews aren't enough to let you know if a game will be to your taste. Minimum requirements also don't properly let you know the quality of the experience you will have.

          Most games list both minimum and recommended requirements now. I'd always take the minimum requirements with a grain of salt. If the PC doesn't meet the recommended requirements you'll probably have a bad time.

          As I mentioned above, gameplay videos are prevalent these days so if a review doesn't work for you jump on youtube (or twitch or whatever) and have a watch of actual gameplay. I'm not a fan of them (for other reasons) but they do give a much better idea of how the game looks and plays.

          Minimum requirements actually is something you could cite in a refund request. It's a representation the retailer is making before purchase. So if the game doesn't actually function on a system meeting the minimum requirements, it is not as advertised.

          This would only be for real faults in the game, such as it crashing when it runs out of memory. Only running at a lower resolution or dropping frames when on minimum spec hardware probably wouldn't count.

          Oh the lack of demos thing irritates me. Certain games make me sim sick. If I buy it and it's one of those games, it's just, too bad. You're stuck with it. At least let me try a demo first!

        Actually australian consumer law says completely the opposite. There is no limit to refund windows, there is no limit to how much it cost and there is no limit on how much you've played it. I posted links in the story from yesterday about this.

          He's arguing that he didn't like the game, though, not that it didn't meet the advertised standard, quality or content, or that it was faulty in any way other than not meeting his tastes. That is not grounds covered by the ACL, which is probably why he didn't pursue a refund. Simply not liking a game is not grounds for a refund under the ACL where there is no other fault or misrepresentation.

          He's right that the lack of demos can result in a game not being as interesting to you as you thought they would be, which is why Steam's limited window no-questions-asked refund policy, in addition to the rights conferred as an Australian consumer, is a godsend these days.

            Have you actually looked at the ACL? I doubt there are more than a handful of games released in the last 10 years that there wasn't a strong argument that it's not able to get a refund on. From misleading advertising, to cut features that were standard a few years ago brought back as day 1 dlc, to bugs that are never fixed.

            https://www.accc.gov.au/business/treating-customers-fairly/consumers-rights-obligations

              That wasn't his argument though. And yes, I have read the ACL. The "misleading advertising" is avoided as an issue in most cases due to the waivers included in most gameplay advertising, such as "Not representative of actual gameplay" or "Work in progress". Cut features don't qualify as the game is still working as intended at the time of release, even if it doesn't include features you may have expected previously, unless the box or advertising specifically stated those features would be included in the final product. And any claim that bugs in software qualify the software for refund under the ACL would be a tough sell in court unless they are game-breaking or make the game unplayable in some way, rather than being a mild irritant for a small section of it, as there is a reasonable expectation that software will not be perfect at the time of release due to the complexity involved.

                Note: A game with a LOT of bugs would probably qualify, but they would need to have a significant impact on gameplay to qualify as a "flawed" product. Low-quality animations (hello, ME: Andromeda, looking at you here) or a side quest that won't complete would probably not be sufficient to pass this threshold.

      While I can easily argue that 45 minutes isn't enough to know if most games, but particularly a game like that is worth it. I also agree that less than an hour of play time is definitely reasonable to get a refund.

      There was a closed or open beta you could sign up for. I had it but didn't even load it, I knew it wouldn't be my kind of game.

    So much of that is just straight up illegal in Australia. You buy the game from a retailer - you have a contract of sale with that retailer and any and all faults/requests for refund need to go through that retailer. The retailer cannot direct you to speak to the publisher/dev as you have no contract with them. In the first case here the user obviously understands his rights and was eventually able to persuade them for a full refund back to his bank account.

      Damn right!
      Unfortunately it's that lack of understanding that many companies rely and prey on when it comes to this kind of thing.
      Even in Australia I've found knowing you have rights is often only a small part of the battle, you also need to know what rights apply to your situation, what rights you have to counter the many excuses they will throw up to dissuade you and most importantly, that you will pursue and escalate if they ultimately decline to honour your claim.
      Even then you have no guarantee, years ago I had a ridiculously minor request descend in to chaos where I was pushed, threatened and had security called on me.

        A lot of it is ignorance on the part of the staff, though. Knowledge of the rights conferred under the Australian Consumer Law is not universal, and a lot of support staff will be trained that the ToS, EULA and Refund Policy are what they have to go on, especially if they are overseas as a lot of them are these days. Retail counter staff and managers are even worse, as detailed refund rights are not generally a part of standard training, and its down to the individual staff member or manager to know when and how the relevant parts of company refund policy are superseded by the ACL.

          True that, I worked in retail as a teen and only found out about consumer law after all that.
          Most of em are good kids too so there's never a reason to give them grief.
          Thankfully that one turnip was the worst I've ever seen before and since.

    Can I get a refund on this story? 90% of it wasn’t written by the author.

      Sure, here's your $0 back....enjoy!

        Safe bet they made more than that off his ad views if he isn't using an adblocker though :P

      Sure, use that $0 to go read a book you tool.

    a lot of the stuff said here is kinda stupid. it's up to the developer/publisher to fix a game if it's faulty with a level, so it should go through them first to see if it will be fixed or getting a refund then to PlayStation the retailer saying they are allowed a refund. as a gamer, getting funds into your wallet is fine, you will use it to buy stuff on the PSN Store anyway, you will always buy stuff on the store, unless you are 100% physical, in which case... why did you buy a digital game. half the time its the user's fault they can't progress because they are too stubborn to ask on the internet or seek a walkthrough.

    With Anthem, EA said you could get refunds, but really that just set it up so all those jerks will play the game complete it while encountering no issue and return it to get a refund... that is not how it should work. i just don't understand people and their stupid ideas. if it's 100% fixable it's the company and not the Retailer, you also don't need a refund. forgetting to read any info on a game, and saying it's not what you paid for is also a stupid reason for a refund. something like no man sky is fine... ONLY if you didn't go and play for 70 hours experiencing everything. if you wasted 70 hours, its not the game that has a problem, it is you.

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        Exactly. And the biggest reason the reseller should be dealing with the wholesaler is that they have the direct contacts and financial clout. A single consumer is typically screwed. There is very little incentive for a company to make one person happy (even in the social media age). And that's assuming we can even manage to successfully locate a support contact at the game company in the first place.

      as a gamer, getting funds into your wallet is fine

      As another gamer, I disagree.

      If I buy a game that is not as described or is in an unfit state at that time, I am entitled to a refund to my actual debt or credit card.

      This isn't me being entitled or even going by consumer law. It's commerce 101. Either refund or face the wrath or bad word of mouth.

        This can be a bit tricky. If you bought the store credit then that was used to buy the game, then technically, refunding store credit would be refunding to the source used to pay for the game, and this is the argument a lot of the online game stores use to make their case against refunding to cards. Stores like Steam, etc, where you can pay directly to the company obviously aren't covered by this, but companies like EA where you used to have to buy Bioware Points etc in order to purchase DLC etc, would have a case against refunding the money used to buy the points to your card.

          It's really not tricky at all. The ACCC has had laws in place to stop businesses using alternate currency (including store credit) excuses long before digital gaming existed. If the credit was clearly purchased with the intent of spending it on a seperate product (i.e. the credit wasn't given as a gift or something), then the purchase is considered to be made by the original currency.

            I did not know that. I must investigate further.

    Yeah, seeing a whole lot of, (paraphrased): 'It's not in our terms of service/store policy to adhere to Australian consumer law.'
    That'll go down well.

      Yeah, as well as it did for Valve I imagine.

    The stories I see here don't surprise me but at the same time are no less appalling to me.

    Never the less the are some patterns and outright contradictions that I'd like to point out. Heck, by the time I’m finished drafting, etc., I have no doubt three other uses will have written better posts than me.

    Anyhow. CK detailed it best and I'll start there.

    If I every buy online, I always try to insert PayPal between myself and the platform in question (Sony, Microsoft, GoG, etc.). This is so that if I'm not happy I can quickly escalate things in my favor.

    What we have seen with CK is even though he/she managed to hold Sony to a refund, Sony did everything it could to avoid delivering a full refund.

    This is why virtual currency on so many platforms exist.

    Platform providers (e.g.: Sony) will say it is to give a consistent experience and not have to worry about currency exchange rates but in relativity it is trying to create a second form of good to be traded for the original good the customer desired.

    While it is good that the ACCC is taking on Sony, I think online currency should be outright banned due to its abuse and primary objective of creating a loop hole in consumer laws.

    The next point of interest to me is the PlayStation Store platform itself and how selective Sony is with its obligations.

    At the end of the day, if Sony is offering a market place, Sony is not just responsible for collecting funds in return for goods, Sony is also responsible for full refunds to their true source if a license is cancelled (what happens when software is returned).

    But as some stories here show, Sony is selective. Sony is happy to take one’s funds but makes it the responsibility of the developer/publisher to resolve refunds.

    I don't see this happening with Amazon nor eBay so Sony has no excuse.

    Another factor I'm seeing here is the claim that the game licenses are backed by one-time codes that cannot be returned.

    Personally, I think that false and misleading but even if it were true these is one thing Sony cannot combat. That fact that the number of code combinations is virtually infinite.

    Unless the codes are incredibly short (say 24-digit long numbers and nothing else) it is safe to say the number of possible codes will always be in excess of the whole human population now and well into the foreseeable future.

    This actually makes refunds simple - give the user back his or her money and mark that license key (identifier or whatever) as invalid.

    I have said the past that most publishers and even Sony with their own market places are envious of the fresh produce market.

    Once one consumes the product, there is no returning it (an over simplification but please bear with me).

    However, Sony is dealing with binary objects. Supply is infinite and individual items never expire.

    The one-time use limitation is not characteristic of the product. It is a limitation actively imposed by Sony (and other alike).

    And as past history has shown, remote invalidation of a license is possible.

    For example, if I have the code to a downloadable game and get a refund, Sony doesn't have to worry if I give the same card to (say) @weresmurf because Sony has the means to know that card has been used. What Sony lacks is the capacity.

    But what really defeats Sony’s claim is what Amazon did years back. When Amazon learned that their copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four was in violation of copyright law, people were not only refunded but also had the book remotely deleted from their Kindles.

    So yes, Sony can't recall the binary object. But they certainly can delete it as Amazon proves.

    Another common rhetoric being used is the "download" rule.

    Despite what Sony thinks, consumer laws still apply in Australia even when the product is downloaded.

    As everyone knows there are two key terms at play in Australia: not fit for use and product not as described.

    The latter part is basically what came back to haunt No Mans Sky. When that game launched, it was far from what was promised.

    The former I feel applies more frequently than it should to today's games. Especially AAA games that ship in a buggy state.

    As long as Sony is running a market place to sell games, the two scenarios will always apply and it is for Sony (not the developer/publisher) to refund the consumer.

    The final piece of rhetoric is if the user has played the game or not.

    Again, that doesn't remove one's consumer rights. If anything, this makes Sony's own terms unenforceable.

    Back in the 1990s, Microsoft had similar headaches.

    As part of their EULA, if one didn’t agree to the terms the product had to be returned un-opened.

    The only problem was the EULA was in fact a printed booklet inside the box which was shrink wrapped. Needless to say, that line had to be modified for obvious reasons.

    And this is why the "already played" rule is unenforceable regardless of consumer law. Unless the game is played one cannot observe that the game is working or is faulty or is not as described.

    Overall, what is being seen here (and I've seen it for some time now) is how the big names know fully well how the Internet works.

    But rather than work with the Internet, they instead exploit it and take advantage of any gaps in local consumer laws.

      One of the stories involves a user disputing the charge on their credit card, which probably looks roughly the same to Sony as disputing it with PayPal. In that case, the user had their account suspended (which would block access to all their other purchases).

      That doesn't seem like a workable alternative to Sony breaching their obligations under the ACL.

    The refunding as store credit seems to be Sony's attempt to create a bit of a grey area. When you buy a game on the PS Store, you have to add funds to your "wallet", and it's those wallet funds that are used to actually buy the game, even in cases where the checkout streamlines it all into a single step.

    So I wonder if Sony's plan would be to argue that you actually used your credit card to buy "wallet funds", which worked fine when you used them to purchase the game. And thus if you are legally entitled to a refund then they're allowed to refund it as "wallet funds" since that's what you used to buy the game? Ie the funds themselves worked so you're not entitled to a refund on those? I doubt the ACCC would see it that way, though.

      That's sure as hell what it looks like. You didn't purchase GameX with 80 Australian Dollars... you purchased 80 SonyBux with 80 Australian Dollars - Transaction 1. Then you transferred 80 SonyBux and received GameX for it, in Transaction 2. So if you want a refund for GameX, it's going to be a refund for Transaction 2, which is 80 SonyBux. Transaction 1 is unrelated, in Sony's eyes, to Transaction 2.

        That's how so many places roll these days. Almost every in game purchase the days is with in game "currency"

        Yep that's why it's illegal.

        Back in the late 90's I worked for Cash Converters. When people would come in, my boss, John, who was rather dodgy, had a giant sign above the back wall at Cannon Hill (the old Cannon Hill Cashies in Brisbane at Save City) it said "NO REFUNDS: STORE CREDIT ONLY".

        This sign lasted three months til we got a visit from some guy (I suspect the ACCC? Was it around back then in 1999???) who told my boss to take it down immediately or he'd face litigation as it was illegal.

        This is Sony's attempt to do exactly that. "We'll refund but only in store credit only" which is illegal in Australia. Store credit is never an option unless the consumer accepts it, or unless it's under only specific circumstances.

        Sony's just basically condemned themselves to failure.

          I should clarify: Store credit is illegal to ENFORCE unless the consumer CHOOSES to accept it. The only other time is if they have a 'change of mind' policy, i.e. the property has absolutely nothing wrong with it and the customer just wants to swap it for no reason. If it's fault free, then the store can absolutely choose to enforce this. If it's faulty however, then a refund is always an option.

            They can refund in store credit if that's what the purchase was made with, can't they? Eg if you buy something using a gift card and return it, they won't give you a cash refund, they'll just give you an equivalent value gift card.

              That's different. You get your refund generally in the way you paid for it. But if you paid cash, they can't opt to refund in store credit if the item is faulty. However if you purchased in store credit, then they can opt to only refund that way of course. Same as if you purchased in a gift card, they can opt to only refund in a form of a gift card as well.

                This is Sony's attempt to do exactly that. "We'll refund but only in store credit only" which is illegal in Australia. This and You get your refund generally in the way you paid for it. are the problem. The ONLY way to purchase products on PSN is via PSn credit. Unlike Xbox and Steam which allows store credit and direct purchases, all purchases, even if they appear direct, are via you topping up your 'PSN Wallet" and then that is used to purchase the software. Its automatic and very loosey mentioned when purchasing software.

                So in a way, you can never get a full refund when purchasing on PSN, its always a wallet refund and that sa huge problem that will present itself I will feel leading to the court case.

                Nintendo does a very similar method, there is no buying a game for money with Credit Card or paypal or etc directly, its pay via credit card, which then automatically tops up your wallet which is then subducted to pay for the game. However in Nintendo's case, it's very direct this is happening (and I am not 100% sure how it works with Paypal, just that's how cards work)

                  Going by previous ACCC prosecutions, that kind of sophistry likely won't hold up. Assuming you're making purchases larger than $5, there is no change in the wallet balance as part of the purchase. If this goes to court, the judge is likely to rule it a single transaction and that refunds need to be made in the form Sony originally billed the customer.

      Also for @transientmind.

      This is why back in the day if I did buy via the XBLA and other stories, I only bought themes.

      They were cheap and if they turned bad, I only lost a few bucks.

      I knew back then the digital currency was to try and act as a buffer between them and the law.

    The silliest thing in all of this, the examples given by the ACCC above...
    are all dated 9 months or greater after the Valve vs ACCC court ruling :P

    Which makes any excuse Sony pulls out of their collective butt, not is only against Australian Law, but an Australian Law that was clearly documented to have been upheld by one of the highest courts in the land!

    My dealings with them were just as frustrating, sighting from memory at least 3 failures of the consumer guarantees for a game. But they simply flat out refused to acknowledge the law here and would only follow their own policy. After several emails and phones calls they simple refused to listen and would hang up and ignore my emails.

    After speaking with the ACCC they said I would need to take it to small claims, honestly who has the time for that BS. But they did mention at the time they were compiling info about Sony for this kind of action which is good to see finally. However I'm no longer a Sony customer, and after having similar issues with repair of a Sony TV they can go get f#$cked.

    This is why I flat-out refuse to buy Switch ports of things like the Megaman X Collection where half the content is DLC instead of the cartridge: It's not actually a game.
    I don't actually OWN those games I have to download. Sure I've PAID for them, but they ain't mine. And honestly, that's a bad use of my money.

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