Sony Fined $2.4 Million for Its PlayStation Store Refund Policy & Misleading Customers

Sony has been recently fined in Australia with a whopping $2.4 Million USD or $3.5 million in AUD, to Sony Europe (who controls the company’s activities in the country) for a violation of the country’s consumer laws related to the return policy of the PlayStation Store.

There were many users who complained to Sony about the return of a game they considered defective, and their requests were rejected for two reasons. The first reason that the company claims is that the game had been purchased digitally and that the purchase had been made more than 14 days before the claim. These reasons are not contemplated by the laws of the country and therefore have been sanctioned.

Another of the sanctioned behaviors was to tell a consumer that they could not return the money for their game unless authorized by the developer and that if they did they would return it as a balance for the PlayStation Store and not in their method of payment.

“Consumer guarantee rights do not expire after a digital product has been downloaded and certainly do not disappear after 14 days or any other arbitrary date claimed by a game store or developer,” can be read in a statement made by Rod Sims, head of the Australian Commission for Competition and Consumer. “What Sony told these consumers was false and does not reflect the consumer guarantee rights afforded to Australian consumers under the Australian Consumer Law.”

“Refunds under the consumer guarantees must also be given in cash or money transfer if the consumer originally paid in one of those ways, unless the consumer chooses to receive store credit,” Sims further commented.

In the past, other companies such as Valve have been sanctioned for the same reason, since they cannot impose their criteria in these terms and must conform to the laws of the country in which they want to operate.