Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe has been fined $3.5million (£2.8m) by an Australian court after refusing to refund customers who are believed to have purchased faulty digital products.
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The case came to light after Sony refused to refund the digital purchases, made by four consumers, that had been downloaded or where 14 days had passed since the purchase was made. A fifth consumer was offered a refund via digital PlayStation credit. By doing this, Sony was found guilty of breaking Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
Rod Sims, the chairman of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), stated that “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”.
The company were also found guilty of breaking ACL when one consumer was told it did not have to provide a refund unless the game developer authorised it. “What Sony told these consumers was false,” Sims declared. “Consumers can obtain a repair, replacement or refund directly for products with a major fault from sellers and cannot simply be sent to a product developer.”
Sony have admitted liability resulting in the $3.5 million fine and will also contribute to the ACCC’s legal costs.
Sony was originally intending to showcase its PlayStation 5 this week and reveal various games for the new hardware. The company has postponed the date indefinitely after stating that they wish “to allow more important voices to be heard” in the wake of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.