- Aug 25, 2020
Sony Europe (which controls Sony's operations in Australia) has been fined $3.5 Million AUD for misleading Australian consumers over its refund policy. The company has been ordered to pay this amount in penalties for "making false and misleading representations" regarding Australian Consumer Law rights. You can read the full release from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission here. The court case that led to this settlement involved a series of consumers who contacted Sony over a game they deemed faulty. They were refused refunds for two reasons: the game was purchased digitally and it had been 14 days since they made the purchase. These responses from Sony do not align with Australian consumer law, so the case went to court. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2018/10/09/ps5-features-we-really-want"] Another breach of ACL came as Sony told a consumer that it could not provide a refund "unless the game developer authorized it" and told another that the refund would have to be issued using digital currency only usable on the PlayStation Store. "Consumer guarantee rights do not expire after ad 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,” reads a statement from Rod Sims, chair of the ACCC. "What Sony told these consumers was false and does not reflect the consumer guarantee rights afforded to Australian consumers." According to the release from the ACCC, Sony Europe's terms of service implied that users "did not have consumer guarantee rights regarding the quality, functionality, completeness, accuracy or performance of their purchased digital games" between October 2017 and May 2019. You may remember back in 2014 when the ACCC sued Valve for similar reasons over its refunds policy. In 2018, the High Court of Australia dismissed Valve's attempt to appeal a $3 million fine. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.