The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has filed a complaint with The Australian Federal Court stating that since September 2017, Sony Europe is breaching consumer law by refusing to honour refund requests 14+ days after a game has been downloaded. As reported by GI.biz, the ACCC maintains this contravenes the consumer rights guaranteed under Australian law.
“We allege that Sony Europe gave false and misleading information to their customers about their rights in relation to games sold via its PlayStation Store,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said via a statement. “Consumer guarantees do not expire after a digital product has been downloaded as we allege Sony Europe told consumers, and refunds must be given in the form of original payment unless a consumer chooses to receive it in store credit.
“Consumers who buy digital products online have exactly the same rights as they would at a physical store,” he added, before insisting that “no matter where in the world a company has its headquarters, if it is selling to Australian consumers, the Australian Consumer Law applies.”
The ACCC has also lodged a complaint against Sony Europe’s parent company, Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe.
Valve’s Steam and Ubisoft’s Uplay both run afoul of similar laws in France law last year. Valve was fined €147,000 (£130k) and Ubisoft €180,000 (£160k) when French courts upheld complaints that neither of the company’s online stores informed consumers that their rights to refunds – as set out in French law – are being denied. At the time, Steam offered refunds in a 14-day window – but only if a game has been played for under two hours – while Uplay meanwhile offered no refunds at all. Both approaches weren’t illegal per se, but the courts agreed that the issue was that neither company explicitly told consumers their digital stores were in breach of national law.