PlayStation fined $2.4m by Australian consumer watchdog

PlayStation fined $2.4m by Australian consumer watchdog

Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe has been fined AUD$3.5m ($2.4m) by Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

In a statement, the watchdog said that the PlayStation maker had misled its users about their consumer rights in the country. Sony Europe is accused of claiming that customers were unable to refund games after they had been downloaded, or if a fortnight had passed since they were bought.

The case was brought against Sony in May 2019 with Sony admitting liability. As well as the fine, the PlayStation maker will be contributing to the ACCC's legal costs.

“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,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“What Sony told these consumers was false and does not reflect the consumer guarantee rights afforded to Australian consumers under the Australian Consumer Law.

"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.

“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."

This follows the ACCC winning a similar case against Steam giant Valve

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Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.