Wednesday, 29 May 2019 10:26

ACCC takes Sony to court over alleged consumer law breaches Featured

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ACCC takes Sony to court over alleged consumer law breaches Image by InspiredImages from Pixabay

The Australian competition watchdog has taken Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe Limited and its parent company, Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe Limited, to the Federal Court for making false or misleading representations to Australians on its website, and in dealings with customers of the PlayStation online store.

From about September 2017, Sony is alleged to have told consumers who wanted refunds for faulty games that it was under no obligation to provide refunds for games that had been downloaded, or it a fortnight had passed since the game was purchased, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a statement.

The company is also claimed to have to have told consumers there was no need to provide refunds unless the developer of a game told the consumer the game was faulty or authorised a refund.

Consumers were also allegedly told that Sony could provide refunds in virtual PlayStation currency instead of real money.

These statements are said to be false and misleading and not reflective of Australian Consumer 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.

“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."

Under Australian law, consumers can claim a refund, repair or replacement for a product that is faulty due to its lack of acceptable quality, if it does not match published descriptions, or is not fit for purpose.

“Sony Europe’s alleged conduct may have caused Australian consumers to not seek a refund, replacement or repair for a faulty game when the Australian Consumer Law gave them a right to do so,” Sims said.

Another charge against Sony Europe was that from October 2017, its terms of service claimed its liability to provide refunds for faulty products was limited, when this was untrue.

“No matter where in the world a company has its headquarters, if it is selling to Australian consumers, the Australian Consumer Law applies,” Sims said.

The ACCC has sought pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, correctives and costs from Sony Europe.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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