The ACCC has taken Sony Europe to the Federal Court, accusing the company of making false and misleading representations to Australians on its website and PlayStation online store.
The regulator reported that Sony told consumers seeking a refund for faulty games that it did not have to provide money back for games that had been downloaded, or if 14 days had passed in a physical purchase.
Sony was also alleged to tell customers it did not have to give refunds unless the consumer was informed the game was irreparably faulty or authorised a refund by the game developer.
Additionally, the company was said to have offered consumers refunds using virtual PlayStation currency instead of money.
The ACCC said that Sony’s representations did not reflect customer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law.
“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,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.
“Consumers who buy digital products online have exactly the same rights as they would at a physical store.
“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.”
The ACCC has also alleged that from October 2017, Sony Europe told consumers in its terms of service that its liability to provide redress for faulty products was limited.
The Consumer Law applies to all businesses that engage with Australian customers.
“No matter where in the world a company has its headquarters, if it is selling to Australian consumers, the Australian Consumer Law applies,” Mr Sims said.
Last year, the High Court backed the Full Federal Court’s decision in the ACCC’s case against gaming retailer Valve Corporation. It ruled that games it sold online to Australian consumers were subject to the Australian Consumer Law despite the company being incorporated in the USA.
The ACCC is seeking pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, correctives and costs.