Digital game refund policies have been pretty bog-standard for a while now. There are no refunds unless the product is completely broken and does not work on the console. And while there’s some grey area here and there between the consoles, their refund policies are just about the same. However, usually companies would pay special attention and care when an account is hacked and games are bought with the card. In most cases, the person hacked has the money refunded to them, since their account being hacked is not their fault. Sony’s Playstation Network, however, has been very slow on responding to these types of requests. So slow, that the BBC picked up on it.
The BBC Watchdog segment recently aired an episode on Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s digital refund policy. Recently, there have been a number of cases where credit card hacking and fraud has caused those hacked to have their accounts locked. John Lappin, a former PlayStation 4 owner, was one of these cases.
After providing evidence that his account had been compomised by another person, Sony confirmed that the £39.99 purchase was made from a different PlayStation system, although hesitant to release any more information than that to Lappin. An email from Sony stated the following:
“Our investigation concluded that the serial number of the console on which these transactions were made does not match the serial number of the console you provided to us on your original call. Regrettably, as stated in the PlayStation Network Terms of Service, we are unable to offer a refund for purchases made on PlayStation Store unless the content is found to be defective.”
Lappin was told he could not be offered a refund, since he could not prove to Sony that he didn’t just buy the questioned content from another PlayStation system, giving him the free content. After an extended email chain, the case was closed by Sony. Lappin was then only refunded the stolen money two weeks into the BBC Watchdogs investigation. Lappin states,
“You can look at this two ways, Sony are all fine because, hey, they did refund me in the end, or you can view it as pretty bad that it took six months, multiple calls and emails and a TV investigation before they cynically refunded me so they can say ‘the affected users have since been refunded, we regret…’ on TV when they’re asked about it.”
Do you think Sony was right to wait so long to refund Lappin? Do you think that there needs to be some reform in digital refund policy? Sound off in the comments!