Sony will need to pay Australia $2.4 million in fines due to digital refund obfuscation

    
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Well, bye...

Amidst delays for digital events and ongoing corporate efforts to deal with the wolves somehow infesting its headquarters, Sony didn’t really need more bad news. But it got that, as the console manufacturer has been ordered to pay $2.4 million in fines ($3.5 million in Australian currency) due to misleading and unclear refund policies on the game’s digital storefront. It would probably have just been easier to refund the games when customers asked for refunds.

Of course, this particular process started in 2019, but it’s hardly the first time that unclear digital refunds have hit online storefronts, with similar lawsuits filed at Steam prior to Valve clearly spelling out a single and consistent refund policy. It also extends to debates about the differences between digital distribution and physical retail purchases, so expect these sorts of debates to continue for a while. Although you should probably also expect more clarity from Sony regarding refund policies, as the company probably does not want to be fined for millions of dollars again.

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Morgan

– rep Sony

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Jack Pipsam

It’s actually against Australian law for a store to display a “No Refunds” sign, the Australian Consumer Law is very specific that if a product is faulty or “not fit for purpose”, then the consumer has the right to repair, replacement or refund. There is no difference between if a good is physical or digital under the law as far as I’m aware.

The ACCC is great, they’re always going after dodgy corporations, right now they’re tackling Google over privacy stuff.
The actual fine being so tiny isn’t really the point or goal, the point is these companies are dragged into court and have a legal ruling against them for something they did and often that leads to change.
I mean let’s be honest, Steam only brought in a refund policy at all because they were being sued by the ACCC lol.

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rafael12104

Say what you will, but the Aussies protect their consumers. The grotesque warning on cigarattes, the zero tolerance for drunk driving, the Steam lawsuit, and now the Sony judgment. And I’m sure there are more we don’t know about.

Do I want government mucking around in everything we do? No. Not by a long shot, but obvious abuses by big Corps who usually get by using giant loop holes in laws meant to protect citizen/consumers? It’s the Aussie way or the highway, bois!

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Jack Pipsam

The ACCC (the organisation who is response for going after companies) is constantly on a roll doing things, but naturally the vast-vast majority of it is only relevant to local news.

I think one of the funniest things they ended up doing was going after all the ISPs about their internet speeds lol. They forced all ISPs to disclose their actual average peak-time download speeds. So you might see on a website “50Mb down UNLIMITED DATA! (average speeds 34Mb)”.

They also strong-armed ISPs into allowing people off contracts if they weren’t getting the speeds they were advertised. It’s great.
I mean they don’t always win, but they’re always kicking up the hornets nest for corporations doing a dodgy and I think it’s funny as heck.
They’re now going after Google and Facebook over privacy and ad-sharing stuff, if the ACCC wins that, it’ll send a proper shock-wave through those companies.
Of course it goes without saying the ACCC is an independent government body. That way our current S H I T E government and terrible PM can’t actually stop them being good at what they do.

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Bruno Brito

I wonder if all that cool stuff makes it worth to live in a place where spiders are human-sized :c

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Jack Pipsam

Honestly spiders aren’t that big of an issue as long as you don’t go sticking your fingers where you can’t see them in old sheds and outside. And most people live in the cities and suburbs where say the super dangerous spiders don’t like it as much.
Spider deaths aren’t really actually a thing here, I think it was something like 40 years without a spider death. You’d have a 1 in a 27 million chance of dying from a spider. There is legit far more likely to being killed by a shark than a spider and the likelihood of being killed by a shark is already itself very unlikely statistically.

A bit like the USA, you’re far more likely than anything else to be killed by the police or another human than ANY animal, we have dangerous critters, but they’re not normally where a lot of people are.

What will kill ya? Car crashes, drowning, fires, strokes, cancer etc same as anywhere else.

Dropbears though… they can get ya’.

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Bruno Brito

I use spiders more in a way to say that there’s some freaky stuff in Australia. Snakes on stores, spiders, crocodiles, etc etc.

They’re kinda scary. But yeah, the country itself is amazing.

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Jeremy Barnes

2.4 million..
Sony made a net profit of 8.264 Billion in 2019
The fine is 0.03% rounded up of their profit

…and like many such fines…how and when it will actually be paid is not spelled out and will never be followed up on.

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Jon Wax

They’ll pay it in the form of PlayStation store cards

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Jeremy Barnes

You joke, but something along those lines isn’t crazy. For example, AT&T got a similar fine in the US and instead of paying cash they were allowed to provide ‘free’ services to the poor..which they totally accidentally ended up charging them for…of course those free services were not barred from collecting user data or of the other things they do to make a profit.

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Jack Pipsam

It’s not really about the actual fine itself than the company being dragged through court, often resulting in them changing their practices and submit to the consumer law.

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Jeremy Barnes

It absolutely is about the fine. It is supposed to be a deterrent to not do it again. This does nothing to stop them from doing it again..or stopping them from engaging in a nefarious business practice then running it until they get boinked and stopping after profiting from it.

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Bruno Brito

Again: The internal conflict i’m feeling right now is off the charts.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

Maybe one day consumer rights will catch up to the digital age. Glad to see a start here in Australia.