Sony's refund policy is as follows: "You can cancel a digital content purchase within 14 days of the date of transaction, provided that you have not started downloading or streaming it. Digital content that you have started downloading, streaming [...] are not eligible for a refund unless the content is faulty."
Think about how unreasonable that sounds.
What if the game you bought turns out to be not as advertised? What if the game you bought isn't as good as you expected it to be? What if the game you bought, while not being completely faulty, has major technical flaws that affect your experience?
It seems that, as more and more games release, there are increasingly cases of games with false advertising and/or technical problems, yet consumers who have bought and played the game can do nothing about it. It's morally wrong, and frankly seems dubious from a legal standpoint – it's safe to assume that in almost every country where PlayStation consoles are available, there's some sort of consumer rights law that protects against false marketing claims, yet Sony's refund policy doesn't seem to adhere to that.
An excellent – albeit controversial – example for why we need a better refund policy is the release of No Man's Sky. Just to clarify, I haven't played Hello Games' space-faring sim and therefore don't have an opinion on it from a gameplay point of view, but I think it's reasonable that people should be able get a refund due to false advertising. Whether you like the game or not, the build up to No Man's Sky is a good example of how not to run a marketing campaign: tiny snippets of gameplay and information that led to questions of "what exactly do you do?" and a general uncertainty about the product.
Take the whole multiplayer controversy: many people were led to believe that No Man's Sky would have multiplayer, yet on that fateful day when two Twitch streamers stood in the exact same spot and couldn't see each other, many people felt rightfully confused about it. Surely it's in those people's rights to be able to get a refund if they felt they'd be lied to? Surely editor Sammy Barker, who felt disappointed by No Man's Sky in his video review, and everyone else who found it lacklustre, should be entitled to getting their money back if they felt the advertising campaign falsely advertised the product?
The fact that I used the word "entitled" could make people think of me as some spoiled, arrogant gamer. But I'm not asking for some new rule to be created – as I said before, there are consumer rights acts in almost every country. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 in the UK entitles people to refunds if the product isn't of satisfactory quality, isn't as described, or doesn't match a sample; I'm just asking Sony to change their policy to reflect that. We use refund policies for clothes, food, and goods all the time. Why should gaming be any different?
Many people felt that games like Aliens: Colonial Marines, Watch Dogs, and Tom Clancy's The Division looked better in trailers than when the actual game released. When games like Battlefield 4, Assassin's Creed Unity, DriveClub, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 launched, they were broken and plagued by technical problems. How many more cases of false advertising and broken games should we take before Sony does something about it?
In fact, last year, Valve implemented a new refund policy on their PC game marketplace Steam that entitled consumers to refunds within 14 days of purchase if the game had been played for less than two hours. Many people predicted that indie studios would shut down due to refund policy abuse, but no – PC gaming is on the up-and-up, with sales expecting to eclipse console sales by the end of this year.
Were Sony to implement this policy, not only would it save consumers money and make buying games less of a gamble, but it would also encourage developers and publishers to ensure that their games are finished (a very reasonable request) and prevent them from making outlandish and false statements during marketing.
Valve's refund policy reads as follows: "You can request a refund for nearly any purchase on Steam – for any reason. Maybe your PC doesn't meet the hardware requirements; maybe you bought a game by mistake; maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it. It doesn't matter."
Think about how reasonable that sounds.
Do you agree with Sam that Sony should implement a refund policy on the PlayStation Store, or is this kind of system too easily open to abuse? Ask for your money back in the comments section below.
Should Sony implement a refunds policy on the PlayStation Store? (125 votes)
Yes, this is a basic consumer right and needs to be added pronto
To be honest, I'm not really sure
No, it could be open to exploitation and could hurt smaller devs
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