The other day, a BBC Watchdog investigation that looked at how Sony Computer Entertainment Europe handles digital refunds was aired on BBC One, and Sony has since responded to it.
The investigation looked at a few cases in which people’s accounts were hacked and fraudulently charged. In those cases, Sony refused to restore the customers’ money, saying that there is a strict “no refund” policy in place. One case that was showcased in the investigation mentioned that PlayStation account owner Alex Archer had £114 worth of games purchased from his account. He contacted Sony, which refused to refund his money, so he then contacted his bank. His bank reversed the charge to Sony and gave him his money back, but Sony then blocked his account, saying that it would remain blocked until Archer paid back the £114.
Sony sent in a comment to Watchdog, saying that it has since reconsidered its stance on Archer’s case.
We would like to thank BBC Watchdog for bringing these cases to our attention. Having reviewed the evidence, we concluded that these appear to be fraudulent transactions, and further, that unfortunately the service received by both Mr Archer and Mr Lappin fell below the high standards we set for ourselves. We would like to apologise to them both, and notify them that we have taken immediate action to reinstate their accounts and refund the wallet top up as appropriate.
We are also reviewing the investigation process that is applied to allegations of unauthorised account use.
We take the safety and security of our customers’ accounts very seriously, and have a range of industry-leading security measures in place to protect our customers. It is, however, imperative that all consumers take every precaution to protect their personal details online.
If customers would like advice on how best to protect themselves from possible internet fraud – and we strongly recommend they do so – they can visit uk.playstation.com/support or to https://www.getsafeonline.org/protecting-yourself
However, when asked by Watchdog if it will continue blocking accounts that forced Sony to give them refunds, Sony said (according to Chris Hollins during the show) that it “admitted it had lessons to learn, but said it would carry on suspending the accounts of customers who say they’ve been hacked while they investigate claims.”