• Report: #994154

Complaint Review: Sony Online Entertainment Inc

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  • Submitted: Wed, January 09, 2013
  • Updated: Wed, January 09, 2013

  • Reported By: Coeco — Stockholm Other Sweden
Sony Online Entertainment Inc
8928 Terman Ct, San Diego, CA 92121 San Diego, California United States of America

Sony Online Entertainment Inc Sony Online Refund Fraud, Ignoring The Law - SoE Policies > Judicial System San Diego, California

*Author of original report: @Chris

*Consumer Comment: Distance and Doorstep Sales Act

*Author of original report: @Ken - (USA)

*Consumer Comment: Does your 6+ year veteran or their games....

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I contacted Sony Online Entertainment's customer support through e-mail at 12/21/2012 05:54 AM after being referred to do so through their support staff by one of their representatives on the social networking site, Twitter after explaining my situation in regards to having a series of purchases I've made on their software game called Planetside 2 to be retroactively granted a certain bonus sale they had without announcement suddenly given out to all purchasing customers (minutes/hours after I have made my purchases)to have a 3x boost of in-game currency.

I asked in good faith if an exception could be made to the very slim time-line gap since I am an 6+ year veteran of their games along with being a currently premium-paying player. Five days later, I received a response to my "Ticket" by a polite man named Charles who explained to me that there could be no retroactive grants because of a policy they have which can be found here: 

http://help.station.sony.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/31262I 

I Ignored that this policy in question was for 2x "Station Cash" sales when my query was about the 3x "Station Cash" (which was also unannounced)  and kindly asked for a refund instead as I referred to rights from the Swedish Distance and Doorstep Sales Act (knowing that SoE does not have a good reputation with refunds in the gaming community) since I am a lawful citizen of Sweden and Charles then told me he was unable to help me at his end because It would go against their policies so he kindly forwarded me to their Billing Manager, Lyman Tuttle whom I sent an email to at 12/27/2012, explaining my situation and referring to the conversation I had with Charles including the ticket ID.

Over a week later, I was sent an automated response, quoting the same policy that Charles have brought up without the slightest hint of notice towards my petition for a refund.

I understand full and well from a billing perspective that my Retroactive Grant request may be out of hand but ignoring refund requests with very specific law references is just gravely unserious/illegal business practice. 

The first contact support ID with Charles: #121221-000948

Second with Lyman, their billing manager: #121227-001034

After receiving the automatic answer from their billing manager's email with yet another policy quote, I decided to contact the BBB (which accredits their business) and after explaining my situation, they've contacted the business themselves in regards to my incident and I got a very quick prompt reply from yet another representative of the company whom goes by the name Matthew S. Garretson-Pugh, also exclaiming quotes from their policies at their website with no regard or notice towards the law I have repeatedly stated (nor the rights it gives me from the Distant and Doorsteps Sales Act that is designed to protect Swedish citizens from situations exactly like this one) with, and I quote: "This is not a legal matter and Mr. (My name) is not entitled to or eligible for a refund"

Shortly after, however, they yet again, very quickly replied to my response (where I clearly explained that if I'm in Sweden as a Swedish citizen and you sell a product/service to me, I got consumer laws protecting me here) saying that their End User License Agreement is "Legally binding" and that it goes above any judicial system. (Then a little something-something about them being in California with services in Europe, which apparently removes any consumer right laws outside their own region)

Minutes after that, BBB read their replied and administratively forced my complaint shut while referring me to the FTC (Sent them my story as well) and said that SoE will now be on their "Companys Reliability Report" while still having letting the business keep an A+ rating.

I find these kinds of business practices to be physically sickening and I would whole-heartedly prompt anyone to seek legal action against this "Company" whenever possible.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/09/2013 03:11 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Sony-Online-Entertainment-Inc/San-Diego-California-92191-8928/Sony-Online-Entertainment-Inc-Sony-Online-Refund-Fraud-Ignoring-The-Law-SoE-Policies--994154. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
2Author 2Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

@Chris

AUTHOR: Coeco - ()

Thank you for your input, Chris. I am well aware that the law itself is considerably stretched out and flawed with many loop-holes. And like with anything else, If you do look at it from a certain perspective, It can indeed seem like It doesn't cover. But the fact is, it does.

As you quoted from the book and from the overall view of things on today's digital market, purchases made on software services are almost all "permanent" with the exception of gambling items (Which are non-refundable for obvious reasons) and thus, purchases for such "items" or "services" can be classified as a kind of subscription, or Avtal/Abonnemang in Swedish. It is thus an agreement between the two parties that the consumer makes an order for a service (An service-order/avtal/abonnemang tillskrivelse) and If the "service" would be unsatisfactionary, the consumer currently both located during the purchase and actively living in the Kingdom of Sweden as a Swedish citizen would be protected in this case with the refund laws concerning "Services" because It was an order/agreement/purchase/service placed over the Internet. That much is clear to you I hope.

Now to the exceptions. Most of them are self-explaining and doesn't have any remote connection to the current situation except two. I will list them both so It will be easier to deduct.

 

1. "Chapter 2 section 3 exempts the right of withdrawal for the following types of contracts: accommodation; transportation; serving, catering or any other similar services; cultural events, sporting events, or any other similar leisure activitie"

This section is very vague. But It's basically giving a list of what some of the exceptions are in the order of: House/Living quarters, Transportation... Here is where It gets tricky. The law uses the word "servering". This can mean serving which can frankly mean a lot of things. But what it is most commonly (and definition-wise) used as is the serving of alcohol. To say for example, bars in Sweden needs a "serveringtillstånd", a license to sell booze. You could argue that they meant otherwise but the fact is that "Leisure activities" follows shortly after which makes the case quite clear.

 

2. "a service, the performance of which has begun with the consumers consent during the withdrawl period"

This would be another potential snag if it wasn't for the fact that the "Withdrawal period", AKA known as "ångerfristen" in Swedish is the period of where the moment I bought the product and in this case, 14 days forward requires the "Consumers consent". And since I basically just bought a virtual item, there's no consent given after my purchase from me. Even stuff like the terms of use and conditions of ordering is BEFORE the actual withdrawal period starts counting.

 

3 "goods which, by their nature, cannot be returned or are liable to determine or expire rapidly;"

Since it is only a virtual item that is not affected by trade or even any kind of market, it is considered a "bound" product/service that can be returned without any kind of loss or damage for the company that gave it out. Nor does it "deteriorate" or "expire" because It is technically permament. Unless it has a limited amount of time of usage. Which items in Planetside 2 does not have.


4. "a sealed audio or video recording or sealed computer software, where the seal has been broken"

It is an Internet download with no physical seals being broken which is only what this section covers.

 

5. "gaming or other lottery services"This quote is downright wrong. The real quote from the law is:"5. vadhållning eller andra lotteritjänster."Which means an agreement between two parties to bet money or other items of value or lottery/gambling services. The quote itself can be found in the law at Kapitel 2, Sektion 4, Stub 5.

 

 

I would end my rebuttal right here but I would also like to bring up the extensions of this law to avoid any further confusion about Sony's illegal billing activites. The extensions revolve around how information must be delivered to the customer and in Sony's case, there is below minimal information in regards to refund in the actual store. The only actual information available to the customer are vague descriptions, the pricing for their self-controlled in-game currency and a 2d picture of the product.

This is nowhere close to the standards of the Swedish Marketing Act whereas Sony has failed to not only clearly explain the terms of payment but also completely negates to explain the customers rights.

 

 

My rebuttal has heavy need of polish and structual checking but it is currently 6 AM here and I hope this will be clear any misunderstandings or misinformation that you and others have potentially suffered from. I thank you again for the input, Chris.

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#2 Consumer Comment

Distance and Doorstep Sales Act

AUTHOR: Chris the Lost Sheep - ()

Forgive me, but after reading on the act I don't believe your understanding of the act is correct.

From my reading,

"As is the case for the duty to provide information, Chapter 2 section 3 exempts the right of withdrawal for the following types of contracts: accommodation; transportation; serving, catering or any other similar services; cultural events, sporting events, or any other similar leisure activities, if the service shall be provided 'on a specified day or during a specified period of time'.  Neither is the right of withdrawal granted for granted for distance contracts regarding sales of food other goods intended for everday household consuption, where the goods intended for everday household consumption, where the goods are to be supplied in the consumer's residence or workplace in a regular distribution system.


In addition, the right of withdrawal does not apply to distance contracts regarding: 1

-a service, the performance of which has begun with the consumers consent during the withdrawl period;

-goods which, by their nature, cannot be returned or are liable to determine or expire rapidly;

-a sealed audio or video recording or sealed computer software, where the seal has been broken;

-a newspaper or periodical; or

-gaming or other lottery services"

1. Chapter 2 s. 4 Distance and Doorstep Sales Act.
Exerts taken from Cyber Law in Sweden by Christine Kirchberger Pages 170 and 171

Cheers :) , though personally the definitions used to describe distance meant any sale not made face to face, im not sure that also includes other nations, furthermore in pages before it sounds as if the act treats the location of the company is the location of the company not where the transaction occured or the location of servers and equipment.  Also not sure if America and Sweden have treaties that press that laws allow the authority of that law to continue in internation soil. 

Regardless if you honestly feel that im in error feel free to seek legal aid, as only a lawyer can offer you a true answer, as laws and acts have to be interpted.

Best wishes.

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#3 Author of original report

@Ken - (USA)

AUTHOR: Coeco - ()

The issue here is only partly their zealous attempts of no flexibility towards consumers until death but the fact that they are blatantly ignoring the law. I suppose you never took the time to actually read my report before flinging poo from your diaper like the obedient little SoE fanboy that you are, punk.

You can now go back into a corner and keep eating your own s**t.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Does your 6+ year veteran or their games....

AUTHOR: Ken - (USA)

get you special treatment?

It would appear like NOT.

What, exactly, did they do to RIP you OFF?

They stated their policy and you chose to invoke (in your mind) a technicality that would enable you to believe you were ripped off.

You can now go back in the corner and pout for awhile.

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