In a recent case, the Federal Court of Australia ordered Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe Limited (Sony) to pay a $3.5 million penalty and $100,000 of the ACCC’s legal costs after they admitted that they had breached the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The Court ruled that Sony had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and had made false and misleading representations in relation to consumer guarantees. Such conduct occurred when customers called Sony customer service representatives after experiencing difficulties when downloading and playing games from the online PlayStation store. On multiple occasions, the customer service representatives told the customers that Sony was not required to refund the games, if more than 14 days had passed since purchase or if it had already been downloaded. Further, Sony was found to have misled customers as to their rights pursuant to ACL in its Terms of Service. In their Terms, Sony had implied that the users of the PlayStation network, did not have consumers guarantees in relation to the quality and performance of digital games. This case demonstrates that Companies must be aware of their obligations under ACL, or risk facing heavy and detrimental penalties.

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