BBC One has a show called Watchdog that focuses on consumers and businesses. It typically involves customers getting tangled in store policies, too good to be true deals, and consumer law.
Recently, Watchdog televised an episode dealing with digital purchases from Sony. In particular when there are fraudulent charges a gamer wants looked into and rectified. Eurogamer posted an excellent summary of the show detailing what happened to various people.
In summary, Sony’s terms of service and customer feedback is lacking. It pits customers up against a stonewall of resistance, though the gamer did nothing wrong and is just trying to get his or her money back. There is a chance Sony will suspend the account too. This helps prevent further fraud charges where a credit card is linked to a profile, but that also means the innocent gamer is locked out of his own gaming account.
Once the bank had refunded the balance, it took that £114 back from Sony. In response, Sony blocked Alex’s account, which prevented him from accessing online features and playing games he’d previously bought.
Archer was told that’s how things would stay until he paid Sony the £114 his bank had charged the company. Apparently 21 other people Watchdog spoke with suffered the same problem.
Due to pressure from the Watchdog show, Sony gave in and compensated gamers who were initially getting denied. Sounds good, but it turns out they were one-off deals. Asked about the policy, Sony replied they would go back to their usual terms and service policies.
Watchdog pressed Sony on the issue of blocking accounts of those who had forced through refunds. Here’s what Chris Hollins said during the segment:
- But, will Sony stop blocking the accounts of anyone who’s been defrauded?
- 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. So watch out.
Anyone have fraudulent charges on their credit card? Show of hands? I have a few times using two different credit cards issued from different companies:
- Someone was making a bunch of small charges in Florida, which is about 2,000 km away (yes two thousand). They were all coming from places in the same city, so all 15-20 charges were being done by the same person. About $1,000 worth of purchases I didn’t do all in $30-70 transactions. None were more than $100
- An asshole plumber tried ripping me off $150 by billing me for something he did not fix. He actually made it worse
The above charges showed up on my credit card statements.
For the first issue, I called up my credit card card company and told them about all these charges done in a week span. Impossible for me to do as I’m in another country and have been buying stuff using the same credit card at the same time. The rep took note and cancelled my card immediately. They sent me some kind of package in the mail, which I had to fill out and send back. It had to do with me needing to agree to an investigation. Sign it and send back. They sent me a new card within a week and he said don’t touch the fraud charges or pay back anything this month (even though I had other charges that were legit). So just hold tight and skip paying anything this month as the investigation goes on. The charges were all reversed on my next monthly statement Problem solved.
(So much for credit card companies automatically flagging cards with fishy purchases. Yeah it makes sense that I was buying tons of stuff in two far away places at the same time. LOL)
The plumber issue was just as easy, but a bit different. I had to scan them paperwork, the receipt and I took a few pictures of the tube at different angles, which the guy claimed to fix (but still leaked later on). I faxed them the entire batch of papers and next thing you know the $150 charge was reversed about two weeks later. They didn’t even bother calling me back to say they agreed with me or anything. They just did it. Problem solved.
Such hard processes! The two credit card companies sure acted like asses assuming I’m scamming them.
Resistance is futile! Not really. If the two credit card places were The Borg, then Captain Picard and the black guy wearing the thing around his eyes would have taken them down in the first episode they showed up.
The end result is that both companies fixed the issue. One was used fraudulently and I was issued a new card. Easy fix. The other one was an improper charge. Easy fix.
If these two examples are easy fixes, why can’t Sony make it easy?
What Sony needs to do to stop brushing off PSN fraud
1. Stop treating customers like criminals
2. Revise the terms and service policies which are self serving and draconian
3a. Don’t pass the buck and tell them to go to their credit card company
3b. If the buck is being passed to VISA or Mastercard to fix, then at least don’t lock the account
4. When the credit company reverses charges for a gamer, don’t penalize him and make him pay it back in order to re-access his account. The fraud charge was fixed by the credit company, so why go after the gamer? What’s the point of going to the credit card company to fix it if Sony is going to re-charge the gamer?
5. If Sony is going to refund charges to make TV reporters happy, then do it for other gamers in the same situation