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Operating Systems PlayStation (Games) Sony The Courts Games

PS3 Owner Refunded For Missing "Other OS" 353

Posted by kdawson
from the making-good dept.
Toxicgonzo writes "Amazon has given a European PS3 owner a 20% refund for removal of the PS3's OtherOS feature. (We recently discussed hacker Geohot's efforts to restore this feature.) The owner cited European law Directive 1999/44/EC — which states that goods must (1) comply with the description given by the seller and possess the same qualities and characteristics as other similar goods, and (2) be fit for the purpose which the consumer requires them and which was made known to the seller at the time of purchase. How many other European PS3 owners will follow suit? If Amazon forwards the bill to Sony, how will Sony respond?"
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PS3 Owner Refunded For Missing "Other OS"

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  • Re:Justice (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:14AM (#31788996)

    Was the Other OS characteristics ever listed as a sales argument / product description by Sony?

    It's on my box. It was one of two main reasons I paid an extra $500 instead of getting a Wii.

  • Re:Justice (Score:3, Informative)

    by Blue Stone (582566) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:18AM (#31789040) Homepage Journal

    >If I had kept the receipt for my PS3 I might go after EB games for a refund.

    In the UK, and I guess Europe, you don't need your receipt, just some proof somewhere and somehow that you bought from that company - credit card records, for instance.

  • Re:Justice (Score:5, Informative)

    by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel@hotmail.3.14159com minus pi> on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:23AM (#31789106) Homepage Journal

    Sure they did

    http://www.playstation.com/ps3-openplatform/index.html [playstation.com]

    Note though, that the feature is gone (read the red part at the top).

    And, let's look at the original version of the page

    http://web.archive.org/web/20061118073923/http://www.playstation.com/ps3-openplatform/index.html [archive.org]

  • by Pvt_Ryan (1102363) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:26AM (#31789138)

    "Without limitation, services may include the provision of the latest update or download of new release that may include security patches, new technology or revised settings and features which may prevent access to unauthorized or pirated content, or use of unauthorized hardware or software in connection with the PS3 system."

    It doesn't say anything about removal of features. just adding them or changing them..

  • Re:Justice (Score:5, Informative)

    by VJ42 (860241) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:35AM (#31789216)

    How come the customer was not required to go to court *first* before getting his refund?

    At least here in the UK, companies don't like ending up in court (even if they're in the right), so threatening them with legal action (just a letter\email citing the relevant legislation is fine; don't need a solicitor.)often gets you something (refund\replacement\money off vouchers etc.). Hell I've even got a replacement phone battery by complaining over the phone (citing the sale of goods act) at some bloke in a call centre half way round the world.

    What if the retailer had simply said, "No." - What would have happened next?

    He could then have taken them to the small claims court.

  • Re:Justice (Score:3, Informative)

    by VJ42 (860241) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:40AM (#31789282)

    >If I had kept the receipt for my PS3 I might go after EB games for a refund.

    In the UK, and I guess Europe, you don't need your receipt, just some proof somewhere and somehow that you bought from that company - credit card records, for instance.

    Not even that, just reasonable expectation that you bought it from the place you're trying to return it. Fox example, if a phone company has an exclusive phone, it's highly likely you bought it from them, so they have to refund\replace even though in theory you could have bought it from someone else who got it from them. The Sale of Goods act is great like that.

  • by iapetus (24050) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:49AM (#31789440) Homepage

    I've been doing a lot of reading up on these things recently (I'm the PS3 owner mentioned in the story, and quite embarassed to be front page news on Slashdot when all I actually did was send a mail to Amazon asking them to clarify where they stood on this whole affair) - the relevant EU directive (1999/44/EC) states that where the retailer pays out but the lack of conformity was caused by the producer (or someone else further up the supply chain) the retailer has the right to go after the person responsible for the lack of conformity to get their money back - in this case, Sony. I'm hoping Amazon will end up doing this, because they're not the ones to blame for this.

  • Re:Justice (Score:3, Informative)

    by iapetus (24050) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:55AM (#31789540) Homepage

    It wasn't a yes/no question. The question was "what is your position on the fact that Sony have removed functionality from the PS3 in a way that EU law appears to hold you liable for?"

    If the retailer had simply said, "Our position is that we don't owe you shit" he would not have taken them to court, and would have reported that this was their position to anyone who was interested. He would then have contacted Trading Standards to ask them whether there was any case against Sony.

  • Re:Justice (Score:5, Informative)

    by SlashBugs (1339813) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:59AM (#31789582)
    I can't speak for the rest of the EU, but in the UK the "fit for purpose" law is a surprisingly powerful bit of pro-consumer legislation. As well as requiring that a product actually does what the manufacturer claims that it does, the law also covers:

    a) Functions that any reasonable person would expect the product to have, based on the advertising but also on similar products on the market. This doesn't obviate the customer's responsibility to do some research, just covers too-obvious-to-check things like if your brand new DVD recorder didn't include a DVD playback function

    b) A robustness and lifespan that any reasonable person would expect the product to have. In the UK, all electrical goods worth more than a certain value (and some other classes of goods) are automatically garuanteed for one year, as part of the customer's statutory rights. But more interestingly, each type of product may also be garuanteed for a longer period based on what seems "reasonable". For example, a washing machine or cooker would be expected to last for several years under regular use before needing replacement or major repairs; if it fails within that timespan the customer can return it (Making those rip-off "extended garuantee" offers doubly useless). Better yet, the onus is on the shop to show that the failure to prove that it was due to your misuse, not you having to prove that it was a poor design or manufacturing defect.

    Surprisingly few people know about these rights, and for good reason. If a product lacks features or develops a major fault too quickly, it's the shop's responsibility to replace the product or offer a refund to the customer; the shop owner is then left with the problem of getting that money back from the manufacturer. As you might imagine, they're not exactly keen to be in this position and so consumers are never told about it.

    If the shop says "no" or tells you that you need to talk to the manufacturer yourself, they're either ignorant or lying. In which case, your next step is to get in touch with the Citizens' Advice Bereau and/or the Trading Standards Office, who are responsible for advising people about and enforcing the relevent laws, respectively.
  • Re:Justice (Score:3, Informative)

    by iapetus (24050) on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:01AM (#31789612) Homepage

    You won't see that happen. That was back in the day of the PS2, and as far as I'm aware Sony never actually got away with that claim. Since then the tax rules have changed so that there isn't the same distinction between games consoles and computers, so there's no tax break involved in passing one off as the other.

  • Re:Justice (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:06AM (#31789692)

    I used to work for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, and my understanding was that the tariffs are *higher* for a "freely programmable general purpose computer". They campaigned for ages to have the PS2 *not* be branded as such.

  • Re:Justice (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nick Ives (317) on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:58AM (#31790396)

    In the UK, all electrical goods worth more than a certain value (and some other classes of goods) are automatically garuanteed for one year, as part of the customer's statutory rights

    That should be two years now because of the EU Directive on Consumer Rights. The same directive gives a minimum warranty period of two years but UK law extends that to six [which.co.uk], except for Scotland where it's five.

    Better yet, the onus is on the shop to show that the failure to prove that it was due to your misuse, not you having to prove that it was a poor design or manufacturing defect.

    Actually that's only true for the first six months in the UK or three months (as a minimum) for the rest of the EU. After that you have to show that the fault was present when you originally purchased the item. For most classes of "the damn thing just broke!" that's not too hard though.

    Here's the full directive [europa.eu]; the relevant chapter starts on page 30.

  • Re:Justice (Score:4, Informative)

    by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@ w o r f.net> on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:58AM (#31790398)

    * Ability to sign in to PlayStation Network and use network features that require signing in to PlayStation Network, such as online features of PS3 games and chat

    Actually no. And this is one of the two things I've learned about the PS3 because of this.

    1) Apparently modified firmware is loadable by anyone, no special tools needed other than a storage medium.
    2) Playstation Network does not perform checks.

    That's right, if you've got 3.15, you can either use a proxy hack, use a public no-update server, or set up your own DNS+Web server. Your PS3 will check against your server, see that no update is necessary, and connect to PSN. It's unknown how old your PS3 can be before it can't connect to PSN due to protocol changes. The only thing keeping people honest is the PS3, which if it checks Sony's server, and sees that its version is lower than what the Sony server says is current, it won't connect.

    Now, what this has on the potential for cheaters on PSN, I don't know. But until this OtherOS fiasco, I wouldn't have bothered knowing.

    How to bypass PSN version check - http://www.mydigitallife.info/2010/04/05/how-to-access-psn-bypassing-ps3-firmware-3-21-upgrade-for-otheros/ [mydigitallife.info]
    How to set up your own bypass - http://rvlution.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=123 [rvlution.net] (requires DNS and HTTP servers).

    Thanks Sony!

  • Re:Justice (Score:3, Informative)

    by SmallMonkeyPirate (932116) on Friday April 09, 2010 @01:01PM (#31791336)

    In the UK you possibly wouldn't even need to take them court yourself. Merely report the retailer to Trading Standards (the govt dept for these kind of things for you non-Brits) detailing the advertising for the product at the time of purchase and how you believe the law has been broken and they will do it for you if your claim is valid.

    Not only that, if they are successful they can also order other companies to offer refunds/discounts/compensation should they also have sold the product without those consumers having to go through the same process.

    Going down this route means the govt not the consumer funds the legal action should the claim be valid and the company concerned dispute their breach of the law. Additionally in the UK we also have the pleasing effect of BBC1's consumer program Watchdog, if they take up your case the company will find themselves having a 10 minute grilling of their services and how they have broken the law viewed by several million prime time viewers. Watchdog is such an institution here that a bad press from them can have very serious repercussions on your sales, and will probably make the daily newspapers the next day in some form (probably the Daily Mail with a headline like "Amazon product lies killed Diana!"). This is what Amazon really fears.

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