We recently discussed
how Sony has decided to eliminate some rather useful functionality from their Playstation 3 -- specifically the ability to run other operating systems like Linux. This annoyed a number of PS3 owners, given that thanks to a Sony "update," the product they thought they purchased is not the product currently sitting in their living room. Sony is obviously interested in keeping their hardware locked down as part of an attempt to retain control in their fight against pirates (and apparently hobbyists). But if the console you bought suddenly does less
, are you due a refund? One UK PS3 owner apparently thought so, and was able to use a law created in 2002 to get Amazon to refund about 20% of his original purchase price
. The law in question
specifically applies to retailers not
manufacturers, and requires that goods:
- comply with the description given by the seller and posses the same qualities and characteristics as other similar goods.
- be fit for the purpose which the consumer requires them and which was made known to the seller at the time of purchase.
Given that Sony "made it known to the seller at the time of purchase" that the PS3 would be able to run other operating systems, Amazon ponied up the refund -- without the user having to return the unit. Of course the refund will be kicked up to Sony, who isn't going to want a significant chunk of the UK suddenly demanding their money back. So the question then becomes whether Sony backs down and re-instates a feature many of their customers found useful, or just points to their user agreement. Said agreement claims Sony has the legal authority to do whatever the hell they'd like if the changes are applied in order to "prevent access to unauthorized or pirated content."
Less broad consumer protection laws in the States means users here probably won't see refunds, but you may see your obligatory dollar or two should Sony's decision result in a class action lawsuit.