Sony Auto-Renews My Membership Against My Will, Won't Budge

All Forrest wants to do is sign up for a year’s worth of Sony’s paid PlayStation Plus plan, which gives customers bonus features above and beyond the free service. He says customer service reps are forcing him to stick with a less cost-effective 3-month plan, which he accidentally bought due to an unintended auto-renewal.

He argued his case to the rep and threatened to ask his credit card company for a chargeback, and then things got ugly.

He writes:

Today I had a unsatisfactory encounter with a manager of one of Sony’s customer service lines. I called up to request a refund for what I considered to be an unauthorized transaction with the automatic renewal of my PlayStation Plus account. As a very early adopter of the program, I had not selected automatic renewals as I was planning on leaving the country to travel at the time of signing up. Additionally, I received no notification of pending renewal, only a notification that the funds had been taken out of my account. After 10 minutes of searching the PSN website, I managed to find the setting for automatic renewals, the first time I had ever seen it, and disabled it.

This was the first day of renewal, and I had not used the service for weeks prior to the charge. I was considering signing up for a 1 year subscription prior to this incident, it costs close to $20 after tax for 3 months, and $50 for 15 months due to a special promotion. Clearly the longer subscription is a better deal, and it was my intention to switch after my subscription ran out.

I thought it would be a simple request to refund an erroneous charge, unfortunately after being escalated to a manager, he would not budge on the no refunds policy. When I said that I would issue a chargeback for this unauthorized charge, he threatened me with banning my account as well as my PlayStation 3 from the PlayStation Network claiming it was policy to send any charge disputes to collections and marking the account as delinquent. This would essentially make my PlayStation unable to use any of the online services. He suggested that I purchase a new system in order to restore my online capabilities.

I have called your tipline with possibly more details, written to the BBB, and did an Executive Email Carpet Bomb with the two email addresses provided in one of your many fine articles. I want this story to be published regardless of the outcome so your readers know that once PSN has your money, there is no way to get it back.

If you’ve suffered a similar problem with Sony, let us know how you handled it.

Comments

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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Not sure PSN can do the things the manager threatened legally. I also highly doubt they are set up to monitor those situations and do those things automatically.

    • aybara says:

      Actually it wouldn’t surprise me. I’ve heard stories that Microsoft will threaten the same things if you try to chargeback on an Xbox Live account. I’ve also heard that Valve will lock you out of your Steam account if you try it too.

      Don’t know if it is a scare tactic to keep you from doing it, or not. I know I wouldn’t want to risk it with my Steam account.

    • Beeker26 says:

      They can and they will.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        ORLY?

        • Beeker26 says:

          Yeah, rly. If they get a chargeback on a credit card that’s the first thing they do, ban the account and associated console. It’s all about fraud prevention, which is rampant with these services. Most MMOs will do the same thing. It’s very common in the gaming industry.

          • ShadowFalls says:

            Which is hilarious when you think about it. The person then sells their console to Gamestop, someone buys it from there and gets screwed when the find out after the return window that they can’t play online games.

            • Beeker26 says:

              Yup. Happens all the time. Though they will usually unblock a console if you can prove you just bought it from a retailer.

              You have to be much more worried about buying used consoles directly, like thru craigslist or ebay, as it’s much more difficult to prove it was a legitimate sale.

      • eddieck says:

        This is one of the reasons PC gaming will always be better than consoles, beyond the obvious hardware advantage the PC has.

        With PC gaming, one company can absolutely not take away your privilege to play all of your games with others. We do have services like Steam that can ban your account in the event of a chargeback, but Steam is not your only option. You can buy games at retail and with the exception of a few Steamworks games, install them without any extra software. You can also use other digital distribution services like Impulse or Direct2Drive.

        With console gaming, one company has the final say over what you do. Sony’s screwed you over and you want your money back? No more multiplayer for you! Microsoft doesn’t like the name of the place you live? No more multiplayer for you, oh, and no refunds either! Once you buy that console, you’re owned by the company that makes it.

        Competition is good.

        • RTWinter says:

          How exactly does that work? The charge-back I mean. I bought Garrys Mod for 10 bucks a few hours before it went on sale. Am I SOL?

        • Twonkey says:

          Okay, eddie. I guess it’s a good thing then that console games have single player components then, right? And I guess it’s equally good that most games that have online multiplayer modes also feature local multiplayer.

          Look, whether you play games on a PC or a console, you’re going to have to make compromises. It’s really just down to which one an individual feels the most comfortable doing his or her gaming on. I do mine on both. You apparently limit yours to the PC. To each their own, right?

          I’m hoping that the OP gets his situation resolved. Maybe he can get back to us if/when the EECB that he sent gets a response.

          • eddieck says:

            I said “one company cannot take away your privilege to play with others.” Of course you can still play SP, but once you complete SP (which is less than 10 hours on most of these newer games), what are you going to do? Keep playing the SP campaign another 100 times? And local multiplayer? OK, you’ve got a point. But you’re going to have your friends over once in awhile, not every day.

            I’d love to know what these compromises are with PC gaming. I can see several on consoles, hardware in particular. Getting free multiplayer gaming is a ‘compromise’ I guess. :P

      • SolidSquid says:

        pretty sure they can’t actually. Iirc chargebacks are part of the merchants agreement (ie, they can’t stop people using them), so the credit card company would have a thing or two to say to them if they did it

    • outlulz says:

      I know Half.com can do something like this. I was scammed and their conflict resolution thing was taking months. I threatened a chargeback and they countered saying they would ban my account from all of their websites (Half.com and Ebay) and that they would fight to get the money back from the CC company.

  2. Larraque eats babies says:

    Did you threaten to cancel or did you ask to have your subscription changed to the annual amount? I highly doubt they’d be adverse to accepting an additional $30 from you and adjusting your plan.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      Absolutely. If the OP was considering it… “….$50 for 15 months due to a special promotion. Clearly the longer subscription is a better deal, and it was my intention to switch after my subscription ran out.”

      Why didn’t he approach it that way? Nothing he says to the manager according to him would even indicate that he asked. What’s so hard about “I’m not sure why you automatically renewed my membership… I was hoping to buy the 15 month special instead seeing as it is a better bargain. What can we do to change my account from the 3 month to the 15 month?”

      Maybe he was looking to be refunded, THEN buy the 15 month special. Maybe he did discuss this with the manager, and the manager refused to help. Who knows. I guess I need more info…

      • Forrest says:

        I am the Forrest in question here…

        I was looking to cancel, get my money refunded, and then in a couple of months when I had a little more money in the bank, resume the service. I didn’t bring it up with the customer service line because I could not afford it right at that moment, and after hearing their threats, I was not sure if I was even interested.

        • Gulliver says:

          So do you know what automatic renewal means? It means it will automatically renew whether it be “the first day of renewal” or not. You probably did not opt in for auto renew, it is set up by default. A better plan of attack would be to say, I haven’t used my console and won’t for the next few months due to my schedule. Can yoou put my account on hold, and then I will do a yearly update. You immediately came off with the ” what I considered to be an unauthorized transaction” and they said, well we have proof what he signed up for. He cancelled it AFTER the fact, and now he wants something else.
          If you did cancel it prior to the automatic renewal, you need to prove that (by the way, many automatic renewals require you give them a number of days notice prior to the renewal expiration.

          • Forrest says:

            I know what automatic renewal means. My point was that I had no idea that I was signed up for it (whether that is my fault or not, is pointless to argue at this time), there was no notification that my subscription was going to expire, renew, or that I was going to get charged prior to the incident.

            I specified that it was on the first day of service to indicate that I had not used said service yet, and was not complaining halfway through the subscription (like someone who eats a 3/4 of a inner at a restaurant and sends it back). Yes, it was canceled after they charged me, but I did not know I was going to get charged, so yes, unauthorized charge in my opinion. To say otherwise would just be semantics.

            I was attempting to negotiate with them, utilizing tactics learned from the Consumerist, however post threat of console ban, and after the smug suggestion that I buy a new one (I am trying to get $20 back, sure I can afford a new console!), I was done with that conversation.

            In hindsight, both sides could have handled this better, however that’s the problem with hindsight, it kinda sucks if you can’t go back in time.

            • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

              Absolutely. And it’s a good lesson for all the readers to see that you should check for auto-renewal settings on accounts such as this. It’s unfortunate they wouldn’t work with you. Good luck.

            • Gulliver says:

              You authorized it when you signed up. You sound like the whiny guy who complained the state did not notify him that his registration would be renewing. If you had not used it for weeks, that would have been the time to cancel, not AFTER the fact. Should every company be required to remind you of every automatic payment you have? My car payment is withdrawn every month on the 14th. I never receive a notice. You really need to man up, and take responsibility. Consider it a $20 lesson.

  3. Macgyver says:

    How is this Sony’s fault. He had auto renewal on.
    He should have just ask them to change it to the 15 month plan, instead of asking for a refund, or doing a chargback.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      I think he didn’t ready everything when he signed up. How can he not select automatic renewaling if he never say the automatic renewal setting before?? A lot of places do auto unless you disable it. IF do they do auto have doesn’t let you disable it, DON’T EVER KEEP YOUR info in their system or don’t sign up.

      dude screwed up and took the wrong approach. Sony should just ban his console because he’s a jerk

      As a very early adopter of the program, I had not selected automatic renewals …
      After 10 minutes of searching the PSN website, I managed to find the setting for automatic renewals, the first time I had ever seen it, and disabled it. …

      • Hi_Hello says:

        sorry, I meant READ not ready.. yea I didn’t read what I wrote

      • Forrest says:

        The fault with Sony lies two-fold. They should have given some indication that the subscription was about to auto-renew prior to charging my credit card, and they could have handled the customer service call better, rather than threatening to ban my console and smugly suggesting I buy a new one, they could have offered cancellation of the service and store credit. They get to keep my money, I would have been satisfied.

        So I am a jerk who should get my console banned because I attempted to utilize my legal right to issue a chargeback? If they were in the right, they could have disputed it.

        And as I have clarified ad nauseum in other comments, I was told it was something that I had to opt in to by the manager at the time of the start of the service. If I was given no option at that time to opt out, it may not have registered in my mind (for example “do you want to auto-renew this subscription, select yes or no” vs “I have read this- Continue”). What I was saying was that I would never have knowingly decided to auto-renew my subscription. Furthermore, the fact that you have to go to the PSN website, log in, go to your account settings, go to manage your account, confirm page redirection, get redirected to a new page, go to my services, click on Playstation Plus, click on subscription, then click on cancel auto renewal… seems excessive. It is rather buried and not obvious. The last few steps were especially confusing because it is not obvious that many of the links are hyper-linked and not just text.

        So yes, I stand by my wording, I hope the clarification helps you see things from my perspective, and I do believe the customer is always right. lol

    • Difdi says:

      I read that differently. He stated that he didn’t have auto-renewal until SONY turned it on for him without his consent and without notifying him, then notified him after the unauthorized charge was complete that they had done so, and then refused a refund and threatened to ban him if he used a legal remedy to dispute their fraudulent charge.

  4. Arimer says:

    Uh Unexpected renewal is bogus. When I signed up for the 3 month there was a whole warning window that popped up during the process of checking out that stated in huge letters that the charge would automatically renew upon the date listed. Following that it said it was your responsibility to cancel or change your subscription plan prior to the date if you wished to make changes then it had the steps to do this.

    I subscribed the first day the service was available and got this message so being an early adopter didn’t exclude you from it.

    • Forrest says:

      Unexpected renewal is valid. Regardless of whether or not I was aware of auto-renewal (which I was not), they charged me and renewed the service without notice, hence unexpected. Three months is a significant amount of time to remember the start date of a service, and a notification would have been preferred prior to any charges.

  5. framitz says:

    “*PlayStation®PLUS subscription renews automatically and continues until cancelled. For more details, please see the Terms of Service and User Agreement”

    The agreement is very clear, renews automatically.

    • Forrest says:

      The auto-renewal was only one part in a whole terrible experience.

      • Twonkey says:

        Sure it was. However, it was a terrible experience that wouldn’t have happened had you not rushed through the PSN+ TOS without reading it, thereby missing the bit contained therein that covered auto-renewal. I’m sure that subsequently calling up Sony in a huff and threatening them with a chargeback when they refused to give you a refund that you weren’t entitled to didn’t make things any better for you. It’s your fault, stop fishing for sympathy, okay?

        By the way, you agree to a TOS every time you complete a purchase from the Playstation Store. Guess what it says? Items purchased from the Playstation Store are non-refundable. So even your revelation that Sony has your money and won’t give it back is just further proof that you just don’t bother to pay attention to shit. This entire problem is one of your own making. Take this as a lesson learned about the importance of paying attention. .

  6. DanRydell says:

    So to summarize –
    – Account defaulted to auto-renew; he didn’t change this
    – Account auto-renewed; he gets pissed
    – He calls and speaks to a manager; for some reason he tells us that he wants to sign up for 15 months but he doesn’t mention ever saying that to the manager.
    – He threatens a chargeback on a legitimate charge
    – Manager responds that they would send the charge to collections, because it was a legitimate charge; also ban his system, because why would they let him use their free service when he owes them money?

    I see errors on the OP’s part, but Sony’s handling of it sounds reasonable UNLESS he asked to have his 3 month subscription converted to a 15 month subscription.

    His e-mail smells like he’s trying to paint a good picture of himself by misleading us. He says he “had not selected automatic renewals” but later clarifies that he never saw such a setting. He says he wanted to extend his membership even though he hadn’t used it recently, and he doesn’t mention anything about telling Sony he wants to extend his membership. This makes me distrust the OP.

    • Forrest says:

      Clearly it is my intention to mislead everyone at the Consumerist. Seriously dude? I have been replying to most comments to clarify.

      First to address your issues with my post…
      I was told by the manager that upon checkout I would have had to select automatic renewal. If I had never seen it, how could I select the option to auto renew? Whether the notice of auto-renewal was obvious or in the fine print, it was not a service that I had made a conscious effort to subscribe to, and I received no notice of the pending termination of my subscription, nor the possibility of an auto-renewal.

      I did want to extend my membership. That was 100% fully my intention and the reason I was going to let my subscription run out. I haven’t used the PSN lately because of a very active job search. I did not mention extending my membership for two reasons. First, I had every intention of renewing, but not for another month or two. I am a recent college graduate searching for a job, so the $50+ dollars that it would have cost was not really in the budget for this month. This is also the reason I am making such a big deal about a $20 charge. I could claim moral high ground, but the economy sucks right now, and I could use every penny I save. Additionally, after being railroaded by an unapologetic and unwavering manager, I am not so sure that I even would have wanted to sign up for another year+. I would have accepted store credit if it were offered.

      Before I threatened a charge back, I asked him if there was any other option for me, or if I just had to take the charge. He said that I had no choice, to which I responded that I did have a choice, a charge back.

      According to the Consumerist…

      “A chargeback is when the credit card company withdraws the money for a transaction from a merchant’s account and deposited in a consumer’s following a dispute.

      Basically, you do a chargeback when you feel like you’re not getting what you paid for, in terms of the quality or type of good or service.”

      Maybe my use of a chargeback was not perfect, I felt that I was entitled to a refund, since I was not planning on using the service that they charged me for. Regardless of whether or not it was incorrectly used, it is a consumer’s right to issue one. It is a last line of defense against unfair business practices, especially with mega-corporations like Sony. Just like I have the right to request a charge back, they have the right to dispute it. Threatening an account and system ban was bad enough, but for the manager to suggest that I “go out and buy a new one” was just insulting.

      I think that covers pretty much everything. I mentioned my interest in credit toward a service extension in my BBB complaint as a possible resolution.

      • FaustianSlip says:

        Your use of the chargeback was completely frivolous, actually, since you were getting the service you paid for. You may not have liked that you unwittingly ended up paying for it (I also don’t buy that you never opted in; I think you did it without realizing it), but this wasn’t an appropriate option for a chargeback. The guy you spoke to may well have been an insufferable douche; that’s when you hang up the phone, call back and see if another person will cut you some slack. If not, then you just have to eat the twenty bucks and move on.

        I also don’t see why you couldn’t either go on your account on the PS3 and delete your credit card information there or do so through your account online. Xbox Live has the option to yank your credit card info using either method, I think, and I’d be surprised if PSN doesn’t, as well. And to be honest, based on the clarifications you’ve been offering to this story, all of which have seemed to make it more convoluted, I can kind of see why the guy on the phone was reluctant to give you a break. Even so, it’s a customer service line. If you don’t like the person you’re talking to, hang up and try again. Don’t threaten a completely inappropriate chargeback that makes it look like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • LadyTL says:

          So when someone says they didn’t do something you think they are lying and just don’t remember doing it? Does that apply to everyone you talk to or just people you want to feel superior over?

        • psm321 says:

          Regardless of whether the chargeback is valid or not for other reasons (such as whether or not he authorized when he signed up_, your first sentence is completely bogus. It implies that if you charge me for something I don’t want and send it to me, a chargeback is not valid.

  7. Nick says:

    I have to say, I had what started off to be a negative experience with the Playstation Plus subscription. I had signed up immediately for the 15 month introductory plan to save some money. I had some PSN credit in my wallet and my account was set to auto-load the funds as needed which I never had a problem with before. I go ahead and authorize the purchase as normal. A couple days later I check my bank statement, much to my surprise, I’ve been charged twice for the PSN purchase. I emailed Sony Customer Service, they promise a 48 hour turn-a-around, which didn’t happen. I was ready to call them, when I receive an email response apologizing for the delay and to please call. I called them up shortly after receiving the email, I barely waited on hold and on top of minimal IVR options, and I told them what happened and referenced the email. The agent that dealt with my case was friendly, helpful and apologetic. He did place me on hold and a short time later stated that they would credit my PSN wallet the full amount of the second charge. My total time of dealing with the matter between the phone call and email was maybe 20 minutes.

    Granted, I didn’t get my $53.99 back into my bank account, but I’ve been using the credit to purchase games and such from the store.

    • Forrest says:

      This being the Consumerist, I expected the story to go more like…

      “They charged me twice, which resulted in over $300 of overdraft fees”

      I’m glad things worked out for you, even if it wasn’t ideal.

  8. MercuryPDX says:

    When I signed up I remember reading it would auto renew by default and you needed to shut it off if you did not want it. It was not obvious, and I was quite thankful I caught it.

    In addition to the EECB I’d fire out a post in the PS Forums:
    http://boardsus.playstation.com/

  9. Forrest says:

    Forrest here:

    Regardless of what it said when I signed up, I still attest to the fact that I did not see anything about auto-renewal when I initially signed up. If it was in the fine print, hell, even if it said in huge flashing letters “THIS SERVICE AUTO-RENEWS”, it did not register for me. I was told by the manager that it was an opt-in feature when I talked to customer service.

    Regardless, the fact that it auto-renewed is only a very small part of the story here. I feel that I should have had to select an option to auto renew. Even if that was the case, I feel that there should have been some notice to me that my subscription was about to run out and be renewed.

    Additionally, even if it was an opt-out service, it should have been easier to opt out. I go to the PSN website, log in, and… well having never been to the PSN website before, I was a bit at a loss. It took me a bit to find where I was going, hell even having been there before and trying again right now as I am writing this, it still took me a few tries to get to the page where you shut off automatic renewal.

    Okay, so fine, call me an idiot. Say I made the mistake of missing the automatic renewal notice, missing the opt out page, hell, even missing out on a notice saying it was going to renew (which was never sent), still their response was terrible.

    I calmly asked to be escalated to a manager when the first tier CSR couldn’t help me. I calmly requested that they offer me a refund for the service, which I had not used, and which had automatically renewed without notice. It was only when I was told that there was nothing I had no choice but to accept the charge did I threaten a chargeback (I believe this is my right as a consumer, am I not correct?). I only got angry after they threatened to ban my account and PS3, and it was smugly suggested that I purchase a new one to restore service.

    At this point my only thoughts were, BBB, EECB, and Consumerist.

    And yes, I had been planning on enrolling in the 15-month promotion, however I was going to do so next month after I finished paying off my bills.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      “Regardless of what it said when I signed up, I still attest to the fact that I did not see anything about auto-renewal when I initially signed up. If it was in the fine print, hell, even if it said in huge flashing letters “THIS SERVICE AUTO-RENEWS”, it did not register for me.”

      I like you, Forrest, and I appreciate your clarifications… but I’d have to disagree with this. If you have huge flashing letters in front of you screaming “THIS SERVICE AUTO-RENEWS” and it doesn’t register in your brain, then maybe you shouldn’t be using it. They can’t get any more obvious. I don’t like how PSN treated you, but claiming ignorance isn’t the best defense.

    • y2julio says:

      Let this be a lesson to you learn to freaking READ before you sign up for something.

  10. Forrest says:

    This being the first tip I sent in that got published, I love the dynamic of this site. Half the people saying I’m an idiot, and the other half sympathizing.

  11. StevePierce says:

    In New Mexico they have a law that requires notification BEFORE auto-renewal

    http://nmcpr.state.nm.us/nmac/parts/title12/12.002.0011.htm

    The purpose of this rule is to deter unfair and deceptive practices that result in economic harm to consumers in transactions involving service contracts which contain automatic renewal clauses.

    • Forrest says:

      The situation reminds me of those scams where you sign up for a “free” service/gift card/horoscope, and it enrolls you in an automatically renewing monthly charge. Sure, technically you did sign up for it, technically they did say that there would be an automatically renewing fee, but it is not something you were aware of or even intending to sign up for.

      The difference is that when I confronted the scam company that did this to my girlfriend, they offered a refund and cancellation with no issues. If only Sony was that nice.

    • Arimer says:

      They do inform you of auto renewel right before you confirm your purchase. Its a whole window informing you of auto renew and the steps to get out of it.

  12. Caveat says:

    As I keep saying, you should all sign up for a Citi credit card. Once you have an account established, you can easily generate a one time use credit card number that is only valid for one month whenever you want. The merchants can charge you the initial amount, but that credit card number expires and if they try to charge again for auto renewal, it will not work. Any time I have to pay for something questionable, I generate a single use credit card number.

    • Forrest says:

      Who would have thought that ordering service through Sony was questionable? lol

    • nealbscott says:

      Citibank Virtual Account number are a wonderful thing. Not only am I careful with the amount I set on my virtual account number, I ALWAYS set the expiration date to expire very soon. If bad guys get my card number, they hopefully will get an expired one.

  13. Forrest says:

    Holy crap, I’ve replied to everyone I think at this point. I think I clarified, and hopefully most of you think that I have some sort of valid point and complaint. For now, I am done with this. I will be sure to update the Consumerist when this issue is resolved.

  14. tubedogg says:

    I’m not going to call you an idiot but I don’t understand why you think missing them telling you it would auto-renew is a small part of the story. That is the entire issue. They’re not required to notify you prior to the autorenewal and I would actually be surprised if they did. They’re a business, after all, and they’re there to make money. You agreed to the autorenewal (even if you didn’t realize you did) and gave them a credit card, of course they’re going to follow through with charging it. The TOS also states, quite plainly, no refunds. Regardless of circumstance.

    Sony burying the autorenewal option on their website is par for the course as well. You seem surprised they don’t want to make it dead simple for you to stop giving them money.

    Should they have maybe bent in this case? Possibly. I’m not going to stick up for them not bending, nor cry over you not getting what you wanted. I am going to say they were 100% within their rights not to refund, and ban the console if you took the step of a chargeback. You agreed to the charge (unwittingly or not) and you agreed to no refunds (you did read the TOS prior to signing up, right?). It costs them money to process a chargeback (not just the actual refund) and if you’re going to be a “problem customer” in their view, they’re going to block you from being able to use their service.

    The only legitimate case I could see for a chargeback is if you didn’t receive the goods/services as promised – which you did, you just didn’t want them – or if it was legitimately an unauthorized charge – somebody else used your card. And in that case it would be handled as a fraud incident by the bank, not a chargeback.

  15. Hi_Hello says:

    Thanks for replying.

    The problem I had with you is what think is a charge back. I agree with topdogg’s explanation of a charge back.

    with that, i think auto ‘auto renewing’ is crap and making ppl jump through loop hole to avoid it is retarded. I avoid services like that because I don’t believe in that practice.

    I don’t think you realize how much of it is a hassle for merchant when people do a charge back that isn’t a legit charge back. It’s a freakin pain.

  16. TasteyCat says:

    PlayStation Network Card. Do not give Sony (or Microsoft) your credit card info.

  17. dush says:

    The auto renewals are awful and by default supposedly for the customer’s convenience.
    Microsoft xbox live does the same thing. You have to call them well before your subscription is up in order to remove the auto renewal. There’s not even an option on the live website like there apparently is on the psn website.

  18. Forrest says:

    So here are my thoughts…

    1. I kept my original tip short and sweet, since sometimes more details are less useful, and more confusing.

    2. I should have been notified before the subscription was auto-renewed.This is especially important if the auto-renewal was opt-out, and the process to do so was more complicated than it had to be.

    3. It is my right as a consumer to issue a chargeback. It is up to the banks to decide if it is frivolous. In my case I was provided a service I did not want, and had not used, and a refund was denied to me after a polite request. This was my last resort after being faced with a rude and unyielding manager.

    4.Even if you disagree that the chargeback was valid, it was still my right to issue one, and the fact they responded with threats to ban my system was way overboard.

    5. The manager’s reply that I should buy a new system after debating a $20 charge was inappropriate.

    6. I am too thin skinned to have my complaints posted on the interwebs. lol

    So there should be some aspect of this case that is a valid complaint. Either the company policy to issue no refunds, threats to ban systems when exercising consumer rights, rude customer service managers, failure to provide good service in the form of some sort of notification prior to a charge, or some small combination of everything. I will admit in hindsight I could have done things differently and maybe had a better outcome, however that does not change the fact that I had a negative outcome and experience. It is my right to whine and complain, and I think I am exercising that right admirably.

    At the very least someone may read this and say, holy crap I had no idea I had to cancel auto renewal! And I will have saved someone a headache of having to deal with all of this.

    • All Work and Low Pay says:

      “I should have been notified before the subscription was auto-renewed.This is especially important if the auto-renewal was opt-out, and the process to do so was more complicated than it had to be.”

      You are responsible for keeping track of your own due dates. This is grown-up land now, we don’t get the luxury of getting notifications. I get no notifications for any of my automated bills. I know when they all come down every month or year, and it’s my responsibility, as a grown adult, to make sure the funds are there. You knew how long you signed up for, you should have read the contract to see the automatic renewal and you should have canceled it before the date it ends. This is in know way their job or responsibility.

      “It is my right as a consumer to issue a chargeback. It is up to the banks to decide if it is frivolous. In my case I was provided a service I did not want, and had not used, and a refund was denied to me after a polite request. This was my last resort after being faced with a rude and unyielding manager.”

      And Sony is well in their right to send it collections for breach of contract and stop your service. Read their Terms and Conditions for PSN, they hold the right to end your service for any reason at any time.Breach of contract is a pretty good reason.

      “Even if you disagree that the chargeback was valid, it was still my right to issue one, and the fact they responded with threats to ban my system was way overboard.”

      Again, if you believe it’s your right to issue one (which it is,) then you must accept that banning your system for breach of contract and sending the chargeback to collections is in their right (which is absolutely is.) It works both ways.

      “I am too thin skinned to have my complaints posted on the interwebs.”

      It’s simply because you are in the wrong, somewhere in you, you have to know this. Your complaint is frivilous and it makes you look like a child. Take the advice of a former poster: take this as a 20 dollar lesson and move on.

    • Twonkey says:

      1. Why would you shortchange yourself like that? The more details that you provide, the better the advice you’ll get, right? Unless of course you weren’t really looking for advice at all. I’m betting that you were hoping that your story would create such an outpouring of support that Sony would be pressured into acting in your favor in order to save face. I wouldn’t put it past you. I’m sorry that things didn’t work out quite the way you hoped they would. Better luck next time, I guess.

      2. Perhaps Sony could notify customers prior to auto-renewal as a courtesy, but they don’t have a responsibility to do it, and that they didn’t do it for you has no bearing on the fact that this is only an issue in the first place because you didn’t pay attention to the TOS before you committed to the purchase. This issue is entirely your fault. Your inability to accept that is one of the many reasons why folks are having such a difficult time dealing with you.

      3. You might feel like you’re entitled to initiate a chargeback,and perhaps you are in a general sense. However in this case you would have no legitimate claim to do so. That doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t win in the end should you choose to go forward with your plan, it would just be an egregious abuse of cardholder privilege to do it at all. I only point this out because you seem like the sort of person who would consider a win under these circumstances to be a moral victory, and it most certainly would not be.

      I don’t know why I’m trying to apply to your sense of moral propriety, but there you have it. I guess I just think that if for no other reason than that you value your own integrity, you’ll at least admit to yourself that you screwed up and take it as a lesson learned to pay better attention in the future. I’m probably barking up the wrong tree, but it’s worth a shot.

  19. Adam says:

    My 3 year old managed to add funds purchase Plus for me a couple months back. Sony told me the same shit when I tried to get the money back in my bank account, telling them it was legitimate mistake….considering I called within 10 minutes of the purchase. They didn’t budge, they would only cancel my Plus membership and put the 50 dollars it cost in my Playstation Network Wallet, where I can only buy stuff on the Playstation Store. Assholes.

  20. Forrest says:

    UPDATE: I sent this to the Consumerist on Sunday

    I received a call from a gentleman named Nolan from Sony today who had a nice conversation with me regarding my negative customer service experience about which he read on The Consumerist. He explained a few things to me prior to working out a mutually beneficial agreement.

    He said that there was no option to opt out of auto-renewal when initially signing up, and it was mentioned in the sign-up process. After reviewing the comments I said I was willing to admit fault in this matter, to which he replied that it was neither here nor there, and he was more interested in making sure I was satisfied as the customer than assigning blame. (THAT’S how it’s done!)

    Nolan mentioned that the customer service managers at the call center could not issue refunds, so at that level nothing could have been done. He further clarified that charge-backs do result in an account ban, however they do NOT result in a system ban.

    He said that he would review the recording of our customer service call to see if the manager provided any incorrect information or did so in an inappropriate manner, and address the issue. He said that it was good that this was brought up, because as the early adopters of Playstation Plus start to have their 3-month subscriptions end, people at the call center may run into this issue again, and he wanted to make sure they were trained to handle it properly. Finally he listened to my suggestion that an automated email be sent out when a subscription is about to end or renew. He said that it was a good idea and he would mention it, though it might never be implemented.

    I will be signing up for the year long package of Playstation Plus, as I am completely and utterly satisfied with the way the issue was eventually resolved (next month when I can afford it). As part of a followup to this, I made sure to report to all those that I had contacted initially (EECB, BBB, The Consumerist) that the issue has been handled satisfactorily.

    So please let everyone know that even if they are sometimes wrong (or partially incorrect), Sony values it’s customers and has great representatives, like Nolan, who go that extra step to ensure satisfaction.

  21. Forrest says:

    Grooveshark has the right idea:
    http://i.imgur.com/DxsMD.jpg

  22. misterc says:

    I am in the same boat as Forrest, only in my case it’s a Sony online account my kids signed up for I don’t know how long ago (and stopped playing I don’t know how long ago). The auto renewal fee I discovered last month on my c card is $80! Regardless of whether Sony can legally auto-renew, to me it’s just bad business and bad customor relations not to notify the subscriber. I can only assume they auto-renew because they know they can make more money this way since they’ve learned most customer’s will just accept the loss. It reminds me of a health insurance company I heard of that saved money by purposely leaving customers on hold knowing many would get frustrated and decide not to pursue a claim. Forrest’s experience shows me Sony might ultimately care about the image they are presenting to customers, but only after they’ve exhausted their other option of just saying no. Maybe I should move to New Mexico – I like that law!

  23. misterc says:

    BTW, how many of these nasty comments do you think came from Sony plants?