Consumers win the first battle against Sony Playstation as £5bn competition claim given go-ahead by UK court

Consumer rights expert Alex Neill, who claims the games console giant overcharged 8.9 million UK customers, is now set to go to trial. 

The Competition Appeal Tribunal has today given the go-ahead for Alex Neill’s £5 billion claim. She says 8.9 million UK consumers may have overpaid for games or in-app purchases and be owed hundreds of pounds in compensation. 

Consumer champion and co-founder of Consumer Voice, Neill, said: 

‘This is the first step in ensuring consumers get back what they’re owed as a result of Sony breaking the law. Playstation gamers’ loyalty has been taken advantage of by Sony who has been charging them excessive prices for years.’

This is a blow for Sony who lost its battle to block the claim on both the merits of the case and the funding arrangements. Neill said: ‘It is significant that the competition court has recognised Sony must explain its actions by ordering them to trial.’

Neill will represent the UK Sony Playstation customers she says have lost out: ‘We are seeking to put a stop to this unlawful conduct and ensure customers are compensated.’

Sony accused of overcharging Playstation customers

The £5 billion Playstation claim was filed at the tribunal in August 2022. It accuses Sony of breaching competition law by overcharging PlayStation customers. 

It says Sony abused its market dominant position to impose unfair terms and conditions on PlayStation game developers and publishers, which results in excessive and unfair prices for consumers every time they buy digital games or in-game content from the PlayStation Store. 

It says this has resulted in 8.9m UK consumers being overcharged for their digital gaming purchases by potentially as much as £5 billion over the last six years. Natasha Pearman, the partner leading the litigation and head of competition litigation at Milberg London LLP, said:

‘We are delighted to have achieved certification for our claim against Sony. Companies who break the law must be held to account and we are determined to ensure this happens and consumers get access to justice.’

First claim to be fully certified following new funding rules

This is the first claim of its kind to be fully certified by the courts following a landmark ruling from the UK Supreme Court in July 2023 setting out new parameters for litigation funding

Pearman said: ‘Litigation funding is integral to the collective action regime. When a company as large as Sony breaks the rules consumers often have no idea it is even happening, let alone have the resources to take them on – litigation funding helps to level the playing field. That is why group legal claims like ours are so important, they provide a route to accessing justice that simply doesn’t exist otherwise.’

Are you one of 8.9 million Sony Playstation customers who could be owed money?

Customers of Sony Playstation could be owed between £67 and £562 if the claim is won. You could be owed compensation if you or a member of your family owns or has owned a PS4 or a PS5 anytime between 19 August 2016 to 19 August 2022.  

Sony Playstation customers don’t at this stage need to actively join the case to seek damages. Simply, sign up to Consumer Voice or via the Playstation claim website to be kept informed as the case progresses.

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