An investigation into Microsoft’s, Nintendo’s and Sony’s online services has been started to determine whether or not their fair to consumers.
Xbox Live, PSN and Switch Online are all being evaluated by the UK government – more specifically, the Competition and Markets Authority [via SystemTek].
Elements including ‘free’ games you get with your subscription, price increases, contract auto-renewals, refunds and cancellations will all be looked into to ensure the consumer is getting a fair deal.
“The Competition and Markets Authority is concerned about whether some of these companies’ business practices are legal,” said the Government in a statement. “The CMA has written to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation and Xbox requesting information about their online gaming contracts to help better understand their practices…
“At this early stage, the CMA has not reached a view as to whether or not companies have broken consumer protection law,
“However, if the CMA thinks the companies’ practices are misleading or their terms are unfair, such that they are breaking consumer protection law, it could take enforcement action.”
Chief executive of the CMA, Andrea Coscelli, added: “Roll-over contracts are becoming more and more commonplace and its essential that they work well for customers.
“Our investigation will look into whether the biggest online gaming companies are being fair with their customers when they automatically renew their contracts, and whether people can easily cancel or get a refund.”
The CMA hopes to answer questions including: “are the contract terms unfair?…how easy it is to cancel or obtain a refund?…are there any factors that make it difficult for people to cancel their contract or get their money back…how fair is the auto-renewal process?…are customers clearly told that their membership will be rolled over, are they regularly reminded that they are on a roll-over contract before further payments are taken, and is auto-renewal set as the default option?”
Featured Image Credit: Microsoft/Nintendo/Sony