Partial refunds ordered in ruling that found the company falsely advertised the handheld console

gavel on white backgroundThe Federal Trade Commission settled a filing with Sony Computer Entertainment America that alleged the electronics giant made false claims about the PlayStation Vita when it was first released back in 2011.

Anyone who bought the handheld console before June 1, 2012 is entitled to a cash refund of $25 or a $50 voucher for select games and services. Eligible customers will be notified via email some time after the settlement is finalized.

According to the FTC, Sony’s claims about services and features of the PlayStation Vita were misleading. The filing included claims Sony made about remote play and cross-platform play on PlayStation 3 as well as the ability to start a game on the PS3 and finish it on the Vita. The ruling also states that the Vita cannot be advertised in this way from here forward.

The FTC made a statement, as part of a press release on their official site, as to their motivation for pursuing these claims, saying they will stand up for consumers on issues like these.

“As we enter the year’s biggest shopping period, companies need to be reminded that if they make product promises to consumers—as Sony did with the “game changing” features of its PS Vita—they must deliver on those pledges,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC will not hesitate to act on behalf of consumers when companies or advertisers make false product claims.”

The press release went on to discuss “a separate but related action” in regards to the advertising group who handled the ads for Sony.

“The Commission charged that Deutsch LA, Sony’s advertising agency for the PS Vita launch, knew or should have known that the advertisements it produced contained misleading claims about the console’s cross platform and 3G capabilities,” said the release. “The FTC also alleges that Deutsch LA further misled consumers by urging its employees to create awareness and excitement about the PS Vita on Twitter, without instructing employees to disclose their connection to the advertising agency or its then-client Sony. Under a separate settlement order, Deutsch LA is barred from such conduct in the future.”

What do you think about this? Are you excited to get a partial refund? Did the false claims bother you when the Vita launched? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments.

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