About 6 months ago Brad Bourque over on Digital Trends posted about his abysmal experience having his PSN account compromised and the interaction that would be a pitfall in anyone’s customer service journey.
Brad had been hacked, the offender decided it was a great idea to add 3 $25 credit amounts and purchase NBA 2K16 on his account. The story goes on from there. You might be wondering, why on earth did I start talking about someone from Digital Trends anyways? Well, it turns out he and I have something in common, getting hacked and having to fight with Sony. Last night, a little after 10pm I received a message on my PS4 while I was watching a show, “Closing Application Cannot Verify License”, I didn’t think anything of it until I couldn’t log back in. I figured maybe I just forgot my password, so I went to the “forgot password” area and was promptly told that my email was not valid. My first response was confusion, befuddlement if you will, I then decided to check my e-mail and to my surprise, I had 4 fantastic (taste the sarcasm) emails from Sony Entertainment, 1 thanking me for my purchase of Fifa ’17 Ultimate edition for $133.49 CAD, 2 reminding me that there had been funds added to my PSN wallet ($133.49 & $25), 1 saying that I have successfully changed my e-mail address which I definitely did not do.
Considering the time of night (the emails showed up at 10:11pm), I did what any sane human would do and immediately logged into my PayPal account to start a payment dispute since Sony’s text support wasn’t even available at that time. I also had a chat with my local bank and they speedily closed my debit credit card and asked me to come into the branch the next day. Early this morning I got onto the chat support with Sony, they were amazing to deal with, hastily supplying every drop of help they could muster to ensure my account had been updated, reverted back to my original email, password changed and a case number created for the refund process. Now, since I needed these funds, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the “you’ll get a refund to your account” spiel, because honestly, if I’m being hacked the resolution should benefit me not the company who my account is attached to. This is an attack on me, my money, my livelihood, please for the love of god do not turn this into a way to keep the money in your pocket, that isn’t how you keep customers. Unfortunately though, for me and for Brad who I mentioned above, this is what has happened.
Because you disputed the charges with paypal
And Ths is the reason why the account got banned.
And the refund request that you made through us is not valid anymore.
The only way to unban the account is paying the debt amount with PSN cards (only with PSN cards). Once you have obtained the appropriate amount of PSN cards, please contact us starting a new chat to provide us with the codes and we will start a process to unban your account.
I was able to put a stop payment on my bank account which is what was recommended by PayPal to ensure that the fraudulent purchase didn’t leave my account for an extend period of time. This along with with the dispute I had with PayPal opened apparently voided the case I had with Sony though. Sony, having known about the escalations with PayPal turned this $158.49 fiasco into my fault. Saying that my account is on a temporary ban until such time as I pay back the debt owed, once the debt is paid I can then request a refund and the $158.49 will go through. So, If I understand this correctly, you want me, to pay for getting hacked, intruded upon and abused by someone with my own money, so I can get my own money back to spend on your services? I don’t know if this is quite the policy you want to be stating to your customers. In the end, if no money leaves my account, and you remove my access to said game along with the $25 of credit, does that not bring my account back to a $0 balance? Is it really that hard to figure out? Or is this just a way to prey on some people’s misfortunes. To be fair to the people I have dealt with today, most of them were extremely helpful, including the last agent, she was straight forward, she explained the company policies and even gave me the little tid-bit about me being able to get that money back after paying it to unban myself, something the other agents didn’t have the decency to tell me. The first agent I dealt with was also stellar, he led me to a place where I could activate password on purchase and even 2 factor authentication, something that back in April didn’t exist. It’s important to note that these options haven’t been widely publicized to customers who would find it incredibly useful as a safeguard from this kind of fraud and terrible customer experiences. Yes, who would have thought that password protected purchases and 2 factor authentication would protect you from a bad customer experience?
If you pay and you ask for the refund with us after that the refund will be granted.
So after a day of back and forth with my bank, PayPal and Sony, I feel like there are no winners…. except for Sony, obviously. Those guys are coming out on top either way because in the end, I’ll be back to play video games on a console I love and have loved since the original PlayStation came out. I’ll be paying $158.49 to have my account unbanned eventually and I’ll have that same amount as credit in my wallet, when all I wanted was to see $0.00 in there. Eventually, that money will be spent because I’ll have no other way to get at it besides video games, and what did it cost me? A soul wrenching experience, a terrible drive through the neighborhood known as “Sony Entertainment customer experience” where I drove in with a beautiful Mercedes Benz and left with a frame and a steering wheel, reduced to a go kart. If I never have to dispute a charge on my account again, it’ll be too soon. Thanks Sony.