Sony ordered to issue refunds after ‘misleading’ ads

Sony has been hit with an order to issue partial refunds to customers who bought PlayStation Vita consoles.

The Federal Trade Commission found that the company had produced false advertising for the handheld console which suggested that the PS Vita had certain features when in fact it did not. Anyone who bought the console before 1 June 2012 is entitled to either $25 (£16) cash or credit, or a $50 (£32) voucher.

Adverts for the three year old console suggested that players could start a game on a PS3 and pick up from where they left off on a PS Vita console. This feature was only supported by a small number of games.

Ads also suggested that 3G subscribers could engage in live online games when in fact, this was not possible.

Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said: "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.

"The FTC will not hesitate to act on behalf of consumers when companies or advertisers make false product claims".

The FTC also found that the PR agency involved with the PS Vita campaign - Deutsch LA - had started a marketing drive for the console on Twitter without making it clear that the firm was working with Sony.

The full complaint against Sony was quite damning in its suggestion that customers had been misled. A blog post makes it clear that the FTC felt that consumers had been deceived, but it also points out that no framework for issuing refunds has yet been determined.

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