It was announced on 5th April 2019 that Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo will be under investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as it is concerned about the legality of some of their business practices.
In order to play the consoles with other players you need to be signed up to their online subscription services, Xbox Live, Playstation Plus and Nintendo Switch online which often involves an auto-renewal contract. Money is then automatically taken from a users' account when their subscription is up for renewal. The CMA has written to Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo Switch for clarification on their cancellation and refund policies, terms and conditions and their online gaming contracts.
It is unclear as to whether Xbox, Playstation or Nintendo Switch have broken any consumer protection laws by misleading consumers at this early stage in the investigation, however, if it is found that have the CMA can take enforcement action against them.
The Chief Executive of the CMA, Andrea Coscelli, said they are "fully prepared to take action" as "roll over contracts are becoming more and more commonplace and it's 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.
Should we find that the firms aren’t treating people fairly under consumer protection law, we are fully prepared to take action."
The CMA is also asking for your help in this investigation and would like you to get in touch to share your personal experiences.
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