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PS3 Owner Refunded (Without Return) for Missing Other OS

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Retailer Amazon has offered a partial refund to a European PS3 owner following his complaint about the removal of the console’s ‘Other OS’ feature. Firmware 3.21 infamously removed the ability to install other Operating Systems (such as Yellow Dog Linux) on the PlayStation 3. Though the feature was widely unused by the majority of PS3 gamers, many were angered by Sony’s audacity to remotely disable an original PS3 feature. One gamer has come up trumps, citing European law to earn a partial refund.

That’s a partial refund from Amazon without returning their PS3. Said gamer is NeoGAF Forum moderator ‘iapetus‘, who cited European law to argue that his original 60GB console, which was considerably out of warranty and Amazon’s 30-day guarantee, no longer operated as advertised. The online retailer’s policy was to offer a refund weighing in at approximately 20 per cent of the console’s original value. Amazon responds:

We are writing to confirm that we have processed your refund in the amount of £84.00 for your Order 666-5327564-4432412.

Item Refund: £71.49
Item Tax Refund: £12.51

This refund is for the following item(s):

Item: Sony PlayStation 3 Console (60GB Premium Version)
Quantity: 1
ASIN: B0007SV734
Reason for refund: Account adjustment

The following is the breakdown of your refund for this item:

Said European law is Directive 1999/44/EC, which was accepted into European Parliament on 1 January 2002. Apart from requiring all European member states to alter their legislation to carry at least a two-year warranty on all new consumer goods (the UK’s Sale of Goods Act offers up to 6 years possible protection) the Directive also includes a stipulation relevant to Sony’s removal of the PS3’s Other OS. The two points read:

“The goods must:

  • comply with the description given by the seller and posses the same qualities and characteristics as other similar goods
  • be fit for the purpose which the consumer requires them and which was made known to the seller at the time of purchase.”

The key statement is “which was made known to the seller at the time of purchase,” where Sony made it known at the time of purchase that you would be able to install an ‘Other OS.’ This was raised with Amazon, and their policy was to offer a partial refund whether that feature had been used by said consumer or not. It should be noted that in European law responsibility is placed on the retailer and not the manufacturer.

This cost will most likely be passed over to Sony and if such refunds get out of hand, Sony may have no other option than to reinstate ‘Other OS’ or instead take legal action to prove that they are not acting outside of the law. Sony’s argument may be that they are allowed to change the software side of their console, since it does not act as an alteration to hardware. Moreover, Sony may argue that they have given Other OS users an option to not update their console; though this is an option that will stop these gamers from going online or playing future PS3 games. Of course, there’s the simple fact that the PS3’s user agreement states:

“Without limitation, services may include the provision of the latest update or download of new release that may include security patches, new technology or revised settings and features which may prevent access to unauthorized or pirated content, or use of unauthorized hardware or software in connection with the PS3 system.”

As for the US, consumer protection is not as wide reaching as in Europe, but we could certainly see a class action suit against Sony on the same grounds. As for George Hotz, the hacker who many blame for the removal of the PS3’s Other OS, he now claims to have enabled the feature after updating to firmware v3.21, as shown in the following YouTube video:

Who do you blame? Hackers, or Sony? Will you try to gain a partial refund for your ‘fat’ PlayStation 3?

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