Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft under investigation for unfair renewal practices

A competition watchdog is probing the three gaming giants to establish whether their business practices are legal and fair for gamers


Nintendo Switch, Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox are being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over concerns that the way subscriptions to their online games services are renewed is unfair.

The CMA said that it would be determining if the three gaming giant's business practices are legal during its consumer law investigation which focuses on the companies' cancelation and refund policies as well as their terms and conditions. It is hoping to establish if the contract terms are unfair, whether or not the autorenewal process is transparent and if it is too difficult to cancel or obtain a refund.

The competition watchdog has requested that Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft provide them with information about their online gaming contracts to help the CMA "better understand their practices". It has also asked gaming customers to get in touch and share their experiences to aid the investigation process.

"Rollover contracts are becoming more and more commonplace and it's essential that they work well for customers," remarked CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli.

"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."

Coscelli added: "Should we find that the firms aren't treating people fairly under consumer protection law, we are fully prepared to take action."

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