PlayStation’s Online Vouchers Are a Scam

PlayStation’s Online Vouchers Are a Scam

For Christmas I got a brand-new copy of LittleBigPlanet Vita, a game I’d been looking forward to for a long time but had never gotten around to buying. I liked the brief single-player mode. But then I tried to go online to see all the user-made levels that everyone’s always raving about–a huge selling point for the title–and I developed a different opinion entirely.

Like many games nowadays, LittleBigPlanet Vita comes with a voucher code that unlocks the online features. Unlike any other game I’ve ever bought, though, LittleBigPlanet Vita is sold with a voucher code that does not work.

I am not kidding. The voucher codes sold with new copies of this game do not work, Sony knows they do not work, and Sony refuses to address the problem.

When I first contacted customer support, they said the code was “expired,” but told me they could request a new code if I provided the receipt and a scan of the original voucher. After I went through the trouble of having my parents send me their receipt and scanning everything in, Sony told me the code was a “limited time promotion” and I wouldn’t be getting a new code after all.

This seems to be their general approach. If you look at the most recent Amazon reviews of the game, or peruse the game’s message boards, you’ll find other consumers in the same boat that I’m in: lots of people–including some who purchased the game digitally–got non-working codes, and those who contacted Sony were rebuffed.

Should we have known that access to this major feature was a “limited time” deal? Did we miss something in the fine print? No. The game’s packaging prominently advertises the ability to “share” levels and to “download endless new content.” In small type at the bottom–the literal fine print–the package notes some standard limitations of online codes (you can only use them once, they can’t be transferred, you can’t claim you lost yours and get a new one, etc.), but it says nothing at all about an expiration date.

PlayStation’s Online Vouchers Are a Scam

In fact, even if you take the time to go to the URL http://www.sonyentertainmentnetwork.com/tosua, which is listed in the fine print, and go to the section on “PREPAID CARDS AND PRODUCT CODES,” all you’ll find is a reference to “specified” expiration dates. Again, no date is specified anywhere the consumer can see it, either on the packaging or on the voucher itself. Maybe Sony thinks it’s acceptable to specify product expirations only to itself.

Essentially, if you buy a copy of LittleBigPlanet Vita, you are promised the ability to share and download levels–and even if (for some reason) you read the fine print, you’ll still think you’re going to get a working code. When you open the game, however, the code you find is worthless. This is a blatant ripoff.

And this isn’t the first time in recent memory Sony has promised its customers something, taken their money, and then delivered something else. It’s currently fighting a lawsuit relating to the claims it made about the graphical achievements of Killzone: Shadow Fall .

I, for one, am starting to regret my decision to switch from Xbox to PlayStation this generation, especially in light of Microsoft’s recent price cut, not to mention PlayStation Plus’s lame offerings over the past year. Sony needs to change its way of doing business.

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