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Sony Puts Policy Before Players

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I’ve never been the first one to call a specific company “incompetent at their job” because I like to make an effort to not be that kind of customer. Sometimes, though, it becomes less of an issue of being that customer and more of recognizing that some companies really ought to be putting forth more effort into their customer service.

Playstation Network user Kadjar found himself in a pretty hefty financial bind earlier this week. Honestly, it’s scary enough getting spam emails from sites you’ve never even heard of, but this guy was suddenly receiving emails confirming purchases he hadn’t made – $600 worth of purchases, to be exact. After removing his credit card information and changing his email and password, Kadjar did what any sensible hacked user would do and launched support chats with representatives from both his bank and Sony. You’d think the hassle would end here with the money refunded and the hacker dealt with accordingly…but we don’t exactly live in a perfect world.

Sony’s response to Kadjar was that they could only refund up to $150 worth of transactions, which is the highest amount of money that can be stored in a PSN wallet. As if that weren’t enough of a middle finger, the representative also informed him that he could dispute the charges with his bank if he felt like it, but that his account would be banned as a result. The hacking also locked Kadjar out of his account with his new credentials because his own PS4 couldn’t be activated as long as there was another system bound to his account.

To add another ‘fuck you’ to the situation, you can only deactivate your Playstation account once every six months, meaning that if Mr. Hacker gets ahold of your password and activates your account on his PS4, he’s pretty much in the clear. He won’t be in any danger from Sony, whose idea of protecting their customers from hackers is to throw $150 at the victim and pat themselves on the back for a job well done. It’s policy before players, even if they risk losing players as a result of holding to outdated, lazy policies.

Keep in mind that it’s only been four months since Sony’s last big hacking fiasco – and even though this isn’t anywhere close to being on the same level, you’d think they’d have developed a bit more customer consideration. I’m not the most business-savvy person in the world, but I find it pretty weird that such an expensive series of purchases made in a very short time wasn’t immediately investigated. In fact, it’d make more sense to look at huge, extravagant purchases with a more skeptical eye, given the risk of credit card theft.

In one short interaction with a customer, Sony’s undoubtedly proven themselves to be incompetent at their job, because protecting customers’ accounts, especially when it comes to online game purchases, doesn’t exactly require a lot of effort. They don’t even have the two-step verification process every other game company has managed to toss into their security measures, leaving user accounts pretty wide open to hacking even if the passwords were changed every month. It isn’t a safe setup, and given that Sony’s dealt with two huge security breaches in the past four years, this sort of negligence is pretty unforgivable.

playerbeforepolicy

Kadjar’s latest update to his Reddit thread does give the story a happy ending, in spite of evidence to the contrary. After speaking with an escalation analyst at Sony, he was told that his account had finally been investigated and found compromised, and that Sony would be ‘taking care’ of his account. Interestingly, Kadjar isn’t jumping aboard the Sony hate train that’s been on a fast circle around the Internet over the past few days:

“I think all gamers benefit when the game company giants are competing, and while my situation was unfortunate,  I don’t think Sony is malicious or evil,” he said.  “They’re a big company with millions of customers and employees, and sometimes things fall through the cracks.”

While Sony is far from an ‘evil’ company, their business decisions regarding user protection do need quite the overhaul. Running such a large company with so many customers without proper verification is as dangerous as it is irresponsible, and hopefully, the resulting explosion was enough to give Sony a wake-up call.

For now, if you use PSN, remove your credit card information, stick to using gift cards for your purchases, and change your passwords regularly. We’re not sure if or when Sony plans to update their security measures, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

About Deborah Crocker

Deborah is a 22 year old semi-hermit currently plodding through her senior year of college and getting her feet wet in game journalism. She has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with high fantasy, video games, novels, and Elder Scrolls. When she's not in front of a screen, she enjoys singing and a bit of beading. She's also currently on the hunt for the restaurant with the best cheeseburger.

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