Updated PlayStation Store policy won't let you refund games you've downloaded

The refund policy (opens in new tab) for the PlayStation Store was recently updated, but while it is nice to finally have refund options in place - where before refunds were largely unavailable unless mandated by local law - they're incredibly limiting. With the exception of subscription-based services like PlayStation Plus, digital products cannot be refunded once you download, stream, or play them. Additionally, refunds will be credited to your PlayStation Store wallet, not whatever card or account you used to make the original payment. 

Further restrictions apply to games. You may only request a refund within 14 days of purchase, and again, only if you haven't downloaded the game yet. This time limit is absolute, but in the case of "faulty" content, you may be able to swing a refund after playing the game. These cases are rare, however, and require more than a few bugs or just a straight-up bad game.

Pre-ordered games follow similar rules. If you pre-order more than 14 days before a game's release date, you can refund anytime before the release of that product. If you pre-order within 14 days of release, you'll only have 14 days to claim a refund. So, if you pre-order 11 days before release, you'll have until three days after release to get a refund. The full policy adds that "you may have additional refund rights under applicable local law for pre-order purchases if the release date changes."

Subscriptions like PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Vue, meanwhile, may be refunded at any time, but only partially. Your refund will be based on "how much you have used the service. For example, if you buy a PlayStation™Plus 12-Month Membership and request a refund seven days after the purchase date, the refund amount may be reduced to reflect any use of the subscription, such as playing online, downloading monthly games, using cloud storage, etc." 

It's hard to estimate how much subscription refunds will be docked without seeing a real-world scenario, but considering the example given uses a seven-day activation window to explain a reduced refund on a 12-month subscription - and given Sony's stringent refund history - I'd imagine the math won't be lenient. 

"If you purchase a subscription service from PlayStation Store, you are purchasing an ongoing subscription with recurring fees that will continue until you cancel it," the policy adds. "While you can cancel a subscription service at any time, the service continues to the end of the that billing period. Cancellation or turning off your auto-renewal, will stop future payments of the subscription fees but, beyond the initial 14-day cancellation period, you will not receive a refund for payments already made." 

Oh, and one last thing: you can't cancel or refund an ID change. So, choose your new name wisely. 

Again, I suppose it's nice to have some refund option on the PlayStation Store, but it's clear console storefronts still lag behind PC stores with regards to user-friendly refunds. Steam and the Epic Games Store both (opens in new tab) allow users to refund games purchased within 14 days and played for less than two hours. This gives players time to at least sample a game before refunding it, plus Steam and Epic refunds are applied to your card, not your store account. I'd love to see Sony and Microsoft adopt similar policies, but I won't hold my breath either. 

Here are the 30 best PS4 games (opens in new tab) to play right now. You definitely won't need to refund these. 

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.