Back in 2018, the US government opened up an investigation on Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo following a warning from the Federal Trade Commission about the "Warranty Void If Removed" stickers regarding the consoles. Now the investigations into the gaming giants continues as the subscriptions services come under fire with a spotlight on them by the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK.
According to the CMA, the way these subscription services are renewed is "unfair" and they are currently looking into daily operations to make sure that the business practices regarding these services are fair and balanced. Their main focus, according to The Guardian, is how renewals are approached in addition to cancellation practices and refunds.
The CMA will also be looking into the various terms and conditions laid out to make sure that they are written clearly and in a transparent manner when dealing with consumers. To begin the investigation, the CMA has reached out to the three major gaming companies with a request for information regarding their offered memberships in an effort to "better understand their practices" concerning their investigation. They are also asking for consumers to provide feedback as well and share their own experiences with how each membership conducts business.
The intent is to determine whether or not these memberships have broken consumer protection law. If so, then legal action will be the next step. According to CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli, "Rollover contracts are becoming more and more commonplace and it's essential that they work well for customers.
"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. Should we find that the firms aren't treating people fairly under consumer protection law, we are fully prepared to take action."