Woodsford funded £5bn competition claim gets green light to proceed to trial

Woodsford is proud to be supporting Alex Neill’s claim on behalf of 8.9 million PlayStation customers, which has today been certified by the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Alex Neill, CEO & Co-Founder of Consumer Voice, has been granted approval to go to trial with a £5bn claim against Sony PlayStation. This marks a significant first victory for the claimants as Sony lost their battle to block the claim on both the merits of the case and the funding arrangements.

The lawsuit was filed in August 2022 alleging Sony has abused its dominant position in the market by charging excessive prices to its customers for games and in-app purchases.

It is the first claim of its kind to be fully certified by the courts following the landmark funding ruling by the Supreme Court in PACCAR that held that litigation funding agreements which provide a return to the funder based on a percentage of the damages awarded to the class are damages based agreements, which are not permitted in opt-out collective actions.

The claim, first filed in the CAT in August 2022, is an opt-out group legal action and it argues that the games console giant breached competition law by unlawfully overcharging PlayStation customers. The claim sees Sony accused of abusing its market dominant position to impose unfair terms and conditions on PlayStation game developers and publishers, which results in excessive and unfair prices for consumers every time they buy digital games or in-game content from the PlayStation Store. It is alleged that this has resulted in 8.9m UK consumers being overcharged for their digital gaming purchases by potentially as much as £5 billion over the last six years.

Charlie Morris, Woodsford’s Chief Investment Officer, commented:

Woodsford is proud to be funding Alex Neill and delighted that this is the first collective action where the funding arrangements have been approved following the seminal Supreme Court decision in PACCAR. Sony sought to advance numerous unmeritorious and opportunistic arguments, all of which unsurprisingly failed. Defendants to these actions would be better advised to resolve meritorious actions in a speedy and cost-efficient way rather than spending millions on spurious and ultimately unsuccessful satellite disputes aimed solely at stymying access to justice.

Anyone who has purchased digital games or in-game content in the UK on their console, via the PlayStation Store between 19 August 2016 to 19 August 2022, is automatically included and potentially entitled to compensation. These customers do not need to take any further action at this stage.

Those impacted are encouraged to sign-up at www.playstationyouoweus.co.uk to be kept up to date on the case.

Alex’s team, funded by Woodsford, includes the law firm Milberg London LLP, economics experts at Berkeley Research Group and barristers from Monckton Chambers.

You can read the full press release here.