That Time When PlayStation Tech Support Told Me to Google My Own Solution… Wait, WHAT?

Let me lead off this article with the disclaimer that the problems I’m about to outline may never happen to you, and if that’s the case, and you’ve lived a blissfully ignorant life with your PSN account then know I too was once like you. But for those of you that have dealt with this situation, know that you are not alone and yes, it is as frustrating as you believe it to be.

The trouble started on a day where I decided it was finally time to tackle the Old Hunters DLC for Bloodborne. Logging into my PSN account I was informed that I couldn’t make the purchase, as my credit card was invalid; strange since I had just used that credit card to purchase a tasty burrito at Chipotle not an hour before.

Ok, I said, maybe my card was compromised? Nope everything seems normal. So after some due diligence to make sure all the info was correct, I tried once more…still invalid. Now I’m even more confused, as this card has been the primary card for my PSN account for three years and has never had any issue. So off to technical support I go.

PS questions

Now technical support with any company can be fuel for nightmares and therapy sessions, but Sony takes the cake for a complete lack of customer support or interest. After an average wait time of 30 minutes (admittedly not terrible in this day and age) a customer support agent proceeded to walk me through the steps of correcting the problem. It goes a little like this:

  • Agent: Can you confirm your address and credit card number?
  • Me: Confirmed, all checks out
  • Agent: Is your card valid or has there been any theft issues?
  • Me: No everything is totally fine
  • Agent: Our system says this card was once valid but failed an internal authorization check

All fairly standard up to this point; this is where it goes completely off the rails:

  • Me: Ok so how do we fix the situation?
  • Agent: Our system says the card was once valid but has failed an authorization check
  • Me: Yes you said that, how can we fix it so the card works again?
  • Agent: In the meantime you have several convenient options to purchase digital PSN codes from Amazon or Gamestop which you can use like cash on our store
  • Me: In the “meantime”? You haven’t told me if/how the problem will be fixed?
  • Agent: Our system says this card was once valid but failed an internal authorization check
  • Me: Ok, so are you saying that I can no longer use this card on the account and I HAVE to buy digital codes forever now?
  • Me: Oh and I’m Canadian so I can’t use either of the sites you mentioned to buy digital codes
  • Agent: I’ve heard you can buy digital codes in Canada on other sites, you should Google it
  • Me: Wait, did you just tell me to “Google” my own tech support solution?!
  • Agent: I can see that I can no longer provide answers to this problem, I hope I have helped with your concerns today. [sign off]

This was the same type of correspondence from not one, but THREE customer support agents. A quick Google search highlights that I’m not alone in this mess. Many PlayStation owners have been hit with whatever internal system invalidates their credit information and suspends their entire PSN buying power.


Now technical and billing problems aren’t isolated to Sony, but where this matter is beyond reason is there seems to be no way to rectify the issue. No means of updating the card internally and confirming its validity. Thus, players like myself are now stuck buying digital codes from third parties and then using those codes in the PSN store to purchase content and stay active on PS Plus.

Is this a first world problem? Absolutely. Is it really all that big of a deal for me to buy off of a different site and go through the extra steps? No. BUT, what it does do is create one extra barrier for purchasing, which should be a concern for Sony. In an age where digital downloads, DLC and online only gaming is becoming more and more promoted, wouldn’t the company behind all this want to make sure there was little barrier between my wallet and their products?