Banned PS4 – Access To Playstation Network From This PS4 Has Been Banned Or Temporarily Suspended – WS-37338-4

You’re short of cash.  A loved one wants a PS4 for their Birthday.  You decide that the only way you can fulfil this desire is to purchase a pre-owned machine.

You spend hours and hours trying to find one online within your price range.  You look at eBay, in the classified ads section of your newspaper, you look on Gumtree.
You finally find what you’re looking for and you complete the purchase.
You get it home.  You’re happy.  You switch the PS4 on, and you go through the registration process for the Playstation Network and BAM….an error message appears;

‘Banned PS4 – Access To Playstation Network From This PS4 Has Been Banned Or Temporarily Suspended – WS-37338-4′


We unknowingly dispatched a machine with this problem to a customer this week.  Fortunately for them they are dealing with a reputable business and we are arranging a replacement after speaking with Sony and getting nowhere.  An unscrupulous customer traded this machine in with us, and has put us in a very awkward situation.

For those who are unfamiliar with this fault, here are some answers to some frequently asked questions associated with this issue.  We gathered this information from a discussion with ‘Gavin’ at Sony PSN Support on the afternoon of June 20th 2015.

Where do I stand?
If you purchased from a business, they may have some liability and will probably exchange or refund you.

What if I purchased from a private individual?
Then you are in the proverbial.  You may have some protection if you purchased via eBay and paid using a card, but ultimately you’ve got a bricked machine, and the seller could shun responsibility.

Why was the machine banned?
We found Sony to be pretty unhelpful in this regard.  It was explained to us that in 90% of cases where PS4s are banned from the Playstation Network (PSN) that it is because of user accrued debt.
For those unfamiliar with this, this is when someone makes purchases via the PSN Store on their PSN account for things like in game purchases (Fifa Ultimate Team Packs/Call Of Duty and Battlefield Weapons/Map Packs), or for purchasing downloadable versions of games and then calling up card issuers and claiming that cards were used without cardholder’s permission and the money is recalled. Sony then put a ban on the machine until the debt is recovered.
Sony explained that they never ban for anything less than £100 in debt.
Machines can also be banned for hacking, or other violations.

Can the PS4 be unbanned?
This is where things get messy – we were told that the only way the sanction could be lifted on our machine is if the debt was paid.

But I didn’t accrue this debt, it’s not my debt! Will Sony take this into consideration?
In short, no.  We made every effort to explain the situation to Sony and even offered to send them a copy of the purchase receipt showing the purchase date and therefore that the machine came into our possession AFTER the debt was accrued.  Obviously we could prove that we were in no way affiliated with the previous owner and therefore how terribly unfair it is that we’d purchased a banned machine.
The response – this is largely irrelevant, Sony’s policy is that the only way to remove a debt related restriction is to pay the debt.

Surely Sony wouldn’t allow/expect me to pay someone else’s debt?
Sadly, this is not correct.  It was repeatedly stressed to us that this was the only way to remove the restriction.
Therefore, it was explained that to unban the PS4, we would be required to pay off the debt (of at least £100 remember) accrued by the previous owner of the machine who we had no relationship with.

At this point we ended the call.  Gavin was really pleasant, helpful and empathetic.  Unfortunately though, Sony have what we can only describe as a completely ridiculous policy on this.

So picture this;  You give a preowned PS4 as a gift to your loved one, that you’ve bought privately and saved religiously for and essentially it’s a giant paperweight if the person who owned it before is an unscrupulous person who conned Sony out of a few downloadable games or add-ons.  But more unscrupulous is the charlatan Sony policy that dictates that if you happen to be unfortunate enough to purchase a banned console, that you must literally pay for the previous owner’s mistakes before they remove forced sanctions on your machine.

Can companies as big as Sony really behave in this way?  Surely this is the kind of thing that Watchdog should be notified about?

In any event, commercially it’s a backwards policy.  Not least because it engenders a really negative view of Sony’s company and products, but also because surely by allowing a new user access to their services they at least stand some chance of recuperating any financial losses!

The moral of the story?  Try to avoid buying this kind of stuff privately, but if you do, always ask the previous owner to connect to their PSN account on the machine to show you that it’s fully functional in online mode.
Sometimes paying an extra £20 and buying from a reputable business can save you a lot more in headaches.

If you’ve got one of these machines and you’re in a pickle, get in touch with us and we will try and help in any way we can.  At the very least we can offer a parts value on the machine in part exchange against one of our stock units and try and get you gaming again.

Comments on this post

  1. Domenico

    I don’t know why I feel involved in this situation, hehe.
    Just to confirm everything written in the article and say: NEVER buy from a private, unless they can let you fully test the console before the purchase! I bought it from consolecentral and I’m really happy with the friendly and professional service received!
    I just think that if I bought the console out of a guy on gumtree and I was in this situation, there was absolutely nothing I can do!
    Thank you guys! Best service ever!

    • Ash

      You are the kind of customer we greatly appreciate Domenico. You’ve been wonderful throughout this whole thing. We’ve added the post to the site so that others can learn from our experience here with this transaction. I hope your new machine is satisfactory :-)


      • Frederico (yeah right!)

        How do you know it was indeed the guy/ gal who traded in the PS4 who’s console was bricked? Maybe Domenico bought a perfectly fine PS4 at Consolecentral and sent you the bricked one in return. The jig is up Domenico, or should I call you Dominic Cooper? Even with all that Hollywood money, still conning people I see, just like in the old days.

        Why Sony can’t help you is quite simple: I get myself banned, “sell” it to my mate, he gets its unbanned and “sells” it back to me and I can play till I get it banned again. Think people.

        • Ash

          The logic of Sony is understandable, but it is hurting innocent buyers who unknowingly end up buying these machines from classified ads sites or second hand shops.

          Domenico is innocent of the alleged crimes – we record all serial numbers and mac addresses and his matched up. :)

    • Mahmoud Alkhatib

      OMG i have the same shit what should i do

      • Ash

        Contact Sony

  2. Khalid

    how can I get in touch with you?, I have the same exact problem!!!

  3. Louis

    My ps4 system was banned with the same error above so I called up Sony and they say my ps4 isn’t banned and that its active…. What can I do about that? They aren’t helpful at all

    • Ash

      Drop us an email:

      We will try and help.


      • Kacper

        I got banned from ps4 for no reason! What do I do??

        • Ash

          Telephone Sony

  4. Lee

    My wife got me a ps4 from cex for my 50″ birthday present I have never had a play station b4 so I did not know much about them only when my son told me about them I m a 50″ year old man who is disabled and in a wheelchair because of a very bad car accident me and my wife was not born to be dishonest me and my wife have made so many calls to Sony play station explaining to them they told us we got to pay £230 pound to get unbanned cex did not want to know about it they told my wife it’s not their problem they do not check it to see if it has been banned they only sell it I m willing to pay something small to get it unbanned this whole thing is unbelievable because Sony play station don’t believe me & my wife I m not going to pay somebody else debts why should we it’s not fair I can get a new one for £330 or less why should I pay £230 and nobody wants to help me so please help many thanks Lee

    • Ash

      Hello Lee,

      I’m sorry to say the Christmas rush pushed your post out of our eyesight and we have only just picked it up.

      Your experience is not unique i’m afraid. As for CEX – they are required in law to provide a refund/repair/replacement. Essentially you’ve bought a faulty machine from a high-street retailer.

      Did you have any success? If not, give us a shout and we can see what we can do for you.



  5. Davion

    I need help I bought games on my friends account and I got banned I can pay psn but how if I live in America and he lives in Australia

    • Ash

      Give Sony a call, they can help with this.

      • Zeeshan

        What is the telephone number of sony?

        • Ash

          0203 538 2665

  6. andy

    my console has recently been banned after a GTAV “game update” charged me £66.95 , I recalled the charges through paypal but sony are adamant that I downloaded a game bundle which is totally untrue, I have the disc so why dl the WHOLE game and bundle !!

    After 2 weeks of utter frustration I have got no where and still have a banned console, I have requested an address for head office but they refuse to give me this info.

    Utterly disgusted with Sony over this.

    • Ash

      Sorry to hear of your problems Andy.

  7. Ryan Brigham

    my brother bought a Ps4 from A second hand Gane shop and He set it up by making a new email address and Password so he could make an online account but everytime he tried logging in it says he has a bad or temporarily suspended (Ws-37338-4) yet this is the first time he’s tried logging in to it and it won’t allow him on? any ideas why and what to do to Fix the problem

    • Ash

      Have a read of the blog post Ryan – it’s explained there.

  8. Kev

    Just purchased a ps4 at an auction and have this very same message in front of me. It’s a joke how the innocent are being punished for other people’s mistakes! I will look to take it back to the auction but don’t have much promise on getting anywhere. If someone breaks the terms of service then why don’t they just ban the users account? Why ban the console? By banning the console it just creates a way for the original dodgy user to offload their consoles to innocent buyers looking for a good deal, it’s just wrong! The original offender just needs to buy a new console funded by stitching up some innocent person and create a new account with a new email address, they are fine and gaming again in no time. Anyway iv’e had my rant, time to suck it up and learn from this crap…Sony you have lost a future purchaser, i’m sure you won’t lose any sleep over it though!

    • Ash

      Hi Kev,

      I’m inclined to agree. We described the policy in this blog post as ‘charlatan’, and based on much of the experiences people share with us about this problem we’re inclined to stick with that appraisal.

      Was it from a physical auction or online? Through a site like eBay, you will have the ability to open a dispute – just describe it as a fault – that’s essentially what it is.

      In any event, it’s appalling that unscrupulous people can brick their console by bouncing payments to Sony and then sell the units onto an innocent person and that Sony will expect to make it the new owner’s problem.

  9. Turki

    Hello, I have just bought a PS4 from a private seller as a gift for a very good friend of mine (second hand of course!!) and to my surprise he calls me up and says it’s a banned console, putting me in a very bad situation. Is there anything you guys can do to help.

  10. Geoff

    While Sony’s ban is probably technicaly legal as they’re banning you from accessing psn rather than owning the console it’s such a shame that this hasn’t been raised by the media. I’m sure if either the likes of the papers or the BBC featured it Sony would need to revise their policies especially as the console market is so tight, surely the damage to future sales and reputation should cause them to think again?

    How are the console’s banned? Is it by the Mac address? If so can a typo cause a perfectl innocent machine to be banned?

    • Ash

      Hi Geoff,

      Absolutely agree. Sadly it doesn’t seem to have attracted any media attention. I know back in the day, the rampant YLOD featured on BBC’s watchdog program.

      The consoles (I believe) are banned by mac address. And you are correct – if it is a manual ban, it is susceptible to user error.

  11. Fd black

    Sony sucks with their policy…ivr just buy a console from an individual and when trying to register…it is fisplaying ws-37338-4….wtf!!!!…sony sucks…really…sony is worthless…tomorow gonna buy an xbox one….

    • Ash

      Drop us an email and we can perhaps part exchange it for a working unit.


      • Jerman

        Hey I purchased a PS4 and it turns out it is banned for life. Are you still doing exchanges for working units

        • Ash

          We are, yes. Email us and we will sort something out for you.

  12. Bader AlMezal

    I have a PS4 that my brother Joker x was playing online with, he stop playing and I did play with his ID, one day I did a transaction through PayPal with the PS4 for the annual membership of $49.99 it did not went through and I did another on $ 50 it went through, when I came to pay with my wallet the amount $49.99 was there only not $50 so I paid and email PayPal about the second amount to re charge back as it was a duplicate amount. After some days the account was ban on Joker x so I create anew account ID BAM00700 and play suddenly after some days the PS4 was banned.
    I contacted UK and UAE as Joker x on UK and my account under UAE , UK they did nothing to me where as UAE never answered any of my emails.
    In my opinion and as I asked UK many times and I did all there request and let Joker x contact them many time but they did not reply to him I DON’T KNOW WHY, the solution is simple We agree to pay the debt on the banned ID and PS4 and would like to be guided how to do it as Joker x account can not be operated because of the ban.
    Please can you help.

    • Ash

      Sony can help with this. Telephone UK support. Despite having their hands tied, the call operators are actually really personable.


  13. Is band I don’t do anything I swear I wake up in mworing a nd play ps4 is band

    • Ash

      Contact Sony

  14. I have brought a PlayStation from a very kind lady privately. It was working perfectly fine and PSN was working too for about 3 weeks. I was going out with this bird and I left my ps4 around her flat for her son. So he could play on my PlayStation too, he was 11 but was a very good kid. He added his account onto my PlayStation. Anyway, after a number of days I have received a perminant ban (well that’s what PlayStation have told me) and said a bill of over £100 has been raised but not on my account or his? They said they can’t take off the ban on my console. Anyway cut a long story short, My gamer account was fine. So thought I’d check his. I ended up giving his gamer tag and details etc but gave his date of birth instead of his parents. He received a ban too but I believe it was only a gamer tag ban not a console ban like I have. Not have I only lost my ps4 my ex who I wasn’t with for long broke up with me too because of it. I feel pretty lost about the whole situation. I need my PS4 right now because I’ve not just lost something I enjoy doing I lost a woman I care about too. HELP

    • Ash

      Drop us an email and we can perhaps part exchange it for a working unit.


  15. Kyle

    Bought a ps4 of cover bid up in swap for mY Xbox one i got the ps4 go to go online then bang its a banned ps4,anything i can do

    • Ash

      Initially call Sony. If no joy, contact us and we can perhaps offer a part exchange against an unbanned unit.

  16. Luka

    So my ps4 console is banned sony cant exactly Say Why. And now i cant do anything anymore and i Really dont know what to tell my parents. Can you help me? Thanks

    • Ash

      Drop us an email and we can perhaps part exchange it for a working unit.


  17. Seth

    I”ve been banned or temporarily suspended I’ve waited longer than a week then I tried to log in I couldn’t I called PlayStation network they couldn’t help me, I tried searching on how to un ban it but nothing helps.

    • Ash

      Have you spoken to Sony? If no joy, perhaps drop us an email and we can perhaps part exchange it for a working unit.


  18. Rupinder kaur

    Hi. I have two sons they are playing together all time at play station . But my older son is 18 yrs and he play and fight my youngest son Ricky . Because I buy PlayStation 4 on his birthday and my older son sonny always fight and say to him one day I do that u never play in u r ps4 . I thing he is just saying but no it’s true he did it now my son he is baand for ever because he put his own detaile on to buy on line game and now we nobody know any thing that what going to do . So pls pls pls pls pls pls I don’t know I call to sonny and they ask me about the id and password for ps4 but it was for my older son sonny . A call sonny manny time he not pic up any of the phone . Leo pls kindly help me some body to get start the game ps4 . I fell very very bad for my younger son Ricky he is 13 yrs and he cannot use the game pls pls pls help me my nu is 07533050530
    My email address is rupindergrewal@ . Pls help me

  19. lee

    Ws-37338-4 i brought a consol from a friend and thats the error code that keeps coming up- what is the reason for this so maybe i can contact sony and possibily get this sorted, hsd the consol a week now and cant get online, do i jusg have to buy a new consol and burn the cash i paid. There must be something a major company can do, ive been on xxbox for year’s and fancied a change, so far not the best of starts lol

    • Ash

      The reasons are explained in the post.
      Drop us an email and we can perhaps part exchange it for a working unit.


      • lee

        Whats thr email?

  20. Dan S

    Your information is excellent. Thank you for posting this. I agree that given the enormous profits Sony make, they should find a resolution to this and not punish the innocent. Watchdog should be informed.

    • Ash

      Thanks Dan.

      I find it bizarre that this has never been on the radar of any of the scandal revealing programmes.

      Whilst Sony make WONDERFUL gaming consoles, this sort of nonsense really takes their edge away.

      All the best.

  21. Duncan Johnson

    It is worth bearing in mind that these bans are not always the result of unscrupulous PS4 owners. My unit is now banned. What did I do you ask? It must have been bad…

    My PSN email ID was transferred to a fraudster’s email by Sony. Why? No idea. The first I knew was an email to tell me it was transferred. PlayStation helpline was closed, and funds were transferred from PayPal then spent on game tokens. I did manage to get PlayStation to DM me on Twitter after a 90 minute wait, and the account was restored.

    However, when I reported the fraud to PayPal and the UK police PlayStation banned me. Sony now appear holding my account to ransom for the £120 that the fraudster spent in exactly the way described.

    I don’t understand why Sony did not at least delete my payment details before reassigning the email, or maybe prevented any payments for 24 hours to at least give me a chance to get in touch to alert them.

    I applaud the honesty of the approach that your company has taken here, and I share your pain in seeking answers from Sony.

    The combination of security, customer service, and attitude that I have experienced from Sony has resulted in our tech-buying household now banning this brand.

    • Ash

      Hi Duncan,

      That is a very troubling story indeed.

      If they could see that your account was violated, they should have written off the debt accrued by the fraudster. Trying to make you pay for the unscrupulous behaviour of someone who violated your account is really unfair.

      Hopefully by the time you realise this you’ve been able to speak to someone at Sony who can look at this for you and overturn the (incorrect) decision.

      All the best

      Ash :)

  22. Jesse Washington

    My ps4 accout has been banned for no reason and it didnt say or temporarily suspended

    • Ash

      Give Sony a call and ask for some information.

  23. jack

    i got a PlayStation yesterday and as soon as i signed in it says band i phone game where i got it from and they said phone Sony they said your ps4 is fine then but the phone down what do i do

    • Ash

      I would labour the point with Sony. If they say your machine is not banned but you are getting a banned message, there is clearly some sort of error somewhere.

  24. Jack

    Hi I was gonna say the same problem happened to me ‘playstation network access from this ps4 banned or temporarily suspended ws-37338-4′ can you please help me I called them but they were like I didn’t pay the bill or something I only bought cod infinite warfare but we paid. Do you think I should reset my ps4 to brand new would it be back to normal like unbanned my console.

    • Ash

      Sadly a factory reset doesn’t resolve this problem. The machine is banned by MAC ID, not by PSN login. This is how so many people get stung.

  25. raymond turner

    I love Console Central UK sent my ps4 in for BLOD was offered a part exchange and got a brand new ps4 ash was very helpful and really friendly will all ways use and will tell my friends just sent in my ps3 to be fix and am 100% happy

    • Ash

      Thankyou for your kind words Raymond. One of our favourite customers. Welcome back anytime! All the best with your new business.

  26. kaally

    Hi, iv brought a ps4 from a private seller and everything was well until i tried connecting it to the internet. turns out i have a console ban and the seller has blocked my number ect. Just need some help as iv lost out on £200. Thanks

    • Ash

      Drop us an email and we will try to assist.

      Sadly this problem is becoming increasingly more prevalent :(

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