According to an internal source, the online payment company Paypal today initiated a mass chargeback on "thousands" of Sony Entertainment Network transactions, for reasons yet-unknown. These chargebacks have ended up putting the PSN accounts affected into debt, which triggers the system to auto-ban that account until it's back in the black. At the moment this seems to only be an issue for UK-based accounts.
There's an easy way to tell if you're affected: check your email. Those who are should find an email from Paypal about a refund from transactions relating to Playstation.
Understandably, the relevant call centres are rammed with people trying to figure out what's happened. So: if your Playstation account has been suspended, this is probably why.
Sony is apparently speaking with Paypal in order to work out what has caused this problem and fix it, we've contacted both for comment, but this is all the information currently available.
UPDATE: Following the below comment from reader Alan McCourt I tried to check up on whether the blame lies with Sony or Paypal.
Neither company has yet responded to requests for comment. However our intrepid insider said this although, understandably, they didn't want their name on it:
"The payments that were charged back to Paypal were coming up from a while back in June, the 11th, the 15th, stuff like that. I saw a Paypal statement from someone [which] said 'This error is on Sony's end and is to do with them closing or somehow limiting their GDP account, meaning that the funds didn't credit the accounts.'
That doesn't seem to fly because why would it take at least two weeks for those payments to clear? Oh well, it's a massive mess anyway."
Quite. In the absence of official word there's little point in speculating further. Once we hear back from either of the companies involved we'll let you know, and commiserations to those affected.