Valve Sued By Australian Consumer Watchdog Over Steam Refund Policy

Daniel Hindes
August 29, 2014

As reported by Kotaku AU, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is suing Valve over Steam's refund policy and its alleged conflict with Australian consumers' right to a refund under the Australian Consumer Law. The ACCC's specific allegations regarding Steam include:

  • Consumers were not entitled to a refund for any games sold by Valve via Steam in any circumstances;
  • Valve had excluded, restricted or modified statutory guarantees and/or warranties that goods would be of acceptable quality;
  • Valve was not under any obligation to repair, replace or provide a refund for a game where the consumer had not contacted and attempted to resolve the problem with the computer game developer; and the statutory consumer guarantees did not apply to games sold by Valve.

Valve's Doug Lombardi responded: "We are making every effort to cooperate with the Australian officials on this matter, while continuing to provide Steam services to our customers across the world, including Australian gamers."

ACCC Charmain Rod Sims later elaborated on the Commission's decision to take Valve to court: "We want all companies doing business in Australia, even if they’re doing business offshore to comply [with Australian Consumer Law]. Big media companies doing business in Australia have to comply with Australian consumer law. Point number one is if you’re going to do business in Australia, you have to comply with Australian law. The second is don’t have blanket conditions around the world without bothering to check."

Sims states that Valve can now either negotiate a quick settlement, or fight the case in court: "If they [Valve] want to reach an early resolution it could be over in a month or two. They’re a huge company with massive resources, so if they want to fight it could go one or two years. We’ll wait and see to see if they want to do."

Daniel Hindes is the AU editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @dhindes
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