Valve Loses AU Legal Dispute

Robag's picture

The Brisbane Times has word that Valve has lost a legal dispute in Australia that first surfaced a couple of years ago over Valve’s claims at the time that customers were not entitled to refunds for games purchased on Steam (thanks HARDOCP). Here’s word on the decision, its implications for Valve, and for other companies doing business down under:
The Federal Court found Valve, which operates online game website Steam, engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by telling Australian players they were not entitled to refunds for digitally downloaded content.

The company, based in the US, now faces fines of up to $1.1 million a breach.

In a significant victory for Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the court found the company was not exempt from Australian consumer law just because it was a foreign online entity.

It found Valve made false or misleading representations to Australian consumers about their rights under Australian consumer law.

This included false representations about Valve having excluded statutory guarantees about goods being of acceptable quality.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the court’s decision would have far-reaching consequences for other digital companies claiming to operate outside of Australian law.

“There’s going to be a lot of companies we can now turn to and say look, be careful what you say about consumer guarantees because you are liable under Australian consumer law,” he said.


n0mad's picture

2.2 milli0n

s0 if valve have t0 pay 1.1 million in damages me thinks they have easily made ten times that in over pricing on the AUD Aussie pricing.

0r an0ther way t0 l00k at it

It is estimated 2.2 milli0n steam acc0unts are Australian and if they made $5.00 per user in profit in game sales as an example that’s 11 million in the kitty to pay any fines we want them to pay.

s0 I think Valve will pay this c0urt case t0 make it disappear and c0ntinue t0 make large pr0fits fr0m us Aussie gamer’s……

The big picture sh0ws Valve’s revenue was rep0rted at m0re than $3 billi0n and digital gaming sales w0rldwide is a $61 billi0n d0llar industry.

Yep Valve ain’t w0rried….


chipper's picture


I liked this bit “This included false representations about Valve having excluded statutory guarantees about goods being of acceptable quality”

I’m sure many of us have purchased games that have been so buggy ‘out of the box’ they haven’t been worth playing or couldn’t be played. Would be an interesting test to see if refunds were entitled for these on acceptable quality grounds.

Sha8doW's picture

I thought

I thought Steam implemented a refund policy last year? like a 24 hour dealie?

n0mad's picture

True True

True they did they even say they will refund any game over any time period if the excuse warrants it and you have under 2 hours gameplay.


chipper's picture


That’s still pretty limited and would seem to be less than the legislated protections already in place for Australian consumers. As always the issue is in how much effort is required to get a company to recognise those protections. It’s hard enough with most bricks and mortar stores… Can’t imagine it being any easier for web based ones.

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