Valve to face legal action from ACCC over Steam refunds

It's against the law to not provide any opportunity for refunds

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that it has begun proceedings against Valve over the company's refund policy for games sold through its online game distribution platform, Steam.

"The ACCC alleges that Valve made false or misleading representations to Australian customers of Steam that: consumers were not entitled to a refund for any games sold by Valve via Steam in any circumstances," it wrote on its website.

The ACCC is also alleging that Valve made false or misleading representations about excluding, restricting or modifying "statutory guarantees and/or warranties that goods would be of acceptable quality", that Valve would not be under any obligation to repair, replace or refund games if the consumer hadn't contacted the game developer, and that "statutory consumer guarantees did not apply to games sold by Valve".

"The Australian Consumer Law applies to any business providing goods or services within Australia. Valve may be an American based company with no physical presence in Australia, but it is carrying on business in Australia by selling to Australian consumers, who are protected by the Australian Consumer Law," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

He said that because Valve states that they don't give refunds under any circumstances, it was in breach of the Australian Consumer Law, which allows consumers to "insist on a refund or replacement at their option if a product has a major fault".

Courting Valve

As a result of the proceedings filed by the ACCC, a directions hearing will take place at the Federal Court of Sydney on 7 October.

Speaking to Kotaku, Valve has responded to the ACCC's announcement, saying that it will seek fully cooperate with the Australian consumer watchdog.

"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," said Valve's Vice President of Marketing, Doug Lombardi.

"The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, disclosure orders, adverse publicity orders, non-party consumer redress, a compliance program order and costs," the ACCC wrote on its website.