After losing its final appeal against a $3 million lawsuit from the ACCC, Valve has issued a statement via Steam acknowledging its mistake in not offering refunds to Australians, while also informing them of their specific rights on the matter.
Valve’s official standing way back in 2014, when the suit was first filed, was that it had no refund policy, something that is guaranteed under Australian Consumer Law, and while the notice posted on Steam is heavy on jargon, the take-home is that Valve accepts that this was misleading.
Know your rights
The post continues to break down the entitlements Australians have as consumers when purchasing video games from Steam:
“You are entitled to a replacement or refund from the retail supplier of the video games for a major failure and for compensation for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage. You are also entitled to have the video games repaired or replaced by the retail supplier of the video games if the video games fail to be of acceptable quality and the failure does not amount to a major failure. Certain other rights are available directly against manufacturers that cannot be excluded or limited.”
Australian Consumer Law also guarantees that the products must be of an ‘acceptable quality’, which is described in Valve's post as:
- “safe, durable and free from defects;
- acceptable in appearance and finish; and
- fit for all the purposes for which video games of that kind are commonly supplied. This must take into account the nature and price of the video games, and any statements on packaging or labelling.“
Valve’s current Steam refund policy, as of 2015, states that “Valve will issue a refund for any reason, if the request is made within fourteen days of purchase, and the title has been played for less than two hours”, although these time limits aren’t referenced in the recent notice, and we’re as yet unclear if they apply to Australian customers.