Valve found to be in breach of Australian consumer law

The verdict: Steam was screwing over Australians.

Valve found to be in breach of Australian consumer law

The Australian Federal Court has just released its findings following an 18 month proceeding into Valve's business practices in Australia, brought to court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The ACCC's case was that the Steam Subscriber Agreement contained articles that were fundementally illegal under Australian law, especially in relation to game refunds and warranties. Steam now has an official refund policy, but didn't in 2014 when the ACCC began its case.

Valve's defence was that the agreement was correct under Washington State Law, where Steam operates from, and further argued that Steam only provided a service, not actual goods, in Australi. In effect, Valve believed that Steam was exempt from Australian consumer protections.

The official verdict, however, is that Steam does in fact do business in Australia, and therefore elements of its Subsriber Agreement and Refund Policy contained 'false or misleading representations to consumers'.

“The Federal Court’s decision reinforces that foreign based businesses selling goods and/or services to Australian consumers can be subject to Australian Consumer Law obligations, including the consumer guarantees,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in today's release..

“In this case, Valve is a US company operating mainly outside Australia, but, in making representations to Australian consumers, the Federal Court has found that Valve engaged in conduct in Australia,” Mr Sims said. “It is also significant that the Court held that, in any case, based on the facts, Valve was carrying on business in Australia.”

A further hearing as to the nature of the relief that Valve will be required to offer will be made at a later date. You can read more at the ACCC's site.

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