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Valve appeal against $2.4m fine extends four-year legal battle in Australia

Steam firm was fined for lack of refund policy but intends to fight back - despite previous failed appeal

Valve is determined to appeal a $2.4m fine from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Back in 2016, the ACCC won a case centred around the Steam firm's lack of a refund policy. Gamasutra reports that, while Valve has already lost one appeal, the company has now applied for "special leave" from the Australian High Court in a further attempt to avoid the fine.

Jonny Roses, the policy and public affairs lawyer at local trade body Interactive Games & Entertainment Association noted via Twitter that this puts both the fine and original decision on hold "until the High Court makes its decision or the application is rejected."

The case began back in 2014, when the ACCC sued Valve over the absence of a refund policy, arguing it was misleading and deceiving consumers about their rights - something the Steam firm disputed.

However, two years later the Federal Court ruled that Valve was guilty of breaking consumer law. After some dispute over what the fine should be - the ACCC called for $3m, Valve requested $250,000 - it was ruled that Valve should pay $2.4m.

At the time, ACCC chairman Rod Sims declared it a landmark victory, adding: "This case sets an important precedent that overseas-based companies that sell to Australians must abide by our law. All goods come with automatic consumer guarantees that they are of acceptable quality and fit for the purpose for which they were sold, even if the business is based overseas."

And yet, two years on, Valve is able to extend the case further and continue its appeal, bringing this legal battle into its fourth year.

A year after the case began, Valve did introduce a refund policy to Steam. Last year it was reported refund requests were so frequent, the company was processing up to 50,000 per day.

The result has been that some studios have paid out millions in refunds for consumers who have changed their mind about purchasing their games.

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By Brendan Sinclair

Latest comments (1)

jukka Developer, United Ultra16 days ago
Valve is determined to appeal a $2.4m fine from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
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