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Valve misled Australian consumers, says court

Valve found to be in violation of Australian consumer law because Steam didn't have a refund policy

Last June, Valve introduced a refund policy on its Steam platform, enabling customers to get a full refund on games if they had only played a title for two hours or less and had requested a refund within 14 days of the purchase date. Prior to that 2015 policy, however, Valve had been violating Australian Consumer Law (ACL), according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

An Australian federal court has ruled that Valve made misleading statements in its terms and conditions on Steam with regards to refunds and guarantees of quality. Valve had argued that it wasn't actually doing business in Australia because digital products being sold through Steam weren't considered "goods." A judge has ruled otherwise, however, and it's important to note that this is the first time "goods" in Australia has included computer software.

"Consumer issues in the online marketplace are a priority for the ACCC and we will continue to take appropriate enforcement action to hold businesses accountable for breaches of the ACL," said ACCC Chairman Rod Sims.

It's not yet clear what the impact of the lawsuit will be on Valve. A separate hearing to determine the relief expected, including possible monetary damages, will be held in the coming weeks.

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James Brightman avatar
James Brightman: James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.
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