Valve hit by Australian consumer lawsuit

Written by David Hing

August 29, 2014 // 10:50 a.m.

Tags: #australia #consumer-protection #digital-distribution #refund #steam #valve

Valve has been sued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over its refund policy with Steam.

The Commission accused Valve of making ‘false or misleading representations regarding the application of the consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law’.

The ways in which Valve has allegedly mislead consumers include telling them they were not entitled to a refund in any circumstances, that Valve had excluded, modified or restricted clauses that mean goods would be of acceptable quality and that Valve did not have to act if the consumer had not already tried to resolve things with the developr.

The law for states that it is a breach for any company to not give refunds under any circumstances, including for gifts during sales.

’Under the Australian Consumer Law, consumers can insist on a refund or replacement at their option if a product has a major fault,’ said ACCC chairman Rod Sims. The ACCC itself is more than a traditional consumer rights group and has strong links with the Australian government.

Despite the alleged exclusions made by Valve, the company’s current refund policy does state that no refunds or exchanges on anything bought through the Steam ecosystem can be offered unless required by local law, which in this case seems to be the situation. Valve has issued a statement saying they are cooperating with the Australian officials and will continue to offer Steam services in the market.

An initial hearing on this matter is scheduled to take place on October 7.

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