The ACCC Is Suing Valve

We've just received word that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is suing Valve over its refund policy, which it claims is operating in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.

The issue, it appears, centres around its refund policy. Valve apparently does not provide refunds of any kind and the ACCC is taking issue with this, considering it goes directly against Australian consumer law.

The ACCC alleges that Valve made false or misleading representations to Australian customers of Steam that:

- consumers were not entitled to a refund for any games sold by Valve via Steam in any circumstances; - Valve had excluded, restricted or modified statutory guarantees and/or warranties that goods would be of acceptable quality; - Valve was not under any obligation to repair, replace or provide a refund for a game where the consumer had not contacted and attempted to resolve the problem with the computer game developer; and the statutory consumer guarantees did not apply to games sold by Valve.

"The Australian Consumer Law applies to any business providing goods or services within Australia," explained ACCC Chairman Rod Sims. "Valve may be an American based company with no physical presence in Australia, but it is carrying on business in Australia by selling to Australian consumers, who are protected by the Australian Consumer Law.

"It is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law for businesses to state that they do not give refunds under any circumstances, including for gifts and 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.

"The consumer guarantees provided under the Australian Consumer Law cannot be excluded, restricted or modified."

A date for the first hearing is set for 7 October 2014 at the Federal Court in Sydney before Justice Jagot.

You can read Valve's response here.


Comments

    Will be interesting to see the outcome

    OK. Does Microsoft and Sony provide refunds on their console stores? I feel like this should be noted, as the outcome of this trial will affect their services too...

      EA's Origin does provide a refund service, and they are probably Steam's closest competitor.

        Their customer service is actually quite good.

          Yeh I've been very surprised by Origins customer service. I was given a 20% discount code after a week of tech emails re: Sims3 expansion packs not working, and they were very prompt and clear with their emails after my initial chat with the live help.

          it's really not, last time I contacted them they deleted my account and gave me a new one without even bothering to ask me if that's what I wanted them to do (in fact I told them specifically that it's not what I wanted), for reference I contacted them because I was having trouble logging in,

          they didn't even give me the one game on my old account back, instead they gave me a DEMO of it.

          to be fair on my prior interactions with their support team I'd had very positive experiences.

            Not sure how to take that comment? One bad experience and they're the worst, but prior interactions had given you very positive interactions...

            1 bad...
            Many good.

            Soooooo....

              one interaction that results in the permanent deletion of your account and all your games when all you wanted to do was log in is enough in my books to put your customer service well out of the "quite good" category.

              I didn't say they were the worst, but if they were "good" they wouldn't do things like that at all.

        They may be steams rival but origin has more flaws than fifa online and steam offer a great service that origin probably wont ever rival

      Do any digital services provide refunds? I don't use it but does itunes have a refund without having to send a "but my kid got my tablet and bought $10000 worth of microtransactions" email? Not sure if the google market has a refund mechanism

        Google does. It used to be 24 hours, now I think it's 15mins or something. Just barely enough time to see that the app works.

          I thought that was a "Oops I bought this accidently and didn't run it" undo button rather than an actual proper refund. I might be remembering wrong but I was under the impression that running the software was basically accepting the purchase & you couldn't get a refund once you'd done it. I don't really use the google store much since I don't need anything on there so it may well have been something I misread

            No, within 2 hours you get a full refund no matter what you've done with the software. Contacting them, I bet you could get it over several days.

              Oh well that's definitely better than I thought, must have been either me misreading it or they changed it, probably the former.

        Google Play has a 15 minute window for automatic refunds built into the app, but you can get a refund in the event of a fault or misrepresentation beyond that via a contact form.

        ACL requires that refunds be made in these circumstances, but to my knowledge there are no requirements to have a 'refund button'. If they had an email address that was displayed on their website, and they acted reasonably to refund requests made through that address, I think they'd probably be meeting their legal obligations.

          Its 2 hours by default but sometimes much longer.

        GOG and Origin definitely have very robust refunding schemes.

        Yep, we bought Injustice from Amazon, it was the american version (oops) and the code didnt work here. I contacted them, bluffed my way through it pretending to be an exchange student ;) and they refunded my money for me. That was pretty nice of them. In that case it was PURELY my fault and they were within their rights not to but they were awesome and did it anyhow.

      Sony provide refunds, though its no easy process. Origin have, though I only think that really came in when they were in trouble with the ACCC over Sim City

        Really? I have had two situations where I had a more than valid claim to refund, made many phone calls and emails, including contact with head office, all to no avail. Was told straight out that no refunds are offered at all.

      Sony does, Microsoft does not.
      I've tried both and only Sony came through.

        What?

        Microsoft do offer refunds and the process is as easy as contacting their live chat support.

      Well, unless I'm misreading the article, the following quote (emphasis mine) shows this actually relates to the fact that Valve has explicitly stated they don't provide refunds, rather than the fact they do or don't.
      It is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law for businesses to state that they do not give refunds under any circumstances

      Last edited 29/08/14 10:13 am

        Not actually doing it would also be a breach, but yes, it is separately unlawful to mislead consumers about their rights.

      AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE!! PRECEDENT! PRECEDENT! PRECEDENT!

      It's less likely to get a game that just doesn't work on the closed platforms of Xbox and PS. In my experience it's mostly a PC issue, and more often it's an indie dev who didn't have a large QA or bug-squashing team. Of course there are triple-A examples of it too (*ahem*, RAGE).

        One of the PS+ games for vita this month is apparently one that has a game breaking glitch that was never patched. Not sure what one but lots of comments I read were saying it was one of the worst choices for a plus title they've ever seen since it was a fundamentally broken game

      Xbox Live specifically says 'no refunds' but I wonder whether Valve is in the headlights over the shoddy nature of some of those Greenlight games?

      Sony definitely does. I bought BF4 for PS3, bought the Premium content (I had hundreds of hours of BF3 put away, I thought I was in for the long haul), turns out the game was an unplayable mess on PS3, with every third game freezing the console. I returned the game and was able to secure a refund for the Premium from Sony. Along the way I had to talk to someone from Origin as well, who would have happily refunded me had I been on Origin.

    Good. For as much as I like Steam, valve has needed a kick up the backside on some things.

      All digital stores needs a kick up the ass.

      Games are being sold as services instead of products these days. That means that consumers get a pretty shitty deal, especially when companies simply ignore local consumer laws.

      I get the feeling that this has only come about because Valve has been very slack about curating games these days (letting anything from a known publisher get through, regardless of quality). Combine it with a refund policy that boils down to "sort it out with the devs" and it was really only a matter of time until someone did this.

      PC parts supplies got a similar kick up the ass a few years ago after they got taken to task for their refund policies. If the ACCC is successful here, I'd expect everyone selling here will have to fall in line.

        I have always wondered...

        Since when did games become a "service" instead of a product? Just about every form of media is still a "product" but for some mystical reason games have morphed into this new magical "service" that has managed to allow it to dodge a lot of consumer protection precedents...

    HA!
    Happy to turn a blind eye if we didn't get Australia taxed, but when they charge based on our region, they better comply with our laws. Go ACCC!

      Didn't you know it costs more to ship megabytes to Australia than any other country?

        I don't know if you're joking or not, but the internet is a lot more expensive here.

          Telstra do charge about the same amount as all of Europe for transfer of data over their network in Aus. But given there are numerous local servers for steam.

      Stephen Conroy was actually heading an inquiry last year directly questioning corporations about why we were being charged extra.

    So... end of steam in Australia because it's cheaper to pull out than redesign?

      Not going to happen. If it does there will be others that will take over. Also we are talking about internet here

        Yeah, mostly just being sarcastic since if nothing else valve know a money maker when they see one and we are certainly giving them money hand over fist (especially considering the added tax). That said, valve are also a company who aren't exactly in love with change given how little they've improved their store and UI over the last decade so it is a bit of a concern, they'll have to add a new button, it could take decades of research on exactly how rounded to make the corners, what shade of grey or now blue to colour it and whether or not it ties in with half life 3 or comes with a gaggle of free fucking team fortress hats...

      The EU did something similar about digital refunds a while ago. Can't remember the outcome but if there's profit to be had here (and seeing as there are Australian Dota servers, I'm sure Valve thinks there is), Valve will stick around.

      I was just thinking the same thing, no more steam Australia. I did have 1 problem with a game and reported it after 5 minutes of play and i got store credit for not being happy with it. Even tho i didn't get a cash refund i still got to buy something else i wanted. I am happy with that policy

        I've been told to shove it on multiple separate occasions. No refund or credit.

        Legally, they're supposed to allow refund, replacement or repair for faulty goods - at the consumer's option. While most people are OK with store credit, that should not be your only option.

        There is the question of what makes a game "not of merchantable quality", which is the main justification for a refund under these circumstances. If you have a good game which is buggy (such as Fallout 3 on release) or a terrible game which is largely bug-free (such as Sacred 3), which is "not of merchantable quality"?

          Or my first ever steam game Hitman which was simply dumped on the store with no optimisation and ran at such ludicrously high speed that you had to use a speed cheat to slow the game down and that reset every time you looked at the map or opened a menu. It made the game completely unplayable

            Maybe they should include a maximum system spec as well as minimum and optimum.

              "Sorry, you're just TOO awesome to play this game!"

              As an alternative, they could just do some fucking work and ensure that the stuff they sell is fit for purpose, that'd do me just fine.

      Pretty sure this is similar to something that happened in Germany (little snippets of memory is all I'm getting though, can't remember specifics) but I recall there's different terms of service applicable there. They can just modify them here to allow for refunds in circumstances as dictated.

      They can issue refunds, they just choose not to. I've successfully received a refund on a game that was unplayable upon launch, but it was a one-time-only thing apparently.

      Wow, I don't know how I feel about this. On one hand I'd like to see some come-uppance for the Australia tax, however I am frightened that Valve would pull up roots and leave (my fear is born of knowing very little about online game providers).

      I feel like I'm in a late 80's movie about being in a loveless relationship where I love the person who I have to testify against in court, for beating me and my sister. That's enough internet for me today me thinks.

        So are you being played by Meredith Baxter-Birney in this movie?

      They wouldn't necessarily have to redesign, just change some wording in the terms and provide a means to gain a refund, which you'd expect anyone selling stuff can do.

        Well they'd need to design a mechanism to do it, that's what I meant. That'd mean at least a streamlined way to remove items from users accounts since I'm imagining it'd be individually done at the moment since it seems like a very rare thing, with an actual refund policy in place it might happen often enough that an individual administrator doing it might end up being inefficient

    Seriously? Australia government forced Valve to add Australia Tax to all their games for profit and then now bite them back for not providing refund (never did for 12 years except extreme cases with developer). Go Australia!

      Publishers set the price on Steam. The Australian goverment has nothing to do with it.

      Publishers set the price to keep in line with retail because they don't want to piss off brick and mortar stores.

      EDIT: Also, it's worth mentioning that the Austalia tax isn't an actual tax. It's just the term we use for the ridiculous markup products get when they hit our shores.

      Last edited 29/08/14 10:15 am

        As you might not know, the reason why digital goods have the same price as brick and mortar stores is because the government is enforcing the law to protect the brick and mortar store, not the publisher. Plus the fact that publishers are charging us what they can to maximise profit.

        Steam did not have to comply with the regional pricing as it is a US based service and we are purchasing games from steam in USD as well.

        Too many factors and too many parties involved so we can't exactly point the fault at a specific party. Nevertheless, Australia government and Australian publishers are to blame.

        It is time for Australians gamers to get a US VPN for everything. I guess it's time for me to get one too.

          Government has zero to do with it which is why Gerry Harvey was getting so upset because they weren't enforcing anything.

          I'm not aware of any law that stops digital stores from competing with brick and mortar stores. There were laws that required local retailers to source their goods from the local IP holders (which killed quite a few book chains a few years back) but there's nothing about setting actual prices.

          Last edited 29/08/14 10:24 am

          The is NO LAW that forces digital good to be the same price as bricks and mortar stores. Or perhaps you can find the appropriate legislation?

          Bullshit, there's no such 'law' you're completely fabricating that nonsense.

          @freezespreston @trjn @lichbane @jubal1

          Tsk tsk. Naive consumers. Why do you think the Government does not care about the ridiculous digital good price in Australia? High digital good price generates more revenue thus increasing the GDP of Australia.

          Do you guys really think that publisher is the only one has their hand on Australia pricing? There may not have such a 'law' written on paper but do you really think our Government is transparent in their actions?

          Too naive.

          Last edited 29/08/14 1:51 pm

            High digital good price generates more revenue thus increasing the GDP of Australia.

            I don't really see how that works, when Valve, and most off the publishers getting the money are not Australian, and probably avoid paying much tax here...

            You are very smart.

            Last edited 29/08/14 4:50 pm

      When did the government force anybody to add the Australia Tax?

      And what does that have to do with refunds?

    Yeah I had a go at them a few years ago and when they tried to state that they were American based and not subject to Oz law I quoted the fact that their software was on my computer IN Oz and that they sold items at specific prices for Oz. They gave me a refund.
    Also Australian gov't never forced them to add Australia tax, In fact enforcing geo-blocking on content is illegal as the law currently stands (restriction of competition) and the cost of getting a rating is peanuts for most releases. Also it is perfectly legal to buy unrated material for personal use, just not legal to sell at retail within Australia.

      Isn't it illegal to import unrated material? Or was that restricted goods, which includes items that are refused classification (as opposed to ones that just haven't been classified). I forget now.

        No only banned items (restricted), unrated is fine for personal use just not public distribution.

      In fact enforcing geo-blocking on content is illegal as the law currently stands

      Enjoy that while it lasts. I'm pretty sure once our government sells us all out by signing the TPP, it'll actually become illegal to circumvent geoblocking.

    They do offer refunds though? When From Dust came out it was with drm or technical issues, whatever, and they gave refunds.

      As I recall it, that was them offering a general refund, not responding to individual user requests for one

    Trjn: I used to work in a retail chain for games, I asked our national manager why we didn't push for better prices on games (particularly pc games which they were STILL making 50% profit on after the Aus tax) his response was that the publisher would refuse to sell any games to them if they did that.

    so it all comes back to publishers making all the money and everybody else getting screwed.

      It's the excuse publishers give. Everyone blames everyone else. Then there's the whole supply chain... So many middle men.

        Yeah I thought it was gutless response given we had about %47 of the Australian market at the time.

      I would dearly love to be in one of those meetings just to see the look on the faces of the publishers when I say we just won't buy their stuff then.

    Outside of Valve specific games (HL, TF2 etc) I don't think there is a great deal that they can be forced to do. They are not responsible for repairing faults with products outside of the above examples so I'd say they are employed as a 3rd party vendor of good on behalf of the publishers of the content. the publisher is responsible for damaged goods/bug fixes and so on. There would be wiggle room for them to pass the buck up the ladder to the publishers to refund items but they themselves I don't believe will be found responsible.
    Also consider what constitutes a refund worthy product in an online download environment? If it is a bad game? that isn't valves problem, it is yours and not a refund worthy excuse. Is the game buggy? grey area, does the game still work, more or less? then not a refund worthy issue. Is the game broken as shit? considering it is likely not an isolated incident and is a general fault present in all copies, which the onus is then on the publisher to arrange patching out of said bug. Also still not valves responsibility.

      They are delivering the product, so they need to provide the refund.
      Just like BigW or KMart or anyone else does.

      I actually contacted the publisher of a game first for a refund, who then told me to contact the retailer i.e. Valve.

      Last edited 29/08/14 10:17 am

        It's entirely up to the consumer who they go through. But you are entitled to deal with the retailer for the products that they are selling and the retailer is obliged to deal with the supplier on your behalf. You probably wouldn't go to the publisher/developer for a refund as Valve would have taken their percentage out anyway.
        They can elect to refund, exchange or repair the product but it has to be in a timely fashion, but if there is no way the product is ever going to function reliably the way it says, should or implies it will then you should really be receiving your money back.

      http://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/online-shopping/shopping-online#internet-shopping-explained-in-memes-

      Actually, the Australian Consumer Law specifically applies to companies in this case - that they are International, providing a product to an Australian.
      In saying that, the Consumer Law has fairly specific examples of what consitutes a refundable product - "because I don't like it" doesn't work. Also, the provider is allowed to offer store credit first, rather than money.

      In short, I think Steam and being hit because they went with "We're American, we don't fall under your law, sort it out with the dev's" of refunding.

      On top of that, think about this: outside of Amazon (does do refunds, barely) and EBay (which is an auction site, so under different laws) what would you consider the biggest online retailer that Australians visit to buy things?

      (It was) Steam. (It was) The third largest Internet shopping site Aussie's visit.

      EDIT: Actually, my data is WRONG - it was Steam, until Woolworths and Coles had online stores, so it isn't the third largest anymore. My apologies!

      Last edited 29/08/14 10:28 am

    Damn right. It's much better for these sorts of skirmishes to be sorted out now rather than waiting for online distribution to become even more ubiquitous. Frankly, I think this should have been done years ago. As we strut ever further into an online, charge-by-service based industry (and world) it'll be better to sort out consumer rights and a corporation's minimal obligations now rather than down the line, when the core issues are even more muddied by a few more years of businesses having established their online business models, and unavoidable political apathy.

    I don't understand how the ACCC has a case here. Steam doesn't sell a product they sell licenses. The consumer law mentions goods or product which I would assume is different to a licence agreement.

    http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumer-protection/returns-refunds-repairs-and-replacements

    Maybe someone knowledgeable with law can explain our rights in regards to licenses.

      Steam is still selling a "product", much the same as what music or digital media retailers do. When you buy something from Steam, you effectively are purchasing a "product" with a "licence" that allows you to use the software subject to specific conditions. These conditions usually just boil down to "don't copy this software" (I know, EULAs for products are different and more complex) and that is the long and short of it. The ACCC sees the software being downloaded from Steam as a "product" regardless of the distribution method and rightly so, as most games on the shelf in a typical EBGames basically contain a key to verify with steam anyway. The issue is that our rights should be the same regardless of how we buy the "product" when the business markets an item to Australians using Australian dollars.

      Another example of "licenced" products are CDs and DVDs. if the CD/DVD is scratched upon purchase, you should get a refund or replacement for it. The same rights apply to digital media, as long as it is reasonable. Playing a 1080p video that goes choppy on a 5 year old PC may not be reasonable to claim as a major failure under the Australian Consumer Law because of the age of the PC.

      Last edited 29/08/14 11:33 am

    NEXI: Actually under Aus law if there is a bug that constitutes a major flaw (stops it from playing, doesn't play properly even though min system requirements met), then the retailer (not the manufacturer or publisher) has to provide the refund, then obtain a refund from their supplier etc.
    If the game is buggy but still plays then the customer is entitled to repair or replacement (or patch in this case) within a reasonable time at the discretion of the manufacturer/publisher however remedy MUST be supplied in some form. However Valve must be the go-to for these issues and has to take them to the publisher on request or provide refund if it cannot apply another remedy. Then it could take said publisher to court if it does not honour refund/remedy, or in the case in Aus, just notify the ACCC and Fair Trading and they'll kick the publishers arse.

    If it is a bad game that is the buyers problem as it is a choice issue, if it says it has or does something it does not then that is misleading representation and is valid for refund and possible prosecution/fines for those making the claim.

    Squawkly: The software is deemed a product, the license is to use the product for a particular purpose (or porpoise if you played eco) it and cannot contravene Australian fair trading consumer laws, and even stating any restriction on those laws and rights contravenes Australian consumer law.

    This was tested when EB Games tried to say that you could not return any online activated games for any reason (around 2005 and before) They also were doing this with hardware, saying you had to contact the manufacturer for repair/replacement of faulty products and you could only return to store within 6 weeks of purchase (complete and utter bull). One of the area managers (now quite high up on food chain) at EB games mislead staff REPEATEDLY for about 4 months about this issue AFTER fair trading called and informed us of relevant law. his excuse was that fair trading (and I quote) "doesn't know what it's talking about". (I personally verified the law to double check wtf was going on. then wrote down the area managers comments and his instructions to us in case I was ever called to give evidence.)

      Dodginess in the EB upper management? No! That AM you describe could easily have been any of the five or so I encountered whilst working there. Pricks.
      I remember this era as well - just after Half Life 2, when online DRM was a new and entirely incompatible-with-retail thing. Banning returns altogether wasn't really the right thing to do for liong-term PC gamers who expected better treatment. However, I also remember the bevy of furious people who brought back copies of games which had already been returned once and resold as "new" with inactive DRM codes. A very messy time.

        Hmmm, were you working in a town with loud cars occasionally? Hill st hood mebbe?
        Butterfingers ring a bell?

          Yep.
          Did you live across the road?

            yep! hehehe, when you commented I did wonder :) if you are on steam pm me your account and I'll add you!

              or not, I can't figure out how to pm on here

              Hey man, nice to run into you! Yeah I've on Steam but my laptop is ruined... prolly FB is the best for me atm until I upgrade my computer

      Ha! I didn't even see your comment and we both basically said that these games were a "product" even though they were licenced. Go us!!

      Do you have a link or reference to where digital software is considered a product?

      I can understand how EB Games got in trouble in that previous instance because they were actually selling a physical good (the cd and box packaging or hardware). They had an obligation to refund that and the licence just went along for the ride. That doesn't seem to be the same as when there is no tangible physical goods of any kind in play.

        "As products of the intellect of an instructional category, programs came to be considered in
        copyright law to have the same status as “works” of that category which were intended for
        human consumption. For the purposes of copyright a program is a literary work in common
        law jurisdictions. " (http://www.ajpark.com/media/98134/the_nature_of_computer_programmes.pdf, published in legal journal) although he does go on to say it is seen both ways in multiple countries (tangible and intangible) and there are many contradictory rulings.

        As the law stands it is a grey area, but there are literally hundreds of years of precedents on similar products. The agreement to maintain the program with support is a service. A licence is a very grey area, you don't need to sign away rights to read someone's book after you purchase it. Same with physical tools like chisels or even conceptual tools used in training manuals.

        One may not cannot copyright or patent a licence (maybe the wording but that is it). As it is a piece of authored work I would imagine it could be considered similar to a painting or movie. yes the licence to redistribute it may be sold, modifications may be made and the licence can be resold or onsold. The licenced company may also sell copies (if the licence allows) to third parties (consumers). But as the customer gets a copy for their own keeping the copy is deemed a product in it's own right. subject to all the laws, even though it may have been modified considerably since its original form (clockwork orange anyone?) Same with music, books etc.

        Also the biggest thing is that software has been sold as a product in retail stores the same way you buy sheets or cheesebuckets for about 30 years. I believe there was a case a few years back where the author of the software claimed it was a service /licence and lost his case but I can't find it as I know of no Australian precedant law search engines that are actually good.

    Ah the sound of the accc swat teams storming valve studios giving notices that they are being suied by australia

      I think it's time for Gaben to put on his HEV suit.

    Tastypaste: illegal (cept for unrated/banned games) under current law. until the TPP gets signed and geo-blocking is enforced. le sigh

      Uh... You know there's that Reply button underneath people's posts that let's you directly address them and even sends a notification to them?

      Last edited 29/08/14 10:33 am

    They might be right, but I'd like to know what the ACCC is doing about the price gouging from software companies like Adobe, Autodesk, MS, etc. I know they had an inquiry a while back, but from what I remember Adobe and Autodesk basically told them they could charge whatever the hell they want and there's nothing anybody could do about it. If the ACCC is determined to go after somebody how about them.

      Change of governments seems to have killed that one. I don't think the Coalition felt like finishing something off that Labor would have got credit for. Yay for pettiness!

    Sounds good to me, if they're going to force "localised pricing" on us then they need to follow local laws. I have an Australian Steam account and can no longer buy games on Steam using Australian payment methods because I live in Japan, Steam detects where I live and refuses to accept payment methods that don't have a Japanese address on it. Infuriating. (Yeah, I can use a VPN or pay at the local convenience store, but the whole bloody point of digital games is supposed to be to get rid of those hassles)

    Last edited 29/08/14 12:07 pm

    Truth is, this wasnt an issue for Valve when Steam sold only triple AAA games... cause even a faulty product would be fixed in relative short order, or the technical issues would be documented by the publisher that Steam would accept refunds cause the buyer was having a known issue and that the publishers would accept it

    Nowadays with Steam open to anyone to create a publisher account and start selling products all the indie, alphas, greenlight, kickstarter, shovelware developers its not surprising that people are complaining more about the product quality of the games, or the technical issues of the games bought on Steam. Steams refund policy doesnt work when they let games like that on the market.

    Seriously there have been some near fraudulent products on Steam in the recent year, one developer dumped a back catalogue of games from 1990s as New Releases and was asking full prices. Not to mention the false advertising and failure to deliver on some Alpha products is ridiculous, even Valve has offered full refunds on a few titles cause of this issue... but still fall short of providing quality assurance reviews or curation of their stores product catalogue.

    In similar cases US and Europe had to be taken to court. Apple had to refund purchases made on so called "free2play" ingame purchases made by cosumers (many parents blaming children), Microsoft just had to refund money for fraudulent products on their Shop. Amazon and Ebay have also had issues with authorities. Being an online retail portal for other people to sell things, doesnt make them any less liable for the items they sell on behalf of others. Steams refund policy is pretty harsh, im quiet surprised they havent had issues in the United States or Europe yet.

      Ah tell that to the Aliens & marines customers, supposedly a AAA title that was horribly bug ridden and never got fixed.

    One thing I don't get is why they have specific Australian prices but still use USD & avoid paying GST. You can't have it both ways, if you want to charge us specific prices you can't avoid paying taxes Valve. We should be treated EXACTLY like Americans as it stands.

    As for refunds, I'd imagine they'd approve of them at their own discretion but it's likely cheaper to normally shift the responsibilities to the individual publishers for most games, many physical retailers try the same thing.

    Last edited 29/08/14 4:24 pm

    Just to clarify one thing I saw popping up alot in the comments. It isnt illegal to say "no refunds" on an item, it is however, illegal to say... Knowingly Sell xbox live to a person wanting playstation plus whilst suggesting it will suit their needs, then refusing to refund or exchange it when they come back pissy that you lied. Or to sell an xbox console which comes back faulty within x-time frame, and refusing to refund then.

    Australian Consumer Law allows for refusal of refunds, unless the item is faulty or not as described.

      Actually under fair trading laws it IS illegal to have a sign that says no refunds without specifying that it does not apply to defects etc. merely change of mind. It is legal to refuse refund for change of mind, but remedy MUST be applied if there is a problem.

    my favourite steam support refund experience was when I bought a game, then found out it didn't work on the latest windows OS after trying to run it, asked for a refund and they said "we can _kind of_ give you store credit, pick another game for the same price" so I picked one, and support responded with "sorry but because the game you want a refund for was purchased at the same time as other games, we are unable to refund the purchase" while at the same time updating the store page of the original game so that it said "only runs on specific OS and earlier", dicked me around for weeks and in the end no refund

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