Valve Found Guilty Of Breaching Australian Consumer Law

After an 18-month back and forth with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Australian Federal Court has finally ruled that Valve was in breach of Australian Consumer Law.

The ACCC's major issue with Valve was its lack of a refund policy, which ran contrary to Australian Consumer law. Valve has since implemented its own refund policy in the wake of this case, but had no refund policy in August 2014 when the ACCC initially sued.

Valve's defence was based around the fact that it doesn't officially conduct business in Australia, only admitting it provided access to an online access portal to video games through a client. Valve denied this falls into the definition of 'goods' in Australian consumer law. Valve also maintained the Steam Subscriber Agreement is the law of the State of Washington, United States of America — not the law of Australia.

But the Australian Federal court disagreed, and found that Valve made misleading statements to consumers in its terms and conditions contained in three versions of its Steam Subscriber Agreement and two versions of its Steam Refund Policy. These misleading statements all focused on the rights of Australian consumers to a refund if they've been sold a faulty or defective product.

Justice Edelman that Valve was doing business in Australia and, as such, was bound to operate within Australian Consumer Law.

“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 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. It is also significant that the Court held that, in any case, based on the facts, Valve was carrying on business in Australia.

“This is also the first time Courts have applied the extended definition of ‘goods’ to include “computer software” in the ACL. It will provide greater certainty where digital goods are supplied to consumers through online platforms.”

“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."

Initially, in August 2014, the ACCC asked that Valve:

• Provide an email address that specifically deals with refunds as per Australian Consumer law. • Provide a 1800 number to help consumers address any refund issues. • Provide a PO Box address for consumers to deal with refunds. • Appoint representatives (the ACCC refer to this person as a contact officer) to reply to consumers regarding refunds.

Back then Doug Lombardi informed Kotaku that Valve was “making every effort to cooperate with the Australian officials on this matter.”

No set amount was decided in terms of liability at the judgement, but there is a chance that, in addition to any liability, Valve will have to pay up to 75% of the ACCC's legal costs.

A hearing is set for April 15 to discuss potential relief.


Comments

    The gall it takes to claim that you do not officially operate in a market, only to then inflate prices for said market you apparently do not operate in is astounding.

    Last edited 29/03/16 3:02 pm

      My thoughts exactly. GG Valve - have region-specific pricing and then claiming you don't operate in that market. I guess this is why they insist on charging us in USD?

        I hope this goes some way to ending the practice of charging us in USD. FFS ... just charge us in AUD and end this confusion once and for all! I just want to know the price of a game. I don't want to have to convert it just to figure out how much I'm REALLY paying.

          And this is why I've recently taken to looking at all other options for purchasing games than from Steam. I've even bought a game from JB Hi-Fi recently because they had a better price in AUD. It's a bit of a pain not having all my game collection in one cohesive library but it's not worth the premium for Steam's increasingly out-dated and half-baked services in my opinion.
          Steam remains an excellent browser for new games though.

      Not to mention that they sold Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam as originally as the censored version, demonstrating that they were perfectly willing to use the platform to sell to a country and be complicit in their laws!

        I think that alone was one of the defining factors they were actually selling to Aussies specifically wasn't it????

          Absolutely! Arguably the actual 'on Australian shelves' versions were published by EA and of course had to follow then guidelines to sell the censored version or get banned, but surely those rules didn't have to apply to the Steam store not being run in Australia, huh? Also I remember people getting their friends to gift them copies without the censor, but then Steam 'fixed' scanned your account location and served you up the censored copy!

      All fair... but pricing is completely up to the publishing developers. Steam merely take their cut.

        I'm not convinced that Steam's cut is as small as people think.

        http://www.kotaku.com.au/2014/08/if-youre-going-to-rip-off-australian-gamers-at-least-hide-your-tracks/

    Good.

    Very glad that the Judge tossed the outrageous claim that 'Valve doesn't do business in Australia'.

    See how it proceeds from here.

    Well if Valve is not doing business in Australia, why are games higher priced in Australia? Definitely a regional pricing there which dictates that they do business region by region.

      I believe that it's the publishers who set the prices on Steam, not Valve themselves (apart from their own games)

        But if they didn't operate in Australia there'd be no option for publishers to set Australian-specific pricing

      a very recent awesome example of this is Trackmania Turbo... on Steam it was $53.95USD for Aussies to pre-order it... this was a "special pre-order price"... on uplay directly and on ps4 (and probably xbox one, I didn't check)... it was $53.95AUD, which is cheaper and correct given retail is $59.95RRP...

      now that the game is out, they are selling it for $45.95USD... which amazingly just about matches RRP... I feel bad for anyone that pre-ordered it on steam but I assume there will be refunds going out for anyone that noticed!

      anyway, didn't meant to hijack your comment but it feels appropriate

    I've actually been through the steam refund process and it works way better than any return process I've been through with any other retailer, click a couple buttons, fill in a quick form, and within a day or so the whole process was finalised. All the things the ACCC are demanding wouldn't have even played into my experience with Valve.
    Just another example of Australian law flexing its muscles needlessly

      Arguably, it only added the refund process because of this case, or at the very least the timing is very coincidental.

      The refunds process you're lauding did not exist when this case was filed for, and I can only expect that it would not have been filed for in the first place if Valve had disclosed to the ACCC that they were going to implement such a refund scheme.

      I'm also sceptical that the refund scheme they do now have on Steam is in line with the extensive requirements of the Australian Consumer Law, but that's all going to come out in the full judgment or relief hearing, I expect.

      Steams refund policy, added after being bought to court, still has terms and conditions which contradict Australian Consumer Laws.

      Also Steam only added the refund policy after both Australain and the Europeans sued them... so flexing their muscle is causality.

      Well then, if it worked for you, it must be 100% OK then....

      Pro-tip: You're not the center of the universe.

      My personal experience is quite the opposite. I contact Valve for a refund of a product for which was not "sold as advertised" in steam. The game pre-sold with coop and when it was delivered, it did not have coop. My request was rejected, to quote valve; they do not refund sales.

        I asked for a refund for legend of grimrock 2 for the exact same 'not sold as advertised' reason (videos on steam had the camera moving obliquely across the landscape, which you can't do in the actual game as it's entirely based on square tile based movement), and had the money back in my account within 24 hours. An exceptionally painless refund process. That was in like Oct '14 though, not sure if that's pre- or post- their refund policy being implemented.

      The only reason Valve implemented this was because of interest from the EU, and to a lesser extent the ACCC. Prior to the EU investigation, Valve didn't have to do anything, and typically wouldn't unless there was major backlash.

      The article literally points out the case was brought against them well before Steam offered refunds.

      The ACCC started this back in 2014, well before Valve introduced the refund system. Just because they comply now doesn't mean they haven't violated our consumer law previously. Likely part of the reaosn for introducing the refund system was to comply with that law in various countries. The UK has similar policies to us.

    The ACCC's official press release has some other nice information.

    http://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/federal-court-finds-valve-made-misleading-representations-about-consumer-guarantees

    Also, there's a typo in this piece, Serrels. "Justice Edelmen that Valve [...]" is clearly missing a word.

      What are you talking about. It is very clear that the Justice had to Edelmen the company called Valve.

    Just an FYI: anyone who had issues trying to post comments earlier today should have no problems now.

      The court has ruled that yes, Kotaku does to business in Australia, and therefor must allow replies.

        But does kotaku offer refunds on replies offered earlier in the day that were rejected?

    It's an interesting question from a legal standpoint - when I interact with Valve, are they doing business in Australia, or am I doing business in the United States? If it were a physical sale and I was doing the latter, Australian law wouldn't apply to the sale, only to me bringing the product back.

    I'm fully behind the idea that Valve should have been offering a refund system from day one, but from a technical standpoint I'm not sure I agree with the court's decision that a US company operating a store on a US server connected to the internet and selling in US dollars is legally doing business in Australia merely because their storefront can be accessed from anywhere and they don't actively prevent us from using it.

      But when they start adjusting prices specifically for the countries it says it isn't doing business with, that kind of falls to pieces.

        mic, @korwin

        Price discrimination doesn't change where the sale takes place. If I walk into a store in the US and buy a can of beans with a price tag under it that says 'US residents, $2; Australian residents, $4' that doesn't mean the sale now magically takes place in Australia.

        Just because we can purchase from an online store doesn't mean that purchase occurs in an Australian jurisdiction. If that were the case then simply selling things online would suddenly open you up to roughly 200 different sets of trading rules, simply because you didn't try to exclude people from certain countries from interacting with your store. That's not a reasonable interpretation of the law.

          Price discrimination doesn't change where the sale takes place. If I walk into a store in the US and buy a can of beans with a price tag under it that says 'US residents, $2; Australian residents, $4' that doesn't mean the sale now magically takes place in Australia.

          True. But then again, that's not what's happening. What's happening is Australians are going to a version of the website that has been changed specifically for Australians. It would be walking into "Wallmart For Australians" and claiming that "No, we don't sell to Australians."

            I think it's a grey area, even with tailored prices being shown. It's the words 'conducting business in Australia' that are a problem. Say I sold plants out of my house, and I said anyone in my suburb can buy them for $10 and anyone in the next suburb over can buy them for $15, surely the business itself is conducted in my house regardless of whether the person who has come to my house to buy it is from my suburb or the next one over.

            The Steam situation seems along those lines to me. They sell some game to the US for $40 and to Australians for $60 but the purchase is still done through their storefront, on their server in the US.

            If the wording was 'Valve is selling to Australians' then there's no doubt it'd be an unequivocal yes, but 'Valve is conducting business in Australia'? That just doesn't feel like a correct statement to me.

              It's also worth pointing out that they have servers in Australia for their own games. If that's not conducting business in Australia...

                ISPs here offer to mirror Valve's services, sure. The business the ACCC objected to was the sale of games, not CDN hosting.

              I think it's a grey area, even with tailored prices being shown.

              Which is exactly why it was decided in courts, with judges who have a lifetime of knowledge and experience in deciding these things. If it was black and white, it wouldn't need to go to court, or we could just build a computer to decide these things. But it's a grey area, so it went to a person with a monumental amount of experience in deciding these things. Steam and the Australian Government then made their cases, and the Judge declared that yes, they were doing business in Australia

          Just because we can purchase from an online store doesn't mean that purchase occurs in an Australian jurisdiction.
          That's exactly what it means.
          If that were the case then simply selling things online would suddenly open you up to roughly 200 different sets of trading rules, simply because you didn't try to exclude people from certain countries from interacting with your store.
          It does. Alright, in some cases it doesn't because a lot of online sales (like offline sales) deal with physical products, in which case it's pretty easy to avoid a certain countries' trade laws by simply stating "we do not sell to X" and not allowing shipping to X.

          In the case of digital good/services, things get a little more complex but the basic laws remain the same, if you allow sales to a country, you must follow the trade regulations of that country. Realistically you can stop sales to a country through geo-blocking, anyone who avoids the block (with VPN's) is then considered breaching regulations, and their trade laws don't apply to them (aka, no refund in that case)

          Last edited 29/03/16 4:12 pm

            That's exactly what it means.

            Can you help me find what you're basing that on? I've had a look through the law and it only mentions foreign corporations once, and only in relation to price surveillance.

          "Just because we can purchase from an online store doesn't mean that purchase occurs in an Australian jurisdiction."

          That's exactly what it means, and that's why this court case was necessary. It's often necessary for the courts to "discover" (for want of a better word) a thing exists. That's what this case did. The Justice has set a precedent, so now future cases can be judged in relation to it.

          Basically, it's up to the courts to determine the intent of legislation where a grey area exists. Legislation often can't account for every single eventuality, so judges fill in the blanks so to speak. It's an important part of the Australian legal system.

          Source: studied two-ish years of law at university.

          EDIT: Sorry, I should clarify. It doesn't mean that every single online transaction involving an Australian takes place in Australia (see: "we do not ship to X"). It means that online transactions where the seller has made efforts to essentially set up an entirely separate online instance of their store for Australia (including pricing and censored products), then that's what it means.

          Last edited 29/03/16 5:44 pm

            See my reply to sabrescene above. I'm looking for where in the law it is that clarifies that 'that's exactly what it means'. Any help you can give would be appreciated.

            Last edited 29/03/16 5:44 pm

              Here you go: (EDIT: better quote)

              “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.”

              Source: http://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/federal-court-finds-valve-made-misleading-representations-about-consumer-guarantees

              Again, legislation is not the entirety of the law. Australia relies heavily on common law, and that's what this case is. The judge's interpretation of the law, which sets a binding precedent.

              Of course, Valve can appeal the ruling. But until such time as the ruling is overturned, it is now the law.

              Last edited 29/03/16 5:50 pm

                That's not even close to authoritative enough for what I'm looking for, it's a comment made by the plaintiff. The actual ratio decidendi would be more relevant once published, but free interpretation without a basis in existing law is a recipe for appeal. The judge's job is to interpret law, not to invent law; there must be some basis for this particular interpretation of scope in the existing legislation.

                Maybe you can clarify something while you're here, though. Ratio decidendi only applies binding precedent to lower courts, isn't that correct? Higher courts aren't bound, what about equal level courts?

                  Fair call, I understand waiting for the actual transcript to be made available before passing judgment. I'll be interested to read that as well.

                  RE: ratio decidendi, judges of the same level are not required to follow precedent but it is very, very persuasive. Generally, judges will tend to follow this in the interest of consistency, unless there has been a major error in the initial judge's reasoning.

                  FWIW, the only courts that would be able to outright overturn this precedent are either the Full Court of the Federal Court (this precedent was set by "just" one of the FCA judges) or the High Court.

                  @hotcakes Yeah, I checked a hierarchy map of Australian courts earlier to see where this particular decision was made. Seems to be two opportunities for appeal depending on how their lawyers feel about their chances.

                  Thanks for the info on ratio decidendi at equal level courts, I was having trouble finding details on that!

                  No problem, sorry if I came off as a bit antagonistic! I just generally tend to err on the side of the consumer when it comes to these things.

                  Just a small clarification on the hierarchy and appeals - the High Court will usually only hear appeals that have been granted "special leave" by 2-3 High Court Justices who review the facts before granting or denying special leave. So it IS the highest court of appeal in Australia, but it doesn't make them the final avenue for every case that has exhausted the other appellate courts.

                  Only cases which raise a question of major public importance, are the result of conflicting lower court opinions or the rather general "in the interests of administrative justice" qualify.

                  And yeah, the equivalent level hierarchy isn't made terribly clear anywhere that's easy to find. I can recommend some very informative, if dry, text books though!

                  Last edited 29/03/16 6:37 pm

                  Here's the judges decision

                  https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2778501-20160324-NSD886-14-ACCC-v-Valve-No-3-Judgment.html#document/p1

                  Relevant part starts at #158 on Page 43 (Numbered 50 in the PDF), but if you want you could skip to #178 on Page 48 (55).

                  Basically what it boils down to is

                  A) Valve had CDN's in Australia, a fair number of them
                  B) Valve allowed Australian customers to access support channels
                  C) Steam had 2.2 Million Australian Users
                  D) Valve knew the users were in Australia
                  E) Steam prices games differently in Australia, or sometimes doesn't make them available at all
                  F) Valve pays for it's Australian servers from an Australian bank account

      They are however from that store front selling game at special Australian Prices, selling version of games rated under the Australian OFLC system.

      You don't get to pick and choose the rules. Either follow ACCC guidelines, or drop the regional pricing and sell RC content.

      Technically they are considered to be doing business in Australia, it's always been this way with trade laws (not just here either). The exception to the rule is things like US Netflix where it's only possible for us to access by tricking it into thinking we're not from Australia - i.e. they aren't technically doing business with us here.

      Edit to clarify; If Valve (or any other business/store) wanted to avoid Australian trade laws, they would need to avoid selling products in Australia, in the case of Valve that would mean geo-block Australian IP's from Steam. Not a hard thing to do, or a difficult thing to get around but it would exempt them from our laws - but then they couldn't charge us regional prices :P

      Last edited 29/03/16 3:16 pm

      The full text of the judgment has not yet been published on the Federal Court website - www.fedcourt.gov.au/publications/judgments/latest, so unfortunately we do not yet know the Court's reasoning. I suspect their reasoning will go well beyond 'they don't actively prevent us from using it.'

        Thanks for the link, I'll keep an eye on it. I'm definitely interested to hear the full reasoning.

        Here you go: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2778501-20160324-NSD886-14-ACCC-v-Valve-No-3-Judgment.html#document/p1

        Looks like some media got a hold of the ruling text and uploaded it to documentcloud.

      The law is based on where the consumer is and the last point of sale.

      Even if your goods are imported whoever sells the good is responsible and the point of sale has the right to chase up their supplier. Even Apple has to provide consumer prtection on iPhones. Its funny how software companies are really the only ones throwing around the buyer beware attitude in the US... its damaging the game industry imo

      Still gind it funny Steam doesnt do business in Australia when they sell Steam cards in stores

      There is no argument - they're doing trade in Australia.

      Proof: They sell Steam cards in 7-Elevens, Coles. etc.

      Otherwise when trying to buy from them, it should be impossible (without workarounds) like when trying to buy games from Amazon.com

        Does Valve sell the wallet cards directly here, or are they resold by an importer? Since they're a physical product though the cards would be their own purchase with their own refund/return I'd imagine, independent of the digital store.

          What's fascinating about the cards is that when I've bought them at Coles, I pay the card's printed price in AUD, and when I punch the code into Steam, Valve does the currency conversion and gives me a (much smaller) equivalent in USD.

          But if I buy the cards from EB, I get the printed card value in USD and pay the higher exchange in AUD at the counter.

          I haven't compared them to see which one used which key-activation agent, though. Or looked into who that is and where they're based.

            I noticed that when I was researching it just earlier, seems quite unusual. If you do happen to pick up one of the AUD ones, I'd be interested to see a photo of all the material with it, including front and back (minus the code itself, of course). I'm quite curious if it's a company here selling the service and printing the cards themselves with Valve's permission, or if Valve themselves are distributing country-specific cards.

              It's not valve themselves selling the cards, it's some kind of card merchant company (can't remember the name). Same company also sells blizzard gift cards and psn cards etc at coles.

              A company in Australia prints the cards under agreement with Valve. We approached Valve to distribute digital only wallet codes here in Aus. This existing agreement came up as a potential road block.

    Only cynical business people would try to uphold the 'not doing business with Australia' argument.

    How does this factor in with changing my store region on a console? The business wasn't conducted in the country I've elected to say I'm from, so do I give up my rights to be under Aussie consumer law?

    Apologies if the answer has already been given.

    I ask this because console manufacturers are either a) directly opposing region-hopping on their devices; or b) being very very wishy-washy when asked if it's possible to do so, lest someone takes that as tacit acknowledgement/encouragement.

      I think you will find that is against the terms and conditions in some small print. Which would basically through out you rights as a consumer such as ability to claim a refund or request support if it isn't working as advertised

        The Australian consumer standards cannot be overwritten by terms and conditions. Not sure what difference that makes in Leigh's question but the terms and conditions will have nothing to do with whether he has rights as an Australian consumer or not, that's a question for the ACCC.

          This was more in response to accessing region-locked services by basically lying to the company providing the service. In that situation I think the ACCC would side with the company as the defense they don't provide that services to Australia would be valid. As such the user wouldn't be covered by Australian consumer law.
          At least that is my understanding, I could be totally wrong.

    I think the interesting fallout will be for software as a service. I would think many companies (Adobe, Microsoft etc) would be angry if this sets a precedent that chops that down.

    “This is also the first time Courts have applied the extended definition of ‘goods’ to include “computer software” in the ACL."
    Well I guess if the government wants to add GST to digital items they do have to refer to them as "goods"... /sigh

      I think what is interesting is the judge may have changed the definition from "service" to "goods" and what effect this may have on software licensing. I.e neutering some of the more aggressive publisher policies

      dude, we have paying gst on digital goods for since at least 2007. the difference is that for the past 9 years companies have not had to pay the gst. remember most games on steam are charged to equal the retail price in stores which includes GST

    When it comes to the Steam Subscriber Agreement, does that mean that Valve have no right to enforce region locking and regional pricing on us like they currently do because im pretty sure those would be against our consumer law

      No. There terms expressly allow region locking and regional pricing... mostly added due to Russian market, but exploited by publishers to add Australian taxes. Steam also says they are not responsible for pricing either, publishers set the prices

      Region locking is kind of allowed fue to import, censorship and copyright laws.

    The comments on this story on the American version of Kotaku are fucking ridiculous.

    I don't understand how so many people can be so bloody clueless - a google search will reveal how wrong most of them are about trading and the law!! *bangs head*

      my favorite one was "lets nuke bomb australia"

        "Nuke bomb Australia" sounds like an awesome move

      Never. Ever. Ever go to the US comment sections.

        You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

          Mind you, as the culture wars intensify, it's hard to be too proud of our rapidly slimming margin of improved civility.

          Last edited 29/03/16 4:52 pm

            Civil discourse is an endangered animal. I'm guilty of throwing insults around every now and then myself, sadly. But at least I'm striving for a standard! A lot of people online seem more interested in just how low their anonymity will allow them to go.

        I noticed the other day that Engadget closed their comments and I can completely see why. Every time I look at the comments on there I just want to go for a walk. It's exactly the same with any US site. I don't understand what's wrong with American mentality. Their stupidity, ignorance, and arrogance absolutely astound me.

        Edit: I mean, why does an article on a new CPU have to turn into an argument about guns and war and how xxx is ruining the country?

        Last edited 29/03/16 5:50 pm

    dont VAC ban me steam nar bro naaaaaa, I always got to pay more for your games bro!
    if i lose my steam account then there goes 3000 dollars bro dont ban me.

    thats the way i feel about using steam

      If they did that ACCC would probably throw them back in court for full cash refund to all Australian steam accounts... cause the court has already said they have been doing business in Australia.

        Doesn't a VAC ban just stop you from playing online, but still allow you to access your account and games?

          I mainly play online with other people

    Valve doesn't do business in Australia? Then why is GTAV $15USD more expensive in Australia when at full price than in the US? Explain that? But this might mean that we can get AUD on the Steam store soon.

    So the next question is are they going to go after Apple, Microsoft and other companies that are equally in breach of ACL, or is this another case of lets go after someone we can actually get hold of/pile in on complaints made in other countries?

      They went after Valve due to number of complaints and their lack of contact... hell valve didnt answer them until they got sued. First rule if dealing with ACCC if they ask a question answer them quickly, politely and concisely... instead Valve ignored them, told them they were wrong and we dont answer to Australian law and go read our policy for further answers on our legalese fineprint.... Wrong way to answer ACCC

      Microsoft and Apple least play the game with ACCC and shiw some response. That said case now has precedent for internet and software goods and services.

    Two potential game-changers in this, which I'm very interested to see the results of.

    1) They do business in Australia, and are thus subject to Australian consumer law.
    2) Games are 'goods', not licences.

    Veeeeeeery interesting. Especially that last one. What's Australia's attitude towards what other nations know as 'First sale doctrine'?

    What about consoles? Pretty sure they don't offer refunds on their online stores.

    Back then Doug Lombardi informed Kotaku that Valve was “making every effort to cooperate with the Australian officials on this matter.”

    If that were true you wouldn't have to be sued into complying.

    Suck it valve, I want a court order requiring the development and release of Half Life 3, greedy prick teasers have been holding out too long!

    Way to go Australia, let's just make everything more expensive for ourselves. GG.

    Look forward to higher prices, that 1800 number and PO box aren't free, nor are the people employed to man them. They'll be looking to recoup those legal costs too, and hedge against the inevitable influx of sooks looking for refunds on games they simply don't like.

    Fuck Valve, fuck Steam, fuck Australia.

    Last edited 30/03/16 9:58 am

      That's an absurdly cynical response. A $3bn+ earning company is going to 'punish' the Australian customer for a court case raised by the regulator for which the cost, and ongoing cost of the required penalties, is a mere drop in the ocean of their ongoing earnings.

      'that 1800 number and PO box aren't free....' hahaha. Imagine some Valve accountant being all 'LOOK AT THESE EXPENSES!!!'

        I didn't say they were massively expensive, just that they aren't free. Never mind the other stuff I mentioned, but it's beside the point: Australia is a very regulation-heavy economy, and there are of course costs involved in compliance. Valve is a business, why wouldn't they pass on the real costs to the market sector that incurs them, plus a markup for good measure? They're not going to forego that profit, and it's not like you can get any of these games from elsewhere.

        We're perpetually cynical about monopolies like Telstra throwing their weight around, why are you prepared to give Valve the benefit of the doubt?

          Valve is not a monopoly. There are some games that you can only buy on Steam, but the vast majority are available at competing retailers, and in the last year most of my game purchases have been outside of Steam due to my increasingly souring perspective of Valve's business practices. You and everyone else should do the same.

          It's not quite as convenient as having one massive library to look through for all my games but I can't live with throwing more money at Valve anymore.

        Furthermore, I, as a rational actor, should be able to waive my rights to these protections in order to access cheaper prices from offshore sellers. It should be my right to deal with other people worldwide without encumbering them with Australia's protectionist bullshit. My money, my choice, caveat emptor. That's the "Fuck Australia" part of the equation. The law actively prevents me from waiving these rights at my discretion.

    "No set amount was decided in terms of liability at the judgement, but there is a chance that, in addition to any liability, Valve will have to pay up to 75% of the ACCC’s legal costs."

    Only 75%? They were found guilty of breaking the law; they should have to pay all of the ACCC's legal costs.

    now that digital media is classified as goods
    gov is gonna apply more tax... its all lining up for the big change on internet sales the gov is doing
    or has that allready been done? ive been in-game too long

    WELL THEN.. What about SONY PSN AU.. They have "A strict no refund policy".. EDIT: Actually my bad. Seems like you can claim refunds within 14 days of purchase now.

    Last edited 31/03/16 4:58 pm

    Really? I find returning stuff to EB or Big W way easier:

    Walk into store and up to counter
    "HI this doesn't work"
    "Have you got your receipt?"
    At EB just show app
    At Big W "sorry no but here you can see the amount charged from my bank"
    "Did you want exchange or refund?"

    Pretty easy

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