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.