Since 2014, Australia’s consumer rights group, the ACCC, has been hammering down on Valve due to the ‘no refunds’ policy that was enforced on Steam prior to June 2015. In fact, this court case is likely one of the major catalysts that forced Valve into implementing its current refunds policy. Despite last year’s changes to Steam, back in March of this year, an Australian court found Valve guilty of breaking the country’s laws and now, the ACCC wants Valve to pay a $3 million fine.
The fine is supposed to cover the time period from 2011 to 2014, before Valve’s new refund policy was implemented. At a hearing regarding the case against Valve this week, the ACCC argued (via Kotaku) that a $3 million should be used “in order to achieve both specific and general deterrents, and also because of the serious nature of the conduct”.
The crux of the argument revolves around Valve’s senior management being directly involved in Steam’s violation of Australian consumer law, with the Steam Subscriber Agreement specifically stating that a no refund policy was in place for a number of years. Valve’s defence during this case has been the fact that they are based in Seattle, essentially the company thinks of itself as “an American company doing business in America” but just so happens to have customers in other parts of the world.
Since the court did not rule that Valve intended to mislead or deceive its Australian customers, Valve is now arguing that the proposed $3 million fine be reduced to $250,000 instead.
KitGuru Says: While most are happy with Steam’s new refund policy, we can’t forget that Valve operated on its old anti-consumer policy for many years and these legal proceedings began before the new system was put into place, which is why the ACCC is continuing to push the issue. Do you guys think Valve still needs to be punished over its old ‘no refunds’ policy? Or should legal ramifications be dropped due to the new policy?