Way back in August 2014, prior to Steam’s refund system coming into place, the Australian Consumer Rights Commission began investigating Valve over its Steam consumer policies. It took a few years, but eventually the ACCC convinced an Australian court to fine Valve $3 million for violating Australia’s consumer laws surrounding refunds. Last year, Valve attempted to appeal the decision but was denied. Now, the company has applied to escalate the case to a higher court and will try a second appeal.
Last year, the Australian Federal Court upheld the original fine imposed on Valve for failing to offer refunds in Australia between 2011 and 2014. Now, Valve has filed a “special leave application” to the High Court, in an effort to appeal the fine once again. This was pointed out by public affairs and policy lawyer, Jonny Roses.
As Kotaku Australia points out, Valve’s odds don’t look particularly great. The Federal Court ruling last year seemed to fully support the original fine:
“We do not consider that any error has been shown in the primary judge’s approach to the determination of the appropriate penalty, and we do not consider the penalty that he imposed to be manifestly excessive.”
Adding to that, the appeal judges also said that Valve “appears to have done relatively little to train its support staff about Australian legal requirements”. With that in mind, Valve may not have much luck appealing to the High Court.
KitGuru Says: The odd thing about this is that Valve clearly knows that its lack of refund policy was in violation of laws in several countries. The Australian government was the first to call them out and as a result, Steam promptly received a refund system in 2015, several months after the ACCC filed its case against Valve. I don’t necessarily think they’ll be able to get out of paying the fine on another appeal. Do you guys think the original $3 million fine was justified?