Valve Ordered to Pay $2.4 Million Fine for Misleading Steam Refund Policy

ScreenshotA scene from Half-Life

Game publishing and digital distribution giant Valve has been fined £1.64 million by an Australian court for participating in what was described as 'misleading or deceptive conduct' over the refund policy on its Steam platform.

In several instances where its hotels had issues, such as broken lifts or a lack of hot water, the court found that Meriton had steered the emails away from a majority of its guests.

Valve introduced an official refunds policy in June 2015, but in 2014 Valve explicitly did not offer refunds.

The High Court of Australia has dismissed an application by one of the world's largest online gaming companies, Valve Corporation, to appeal a court order that it pay penalties of $3 million for breaching local consumer laws.

Valve's response to the lawsuit was interesting. Secondly, Valve argued the games being sold through the Steam client didn't fit underneath the definition of "goods" as per Australian Consumer Law.

The consumer watchdog launched proceedings in the Federal Court against Valve in August 2014.


The judge ruling the case did not agree, saying that Valve had 2.2m customers in the Australia, as well as game servers and content delivery networks.

The 2016 decision by the Federal Court found that the terms and conditions in the Steam subscriber agreements, and Steam's refund policies, included false or misleading representations about consumers' rights to obtain a refund for games if they were not of acceptable quality, the ACCC said previously.

In December previous year, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia dismissed Valve Corporation's appeal against a ruling. The High Court is the final court of appeal in Australia and the top court in the country.

"This important precedent confirms the ACCC's view that overseas-based companies selling to Australian consumers must abide by our laws", said ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court.

The ACCC also made a cross appeal in relation to representations made by Valve in online chats to individual consumers, but this was dismissed.

Valve did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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