Valve Fined $3m for Refusing Steam Refunds
Ashley Allen / 7 years ago
Valve has been fined by the Australian Federal Court for failing to fulfil refunds on its game distribution platform Steam. The company was hit with the biggest possible fine – $3 million (Australian Dollars; around $2.1 million in US dollars) – for its breach of Australian consumer law and its lack of remorse.
“Valve is a United States company with 2.2 million Australian accounts which received 21,124 tickets in the relevant period containing the word “refund” from consumers with Australian IP addresses,” said Federal Court Judge Justice Edelman in his judgement (via the Sydney Morning Herald). “Yet it had a culture by which it formed a view without Australian legal advice that it was not subject to Australian law, and it was content to proceed to trade with Australian consumers without that advice and with the view that even if advice had been obtained that Valve was required to comply with Australian law the advice might have been ignored.”
The charges against Valve were brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after the company was considered not to be taking Australian laws seriously, compounded by its refusal to give refunds a number of Australian customers. The Chairman of the ACCC, Rod Sims, thinks that the fine was a message to other foreign companies to take Australian laws seriously.
“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,” 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.”