Valve is being taken to court by The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The ACCC is alleging that Valve has not fulfilled mandatory consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law. While neither Valve or Steam has any physical presence in Australia, the company must observe Australian law when it provides goods or services to Australians.
According to ACCC chairman Rod Sims, Valve has come under the spotlight due to its policy on refunds.
“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,” Sims said. “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,” he continued.
The ACCC will allege 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.
According to Valve's Steam refund policy , refunds or exchanges on "games, DLC or in-game items" are not offered unless required by local law. In the case of Australia, those offers are required.
The matter will go to court in Sydney on October 7.