With the final appeal of its loss in the lawsuit filed against it by Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission having come to naught, Valve has posted an Australian Consumer Rights Notice on Steam, acknowledging the error of its ways and informing gamers down under of their rights and responsibilities as determined by the laws of their homeland.
The suit was filed by the ACCC in 2014 over Steam's lack of a refund policy, which Australian consumers are guaranteed under law. Valve lost, appealed, lost again, and finally attempted to appeal to the High Court. Permission to do so was denied, however, bringing the drawn-out odyssey to a close.
"On 24 March 2016, the Federal Court of Australia found that Valve Corporation had engaged in misleading conduct contrary to the Australian Consumer Law in representing to Australian consumers via the Steam Subscriber Agreement and Steam Refund Policy that consumers had no entitlement to a refund in any circumstances and that Valve had excluded, restricted or modified statutory guarantees of acceptable quality," the notice says.
"When you buy video games from Valve Corporation as a consumer located in Australia, the video games come with guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law that cannot be excluded, including a guarantee that the video games are of acceptable quality. You are entitled to a replacement or refund from the retail supplier of the video games for a major failure and for compensation for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage. You are also entitled to have the video games repaired or replaced by the retail supplier of the video games if the video games fail to be of acceptable quality and the failure does not amount to a major failure. Certain other rights are available directly against manufacturers that cannot be excluded or limited."
Valve is also on the hook for a $AU3 million ($2.3 million) fine as a result of the lawsuit loss.
The consumer rights notice includes links to the 2016 ruling against Valve, as well as to the Australian Consumer Law and the Australian Competition and Consumer Comission websites. What it does not have, interestingly, is any reference to time limits. Valve implemented a refund policy in 2015 that's pretty liberal, but limited to two weeks from the date of purchase, and less than two hours of play time. I've reached out to Valve to clarify whether the time limits apply in Australia and will update if I receive a reply.