High Court throws out Valve bid to appeal $3m judgment


The ACCC filed its case before Valve introduced an automated refunds system in 2015.

In recent times, the ACCC has been hauling a number of companies in front of the Federal Court for alleged deceptive conduct.

The Full Federal Court has decided that Valve is bound by the ACL because of its dealings with Australian customers, even though Valve is based overseas. In a statement, the ACCC says that this "is the final decision on this issue".

Today, Valve's Steam digital distribution platform offers a relatively generous refund policy: Subject to fair use and anti-fraud restrictions, gamers purchasing a title can request and be automatically granted an immediate refund providing they purchased the title less than 14 days ago and have played it for less than two hours in total.

PC games giant Valve has been fined $3m after the company lost an appeal to the High Court of Australia. The crux of the argument: The ACCC believed that Valve (owners of Steam, the world's largest PC games online marketplace) was in breach of Australian Consumer Law. The court rejected that ground of appeal.

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"This important precedent confirms the ACCC's view that overseas-based companies selling to Australian consumers must abide by our laws", Sarah Court, ACCC commissioner, said of the verdict. "If customers buy a product online that is faulty, they are entitled to the same right to a fix, replacement or refund as if they'd walked into a store", ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said in today's release.

The decision seemingly puts an end to years of back-and-forth and legal battles between Valve and the Australian regulator.

In January previous year the ACCC issued a warning to overseas-based online software and technology resellers operating locally off the back of the court's decision to hit Valve with millions in penalties over consumer law breaches.

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. On Friday the ACCC announced that request was denied, which means that Valve has no option but to make good on the AU$3 million fine. In addition to the $3 million AUD penalty, the company must also place a notice in font size 14 on its Australian website informing consumers of their rights.