Valve’s past lack of customer service gets it into trouble

valve-logoThe software distribution outfit Valve has found itself in hot water down-under after its sales policy and customer service policy fell foul of civilised consumer law.

In 2014, Valve was dragged into court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for refusing to offer refunds on Steam.

The complaint said Valve made “false or misleading representations” to Steam users in Oz, including that they were not entitled to a refund under any circumstances, and that Valve itself was not obligated to refund games in cases where “the consumer had not contacted and attempted to resolve the problem with the computer game developer.”

The Commission has now made its ruling and declared the outfit “not fair dinkum”.

An Aussie federal court has declared that, despite being a US-based company that doesn’t offer physical goods in Australia, Valve’s refusal to offer refunds on goods it sells is in violation of Australian consumer law.

The move creates a precedent because it defined digital products as “goods” for the first time.

To be fair since the complaint was filed, Valve has drastically changed its policy and now offers refunds “for nearly any purchase on Steam—for any reason.”   However it will still have to stump up for the fines which could be as much as $839,000 per breach.