Valve has lost an appeal filed in The High Court of Australia, and must now pay an AU$3 million penalty for breaching Australian Consumer Law.
The Australia Competition and Consumer Commission commenced legal action against Valve in August 2014, contending that Steam’s refund policy was in breach of Australian law.
At the time, Valve did not offer refunds for games at all. It now offers refunds on games played for fewer than two hours, with some caveats.
Valve argued that digital products sold through Steam shouldn’t be considered “goods” by Australian law, and that therefore, it wasn’t doing business in Australia.
However, in 2016, the Federal Court found that Valve had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations with regards to its refund policy.
Valve appealed the findings, but in December 2017 the Full Federal Court dismissed Valve’s appeal on jurisdiction.
“This important precedent confirms the ACCC’s view that overseas-based companies selling to Australian consumers must abide by our laws,” Australia Competition and Consumer Commission Commissioner Sarah Court said.
“If customers buy a product online that is faulty, they are entitled to the same right to a repair, replacement or refund as if they’d walked in to a store.”
Valve has 2.2 million Australian subscriber accounts on Steam.