Valve is facing a $3 million fine after being sued by Australia for “misleading customers,” it has been revealed today.
Valve was taken to task by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) for failing to refund Australian customers, with Australian Consumer Law dictating that “all consumer goods or services come with automatic consumer guarantees that they are of acceptable quality and fit for the purpose for which they were sold. If they are not, consumers have a right to a remedy, which may include refund, repair, or replacement in certain circumstances. These consumer rights cannot be excluded, restricted, or modified.”
The case was first made back in 2014, with the Australian Federal Court turning down two appeals made by Valve in order to follow through with the fine. The US-based company now offers refunds to Steam users, though did not when the case was presented to the Australian court. As a result, Valve is now being forced to cough up a hefty amount after falling out of line with the country’s consumer laws.
“The full court found Valve carried on business in Australia, and was therefore bound by Australian Consumer Law in its dealings with customers here,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said (via iTWire).
“The full court also upheld the finding that Valve made misleading representations about consumer guarantees and that certain terms and conditions in the Steam subscriber agreements and refund policies were false or misleading.”
The ACCC reports that Valve has also been ordered to “publish information on Australian consumer rights on their website for 12 months,” “implement a consumer compliance program for their system and staff,” and “not make any similar representations to Australian consumers for three years.”
Valve is a private company, so its net worth isn’t public knowledge. Back in 2012 it was reportedly around the $3 billion mark, though the continued success of Steam will have seen this number sky rocket. Gabe Newell, the company’s founder, now has a net worth of $5.5 billion according to Forbes.