Valve’s latest appeal over an Australian regulator’s order for the company to pay $3 million on claims that it misled or deceived gamers in matters related to Steam’s refund policy has been dismissed. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced the decision today, stating that it is an important precedent related to overseas companies that do business in Australia. Specifically, the court said this decision affirms that Valve, which is based in the United States, is bound by Australian laws when selling to Australian gamers.
“This important precedent confirms the ACCC’s view that overseas-based companies selling to Australian consumers must abide by our laws,” ACCC 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.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s legal action against Valve dates back to 2014, which is when the process began. Two years later, in 2016, Australia’s Federal Court ruled that Valve misled or deceived consumers. And later that year, Valve was ordered to pay penalties amounting to $3 million.
Valve’s initial appeal was dismissed, so this is just the latest setback for Valve. The company is arguing that it never properly did business in Australia because it sells its products through a virtual marketplace, Steam. As such, Valve contends that Steam does not fall into the definition of “goods,” as it is defined by Australian Consumer Law.
According to the ACCC, Steam has 2.2 million users in Australia. We have contacted Valve in an attempt to get a comment on this latest appeal; we’ll update this post if we hear anything back.