Home Games Federal Court confirms that Valve misled gamers

Federal Court confirms that Valve misled gamers

A full bench of the Federal Court has thrown out an appeal by online video game retailer Valve Corporation against a ruling that it engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations about consumer guarantees.

The company's appeal against a $3 million penalty levied by the court  was also dismissed.

Valve is one of the world’s larger online video game retailers and operates the Steam distribution platform.

The Federal Court had found in 2016 that Valve was subject to Australian Consumer Law and ordered it to pay the penalty. The company is based in the US.

"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.

“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 began its legal action against Valve in August 2014. In 2016, the Federal Court found that Valve had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations and the same year it was ordered to pay penalties of $3 million.

The ACCC also made a cross appeal in relation to representations made by Valve in online chats to individual consumers, but this was dismissed.

The trial judge had previously found these representations were not misleading, in part because the consumers had asserted their rights under Australian Consumer Law, and were therefore not likely to be misled.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.