We've talked before about how Valve is obliged to provide refunds for non-functioning games purchased on Steam under Australian consumer law, but actually getting the company to cough up has proved difficult for buyers. That might become a little easier with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) taking Valve to court over its stance.
The ACCC has started proceedings against Valve in the Federal Court. It says Valve has told consumers that they are not entitled to refunds, that they must contact game developers first, and that it is not obliged to provide functional games. All would be clear breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.
"The Australian Consumer Law applies to any business providing goods or services within Australia. Valve may be an American based company with no physical presence in Australia, but it is carrying on business in Australia by selling to Australian consumers, who are protected by the Australian Consumer Law," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement announcing the actions.
"It is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law for businesses to state that they do not give refunds under any circumstances, including for gifts and during sales. Under the Australian Consumer Law, consumers can insist on a refund or replacement at their option if a product has a major fault."
The matter hits court on October 7. This will be interesting, especially as a test case potentially demonstrating to other companies that they can't ignore consumer obligations simply because they operate overseas.