Valve Facing Up to $3 Million in Fines in Australia

Published: November 21, 2016 11:28 PM /



After being found guilty earlier this year, Kotaku Australia is reporting that Valve is facing up to $3 million in fines from the Australian Courts over their lack of a refund policy between 2011 and 2014.

The case began in 2014 when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took Valve to court over their lack of an advertised refund policy. While that would later change, the court case continued, with the ACCC seeking fines for the practice during 2011 to 2014 where there was no refund policy and additional remedies on the current refund policy. While some of those would be dropped, like the request for a 1-800 number due to the cost and practicality of the matter, the ACCC is still seeking an injunction to ensure Valve's current refund policy is compliant with the law.

The latest hearing held last week had both parties submitting their cases on what the penalty should be. The ACCC presented several reasons in their argument as to why Valve should be fined $3 million dollars. First, it would serve as a deterrent for other companies attempting to skirt the law regarding consumer protections. Second, it would make sure Valve took the matter seriously, as well as other issues regarding Australian law. Finally, due to the serious nature of the conduct, which included putting what they regard as illegal terms in the terms of use and failing to educate their support team on Australian law or provide instructions to be compliant with it.

Valve, on the other hand, is requesting a much smaller $250k fine, arguing that there was no intention to deceive or mislead consumers in Valve's conduct. It wouldn't appear terribly likely that they will get that wish, however, as Justice Edelman, the judge overseeing the case, responded, "Your proposed penalty of $250,000 isn’t even the price of doing business, it’s next to nothing is it?"

After the submissions concluded, Justice Edelman stated that he would aim to give his ruling, which would include penalties and any potential injunctions, by mid-December or January.

Quick Take

Valve needs to hope that the number isn't 3 million or else Gabe Newell may have some issues. Trying to communicate to him about the number 3 may result in a whole new set of issues.

More seriously, this is a case that is quite important in holding Valve accoujntable and also establishing that if you are doing significant business in a region, regardless of where you are located, you may be held accountable to those laws. We'll report on this when the ruling is handed down either next month or early new year, as well as if Valve decides to appeal (as of now, they seem to be leaning to not appealing).

How much do you think Valve should be fined? Do you think this is a good precedent to set? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Don Parsons
| Senior Writer

A longtime lover of speculative fiction, in almost all its forms, Don joined TechRaptor in 2014 on a whim sending in an application as he was looking for… More about Don