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Australian Court Rules Valve Must Pay $3 Million Penalty Over Steam Refund Policy

Valve Corporation officially will be paying $3 AUD million fine after an appeal was rejected on April 19th, 2018.

In 2014 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission commenced legal action against the giant gaming company. The ACCC alleged at the time that Valve had made "... false or misleading representations to Australian customers of Steam."

Prior to 2015, Valve's policy was as follows, "As with most software products, unless required by local law, we do not offer refunds or exchanges on games, DLC or in-game items purchased on our website or through the Steam Client."

It was this that caused the issues in Australia, as Australia required a refund policy for customers in 2014.

via: Valve Inc.

The ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, said in reference to these allegations that, "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."

In 2016, the trial judge ruled in favour of the ACCC and said that Valve, "had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations to Australian customers about their rights under consumer guarantees."

The Full Federal Court had upheld the decision that the trial judge had initially made, and ordered Valve Corporation to pay the $3 AUD Million, which is approximately $2.3 million US dollars (based on current exchange rates).

In December 2017, Valve Corporation sought a special leave to appeal, which is the type of appeal that Corporations are required to file in Australia if they are looking for an appeal from the Federal Court, to the High Court of Australia.

via High Court of Australia

Since then, Valve has been waiting for the response to their special leave to appeal, and on April 19th, 2018, the High Court of Australia ruled that the application for special leave would be dismissed.

This dismissal will ensure that Valve pays the $3 AUD million that was mandated they pay the penalty, and will likely set a precedent for future companies and their refund policies that will look to sell in Australia in the future.

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