ACCC cross-appeals Valve Federal Court judgment

7 March 2017

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has filed a cross-appeal in relation to two findings in a Federal Court decision on false or misleading representations made by Valve to Australian consumers about consumer guarantees via its online gaming platform, Steam, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.

In March 2016, the Court found certain terms and conditions in the Steam subscriber agreements and refund policies were false or misleading about consumers’ rights to obtain a refund for games if they were not of acceptable quality. The Court also found that Valve engaged in conduct, and was carrying on business, in Australia. In December 2016, Valve was ordered to pay $3 million in penalties.

Valve has filed an appeal against the findings of the Court, the penalties and other orders.

In his March 2016 decision, Justice Edelman also ruled that some statements made by Valve in online chats to individual consumers were not misleading, in part because the consumers correctly asserted their rights under the Australian Consumer Law to Valve.

The ACCC has today filed a cross-appeal in relation to two of these findings that statements made by Valve to individual consumers were not misleading.

“If a consumer knows their rights and asserts them in making a complaint, the Australian Consumer Law should not allow a business to make misleading claims in the hope of deterring the consumer from claiming a remedy,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“All goods supplied to consumers come with automatic consumer guarantees that they are of acceptable quality and fit for the purpose for which they were sold, even if the business is based overseas.”

The appeal and cross-appeal will be heard on a date to be fixed by the Full Federal Court.

Notes to editors

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

https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/federal-court-finds-valve-made-misleading-representations-about-consumer-guarantees

https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/valve-to-pay-3-million-in-penalties-for-misrepresenting-gamers-consumer-guarantee-rights

Release number: 
MR 24/17
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