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Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits

Valve announces an updated Steam Subscriber Agreement, becoming the latest company to attempt to avoid potential class action lawsuits by prohibiting them as a term of service. Here is their explanation of this:

Weíre also introducing a new dispute resolution process that will benefit you and Valve. Recently, a number of companies have created similar provisions which have generated lots of discussion from customers and communities, and weíve been following these discussions closely. On Steam, whenever a customer is unhappy with any transaction, our first goal is to resolve things as quickly as possible through the normal customer support process. However in those instances in which we can't resolve a dispute, we've outlined a new required process whereby we agree to use arbitration or small claims court to resolve the dispute. In the arbitration process, Valve will reimburse your costs of the arbitration for claims under a certain amount. Reimbursement by Valve is provided regardless of the arbitratorís decision, provided that the arbitrator does not determine the claim to be frivolous or the costs unreasonable.

Most significant to the new dispute resolution terms is that customers may now only bring individual claims, not class action claims. We considered this change very carefully. Itís clear to us that in some situations, class actions have real benefits to customers. In far too many cases however, class actions donít provide any real benefit to users and instead impose unnecessary expense and delay, and are often designed to benefit the class action lawyers who craft and litigate these claims. Class actions like these do not benefit us or our communities. We think this new dispute resolution process is faster and better for you and Valve while avoiding unnecessary costs, and that it will therefore benefit the community as a whole.

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53. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:48 Cutter
 
NKD wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:37:
Crustacean Soup wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:33:
You're not getting my point. It's not about the $10 I might get from Valve if I sue them (vs. the $0.25 class action settlement). I couldn't care less about that. Since I can't/won't afford to waste my time taking them to trial or arbitration over such a piddling amount, what's discouraging them from stealing my $10 in the future? A couple dozen people bothering to bring them to small claims doesn't do that. A class action representing a couple dozen hundred thousand people would. That's the whole reason that the class action even exists.

If someone can't be bothered to even enter arbitration or small-claims , then they don't deserve remedies. You should have to participate in the legal system if you expect to benefit from it. And conversely, if the wronged "class" can't even be bothered to fire off a few emails on their own behalf, maybe the company in question doesn't deserve to be punished. This attitude of "Click here to admonish a company and get a free coupon!" is the laziest perversion of a tort system I can think of.

Incredibly well said.

And as for the EA comparisons some people are making...wake me when Steam has a few decades behind them of shitting all over customers, competitors, and employees. EA voted worst company of the year. Steam not even in the running. For anyone who doesn't understand why that is you shouldn't even be taking part in this conversation.
 
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