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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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76. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 02:47 Dirwulf
 
jdreyer wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 21:53:
While I don't disagree that class action lawsuits typically result in a "punishment" for the company that is largely meaningless, I don't like the idea that I won't have this right available as an option.

Look at the recent EA NFL loss: Sega launches NFL 2K5 for $20. EA drops their price from $50 down to $30 for Madden. EA inks an exclusive deal with the NFL so Sega can't make their game anymore. EA price goes back up to $50 and stays there. Class action lawsuit drags on for years. Finally a settlement: EA keeps their exclusive NFL license, and has to pay either $7 or $2 to anyone who can prove they bought the game over the last six years. Keep $20 per game and risk getting slapped on the wrist for $2? Sure, I'll take that deal EVERY TIME.

The judge still has to approve the settlement as it's not final yet. Hopefully he won't let EA get away with their monopoly on NFL games. The class action also states they have to give up NCAA exclusivity.
 
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