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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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152 Replies. 8 pages. Viewing page 7.
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32. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:18 btallas
 
Out of curiosity is this something you have to agree to next time you log in steam? What if I don't agree with this new term of service? Will they refund me some $'s for the games I've purchased through their service? I agreed to the terms of service when I signed up. If they change said terms of service or add a new term of service, does that just mean I'm SOL if I don't agree to the change or addition?

I'm not saying I agree or don't agree, I'm just curious what would happen if someone doesn't agree to the new term.
 
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31. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:18 Sepharo
 
eunichron wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:12:
Icewind wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:26:
eunichron wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 21:40:
Gonna grab my popcorn while the Valve/Gaben fanatics (they're not even fanboys at this point, they truly are fanatics) try to spin this into a positive.

Gonna grab my popcorn while the I-Hate-Anything-Not-In-Retail-Box / I-Have-Unrealistic-Expectations-because-I'm-an-Entitled-gamer fanatics (They're not even fanboys at this point, they truly are fanatics) try to make this seem like Valve is every bit as dirty as EA.

What's wrong with retail boxes?

Nothing. What's wrong with digital releases?
 
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30. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:15 NKD
 
Regardless of what one thinks of Valve, it's hard for an educated person to not have utter contempt for class actions. They are bad for both parties, and only good for the lawyers. You're almost always better off filing an individual claim.

It isn't as convenient as signing up on a website for a free coupon, but lawsuits are serious business and they shouldn't be convenient. You should go into them willing to put in a little time and effort. If you aren't willing, then perhaps you haven't been wronged as badly as you think.
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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29. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:12 eunichron
 
Icewind wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:26:
eunichron wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 21:40:
Gonna grab my popcorn while the Valve/Gaben fanatics (they're not even fanboys at this point, they truly are fanatics) try to spin this into a positive.

Gonna grab my popcorn while the I-Hate-Anything-Not-In-Retail-Box / I-Have-Unrealistic-Expectations-because-I'm-an-Entitled-gamer fanatics (They're not even fanboys at this point, they truly are fanatics) try to make this seem like Valve is every bit as dirty as EA.

What's wrong with retail boxes?
 
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28. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:11 Mad Max RW
 
I see all the self proclaimed online attorneys are coming out of the woodwork.  
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27. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:11 Closed Betas
 
They make up all shorts of useless stuff in their agreements/policies.. Just remember, these policies are not law, and may not hold up in a court of law.

They are there to stop people before they start, and dumb lawyers etc...

 
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26. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:08 StingingVelvet
 
Dades wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:52:
That might explain your borderline obsessive number of posts on the company. If you want to call out other people for being a hypocrite that's fine but expect to be called out in return for your transparent posturing. Valve has been pretty consistent about making money in a way that pleases their customers over the years so your valiant crusade to inform the public about their status as a business that is out to make money isn't the eye opener you think.

Blues tends to only be worth posting at for debates, and Valve not being the saints they pretend to be or the media treats them as is something I like debating. Hence why I talk about that here a lot.

If you want to stalk me and look up my post history on the GOG forums, my main "port of call," you would see I typically never mention Steam and defend it as no big deal when I do.

In any event, as I said, continue to classify me as you like to suit your perspective.
 
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25. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:01 Sepharo
 
No class action lawsuits!
Triple stamp, no erasies!
 
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24. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 22:53 007Bistromath
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:42:
The simple fact is you see a lot of negative posts about them specifically because they are the only company that gets praised and loved while doing the same evil shit as other companies that get bashed for it do.

As I highlight in my post just previous, I think the root of this disagreement is that they aren't quite doing the same evil shit. They, like any business of a certain scope, eventually have to take actions that are anti-consumer by their nature. But Valve, much more even than Google which has a similarly irrational-on-both-sides reputation, takes the time to at the very least explain themselves in ways that do not insult our intelligence, and they usually soften the blow by doing something that compromises a little more than other companies who enact similar policies. What I'm getting at is that I'm far from liking everything gaben and his crew do, but they appear to offer something that is very dear the closer you get to a big pile of money: sincerity. When they have to break down and say sorry, they do it, and we can believe it.
 
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23. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 22:52 Dades
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:42:
Yes, Valve fucked my mom when she was depressed and vulnerable and now I am out for revenge.

That might explain your borderline obsessive number of posts on the company. If you want to call out other people for being a hypocrite that's fine but expect to be called out in return for your transparent posturing. Valve has been pretty consistent about making money in a way that pleases their customers over the years so your valiant crusade to inform the public about their status as a business that is out to make money isn't the eye opener you think.

It's a dumb decision, I hope they reverse this. Thankfully I don't plan on joining a class action against the company right now so I don't feel like I have to stamp my feet and uninstall Steam over a single minor issue that doesn't affect the products.
 
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22. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 22:42 StingingVelvet
 
Dades wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:33:
That is interesting. Almost as interesting as clicking on your name and searching for Valve which shows a staggering history of one sided opinions about the company. Usually followed by oh but i like Valve, I just hold them to the same standard as the other companies who I never seem to type the same rants about.

Yes, Valve fucked my mom when she was depressed and vulnerable and now I am out for revenge.

The simple fact is you see a lot of negative posts about them specifically because they are the only company that gets praised and loved while doing the same evil shit as other companies that get bashed for it do. Hence me consistently trying to point out they are just another greedy business to be wary of. Hence constantly fighting that hypocrisy so perfectly displayed below.

Continue to ignore it all though and pretend I am a Valve hating nutter (with 320 Steam games) to suit your point of view, though.
 
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21. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 22:42 007Bistromath
 
I don't like this decision, however I feel I should point out that their reasoning is solid. It is indeed rare for class action suits to get people what they deserve. Also, their arbitration process, since it has the deep pocket always paying some of the cost, is... about as less bad as it can possibly get. It even gives Valve an incentive the business-owner usually doesn't have to avoid litigation to begin with. I feel like the worst I can say about this is that it's very unfortunate they found it necessary.  
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20. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 22:33 Dades
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:24:
Quite different language there compared to what he just wrote. This is the Valve Love Hypocrisy Effect at work, rarely seen in such perfect form.

That is interesting. Almost as interesting as clicking on your name and searching for Valve which shows a staggering history of one sided opinions about the company. Usually followed by oh but i like Valve, I just treat them like any publisher who I happen to never rant about.

Gonna grab my popcorn while the I-Hate-Anything-Not-In-Retail-Box / I-Have-Unrealistic-Expectations-because-I'm-an-Entitled-gamer fanatics (They're not even fanboys at this point, they truly are fanatics) try to make this seem like Valve is every bit as dirty as EA.

One spotted already. This is a black mark on Valve for certain but it's hard to condemn them over a single mistake. They aren't even on the same page as a company like EA who has a long history of shitty behavior, this place would be on fire with people pissed off about it.

This comment was edited on Jul 31, 2012, 22:43.
 
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19. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 22:32 ASeven
 
Hah was just wondering how long before Gaben would pull a stunt like this. Hopefully this shows people Valve aren't the saints people paint them to be.

Anyway, since the courts have both upheld and negated such clauses, it does give me reason to think a reasonable and sane class action suit will probably have the courts negate the SSA.

Disappointing, Valve. Very disappointing. I've always been neutral towards Steam though I don't like the idea of it having a monopoly over digital PC sales since monopolies are never good. I thought Gabe would be above this sort of tactics since he does have sensible points towards piracy and other issues. A shame really, would have thought Gabe would hold a sensible position over this as well.
 
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18. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 22:26 Saboth
 
Very disappointing. Arbitration finds in favor of the company that requires arbitration a majority of the time. Also, results are kept secret, along with the proceedings, so companies' bad policies are swept under the rug. Even if you win, you will probably be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, so the issue is never brought to light. Of course Valve is not alone in this...basically any company that has a customer agree to a contract requires arbitration now. Most people will say "well, if you don't like it, don't do business with them." Easy enough, until you realize just about every single company does it, and the ones that don't, will soon. Auto dealerships, mortgage companies, cell phone companies, etc. So...if you want to live in a tent in the woods, I suppose you could avoid getting sucked into arbitration clauses.  
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17. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 22:26 Icewind
 
eunichron wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 21:40:
Gonna grab my popcorn while the Valve/Gaben fanatics (they're not even fanboys at this point, they truly are fanatics) try to spin this into a positive.

Gonna grab my popcorn while the I-Hate-Anything-Not-In-Retail-Box / I-Have-Unrealistic-Expectations-because-I'm-an-Entitled-gamer fanatics (They're not even fanboys at this point, they truly are fanatics) try to make this seem like Valve is every bit as dirty as EA.
 
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16. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 22:24 StingingVelvet
 
NewMaxx wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:14:
Hope you recall our discussion about this when Origin (EA) did the same, because I do. Plenty of quotes to go around...

http://tinyurl.com/cusgh37

Quite different language there compared to what he just wrote. This is the Valve Love Hypocrisy Effect at work, rarely seen in such perfect form.

From just 30 seconds of skimming we get classics like:

theyarecomingforyou wrote on Sep 24, 2011, 11:54:
EA and Sony are contributing to the legal and moral quagmire with the sole aim of limiting their exposure and protecting their profits. Nobody should support a business trying to bypass the legal system to protect their shareholders. And your assertion that it's to avoid "trivial lawsuits" implies is completely subjective, as who decides what is or is not trivial? The whole point is that the legal system decides that and this is an attempt to short-circuit that process to save money.
 
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15. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 22:22 Icewind
 
NewMaxx wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:14:
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:05:
I can understand why some people would be annoyed by this move but I consider it to be perfectly reasonable. If somebody has an issue it will be taken to arbitration and Valve will cover the costs, regardless of the outcome. It improves transparency, which is something Valve often lacks. And yes, if EA had made this move my position would still be the same - my stance is not hypocritical.

However, I am concerned about the idea of prohibiting class action lawsuits. Every business that can do so will do so, as it reduces potential liabilities. More importantly, it seems ridiculous that such a clause can be buried in the ToS. If class action lawsuits are being abused then the system needs to be reformed.

It's a shame that the legal system is such a mess than clauses like this are even needed.

Hope you recall our discussion about this when Origin (EA) did the same, because I do. Plenty of quotes to go around...

http://tinyurl.com/cusgh37

Yes, but unlike Origin, Steam doesn't log your skype chats:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6lGUOFjMuQA

Among other things.
 
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14. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 22:14 NewMaxx
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:05:
I can understand why some people would be annoyed by this move but I consider it to be perfectly reasonable. If somebody has an issue it will be taken to arbitration and Valve will cover the costs, regardless of the outcome. It improves transparency, which is something Valve often lacks. And yes, if EA had made this move my position would still be the same - my stance is not hypocritical.

However, I am concerned about the idea of prohibiting class action lawsuits. Every business that can do so will do so, as it reduces potential liabilities. More importantly, it seems ridiculous that such a clause can be buried in the ToS. If class action lawsuits are being abused then the system needs to be reformed.

It's a shame that the legal system is such a mess than clauses like this are even needed.

Hope you recall our discussion about this when Origin (EA) did the same, because I do. Plenty of quotes to go around...

http://tinyurl.com/cusgh37
 
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13. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 22:05 theyarecomingforyou
 
I can understand why some people would be annoyed by this move but I consider it to be perfectly reasonable. If somebody has an issue it will be taken to arbitration and Valve will cover the costs, regardless of the outcome. It improves transparency, which is something Valve often lacks. And yes, if EA had made this move my position would still be the same - my stance is not hypocritical.

However, I am concerned about the idea of prohibiting class action lawsuits. Every business that can do so will do so, as it reduces potential liabilities. More importantly, it seems ridiculous that such a clause can be buried in the ToS. If class action lawsuits are being abused then the system needs to be reformed.

It's a shame that the legal system is such a mess than clauses like this are even needed.
 
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SteamID: theyarecomingforyou
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152 Replies. 8 pages. Viewing page 7.
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