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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 4.
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92. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 09:50 LurkerLito
 
This is NOT good for the consumers at all. Anything that takes away your LEGAL rights is bad for you. Even if most class actions are more money making schemes for lawyers you should still have them as an option mainly because when gross negligence by a company is the cause, no company would ever fix anything they caused without the fear of the class action lawsuits and the bad publicity they generate.

Case and point the XBox 360. MS did not give your that extended warranty because they were being nice and thought they need to correct those poorly soldered motherboards. They did it because people were going to bring class action lawsuits against them and they decided it would be cheaper to just extend the warranty and try to get some good will. If the XBox 720 or whatever they call it has the same issues, I think you will hear a lot of complaining on the net, but no action from MS to fix it, since no bad publicity will be generated by a large number of buyers bringing on a class action against them.
 
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91. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 09:28 eRe4s3r
 
Steam has the market force to change it, they do not. In fact they happily do the same thing for their own games.  
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90. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 09:04 Verno
 
This seems really silly, I have to wonder why Valve even bothered as it's just a bunch of bad PR for them. I don't like any company doing this crap whether its EA, Ubisoft, Valve or etc. The language is pretty hilarious too - thanks for doing me this wonderful favor!  
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89. sick of counting sheep Aug 1, 2012, 08:54 space captain
 
its a shame there are so many morons who worship the "laws" (of any given government) as some kind of god, absolutely beyond reproach, and as a source of real "justice"

the path of least resistance is so well traveled and highly lauded, with everyone circle jerking each other for being good little cogs in the blind machine

they arent paying attention, so its time to put some plans into action

operation: your name is toby, boy
 
Go forth, and kill!
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88. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 08:34 Omni
 
No shocking news really every single big company try's to protect itself by either hiding behind EULA or do shit like this.

There a no benefits to being a good and legit customer these days so why bother.
 
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87. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 08:22 Mr. Tact
 
Jensen wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 00:37:
Does (corporation = 'wants profit' = greed)?
Not necessarily, but frankly many to most corporations do things they shouldn't in the name of profit. It is simply the nature of their structure. The impact to the customers is lost in the layers of management where the bottom line is what gets you further up the ladder.
 
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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86. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 08:19 Mr. Tact
 
Tom wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 21:52:
Why haven't companies just outlawed class action suits by now anyway? Clearly they don't like them very much.
Oh, they are trying... been working on it for years. Generally under the title of "Tort Reform."
 
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85. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 08:10 Beamer
 
Dev wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 04:12:
Beamer wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:27:
Like I said in the thread when Microsoft did this, it's more or less malpractice for counsel to not include this in a EULA at this point.

That doesn't mean they'll be upheld, and any attorney worth a damn will still pursue a class action suit as per usual.
Why wouldn't it be? The supreme court oked it. And yes I agree, since they oked it, it would be irresponsible of companies legal teams not to prohibit it. While I think it sucks, valve aren't the ones making supreme court decisions.


The Supreme Court didn't ok it. That isn't how the law works. Unless the Supreme Court comes out and says "these are always valid, no matter what, in all situations, in all ways, in all terminology, by all companies, against all people" they did not ok it. There's plenty of wiggle room and loopholes here.

If a Steam update comes out and makes everyone's computer catch on fire there will be class action lawsuits. To someone else's point, if Valve steals $10 from everyone there will be a class action lawsuit (let's let that rest on the term "steals." AT&T did not steal, they misrepresented, and seemingly unwittingly.)

Yes, the FAA needs to be updated to not include consumers. Rest assured, the first time a major class action lawsuit is blocked due to it Congress will take care of it. I know, none of us trust Congress, but as recently as the 1990s Congress passed legislation making sure the FAA did not apply to consumers.
 
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84. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 08:10 daPhoenix
 
Dev wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 05:30:
Those prices aren't set by valve. They are set by the publishers.
That explains why Valve's own products are also far more expensive.

Oh wait, they were set by p.. *snap*
 
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83. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 07:06 Bhruic
 
eunichron wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 00:38:
How did I know you were going to say that...

That is in case of arbitration, an entirely different clause of the EULA. I even took the liberty of taking a screenshot of it for you;

Here.

Which actually just proves his point (although he's already found that Valve has the same clause). If you read it, you'll note that either (important word) you or EA have the right to ask for binding arbitration. And if one party (doesn't require both) asks for it, you lose your ability to sue. So if you want to sue EA, and EA says "binding arbitration!", you immediately lose your ability to sue them.

They have, therefore (and Valve as well), removed your ability to sue them - although they can still allow you to sue them, should they wish to for some reason.
 
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82. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 05:30 Dev
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 05:12:
European prices are 65% higher on Steam. So to me, Valve is the greatest scam there is It's unusable unless there is a huge 70% or more sale, then we pay as much as americans pay WITHOUT sale. Think about that ;p
Those prices aren't set by valve. They are set by the publishers.
 
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81. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 05:12 eRe4s3r
 
European prices are 65% higher on Steam. So to me, Valve is the greatest scam there is It's unusable unless there is a huge 70% or more sale, then we pay as much as americans pay WITHOUT sale. Think about that ;p  
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80. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 04:44 netnerd85
 
ASeven wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:32:
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.
Indeed!
 
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79. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 04:12 Dev
 
I guess not many bothered to read about this little supreme court decision when blue linked an news item about it when it happened last year and it got ZERO comments.
http://www.bluesnews.com/s/121147/evening-legal-briefs
Anonymous wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 03:02:
That said, however, it's rather strange that companies can bypass our legal system by making it a term in a contract.
JohnBirshire wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 21:52:
I never really understood this. I can't put a sign in front of my restaurant that says "If you agree to eat here, you also agree not to ever sue for salmonella poisoning." So why, exactly, can these companies do it?
Overon wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 21:57:
Has there ever been a court case where such a "no class action" agreement for use has ever been upheld?
Closed Betas wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:11:
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.
That would be because of the recent supreme court decision that upheld something like this for class actions. Why do you think everyone is adding this to their TOS recently?
Beamer wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:27:
Like I said in the thread when Microsoft did this, it's more or less malpractice for counsel to not include this in a EULA at this point.

That doesn't mean they'll be upheld, and any attorney worth a damn will still pursue a class action suit as per usual.
Why wouldn't it be? The supreme court oked it. And yes I agree, since they oked it, it would be irresponsible of companies legal teams not to prohibit it. While I think it sucks, valve aren't the ones making supreme court decisions.

What's needed is to push congress to update a 100 year old federal law so companies can't do it anymore.
Asmo wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:24:
I don't see what the big fucking deal is. If there is a case that truly has merit, Valve cannot stop you pressing suit not can it stop a judge overturning it's EULA if the judge finds fault with it.
I don't think it matters much if it has merit or what a random judge says, if the supreme court says otherwise.

This comment was edited on Aug 1, 2012, 04:44.
 
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78. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 03:53 Dev
 
NKD wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:37:
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.
So, when verizon overcharged everyone on every bill for a supposed "tax" they weren't supposed to collect, all of their customers were supposed to go to small claims to get back the $50 or so per year? Probably paying more in doing so than they'd get back. And how exactly would that have stopped verizon from collecting it from the other 99% of the people, and make far more than stopping collecting it from the ones who sued and continuing to collection millions from all the rest?

And yes, this actually happened.
^Drag0n^ wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 02:06:
What I want to know is when did Gabe become "gaben"? I wasn't aware he had been elevated to johnc-level status...


^D^
Probably because thats what his email address is?

This comment was edited on Aug 1, 2012, 04:14.
 
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77. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 03:02 Lit_Reflex001
 
Oh, they made some valid claims. Class action lawsuits are usually bullshit for people not directly involved with the bringing through of the litigation. I've been a part of several, and only once have I gotten a payout worth a goddamned thing ($55).

They forgot the part about the people who start these things getting a big cut too. It's all about the lawyers and their actual clients, and the rest end up with jack shit.

That said, however, it's rather strange that companies can bypass our legal system by making it a term in a contract.

I guess those warez and ROM site disclaimers claiming if you are or are associated with law enforcement, you can't enter the site weren't such a stupid idea after all! LOL
 
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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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75. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 02:43 jimnms
 
NegaDeath wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:24:
btallas wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:18:
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.

Well I can tell you what happens in an immediate sense, Steam refuses to load if you don't accept. And I imagine they already had a clause saying they can change the EULA whenever they want without penalty. It's an interesting legal question.

When Steam asked me to restart to apply an update today I didn't. Maybe I'll leave my system on as long as I can to avoid having to agree to this.

I understand the reason behind class action lawsuits, but most of the time they are ridiculous and the only people to get any benefit are the lawyers. I have received several letters over the years informing me that I'm qualified to be part of a class action lawsuit or some shit. I'll read the claim against he company and it's never been about anything that effected me, so I threw them away. One time I even received a settlement check from one. The stamp cost them more than the settlement check they sent me.

What I have a problem with more than them changing the EULA to take away your right to a class action lawsuit is that they can change the EULA and if you don't agree to the new terms you can't use their software anymore.

Software companies are the only ones that do this or can do this (as far as I know). What if a car manufacturer sent out a letter to all owners informing them that you can no bring a class action lawsuit against them for any reason, and if you don't agree you must stop driving your car. That shit wouldn't be allowed to happen, so why are software companies allowed to get away with it?
 
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74. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 02:11 entr0py
 
I'm sorry but a "you can't sue us if we break the law" clause is goofy. I don't know why businesses think it will hold up in court, but I'm eager to see them proven wrong.  
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73. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 02:09 PropheT
 
While I don't particularly like this, I don't particularly care either. It's kind of par for the course now, and if there's anybody to blame it's the ruling that prompted this movement in the first place...except I'm not even sure I disagree with that. I've never been too on board with people suing on my behalf anyway, and don't personally believe that it really changes anything other than the kind of car somebody's lawyers get to drive.  
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152 Replies. 8 pages. Viewing page 4.
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