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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:

We’re 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 we’ve 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 arbitrator’s 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. It’s clear to us that in some situations, class actions have real benefits to customers. In far too many cases however, class actions don’t 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 6.
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52. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:48 Dades
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:08:
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.

The media doesn't really treat Valve any differently and I've never seen Valve portray themselves as a saint. You aren't saving anyone from the evils of greedy businesses and it's quite egotistical and patronizing to suggest that you're somehow needed to fulfill that duty. People know that Valve wants their money and that they aren't best buds. Valve just makes that money a bit differently than other companies in this industry.

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.

Clicking on your user name and typing Valve into the search box is totally stalking. I don't classify you, the content of your posts does.

Secondly when it's all designed to breed the exact kind of loyalty shown earlier in this thread I don't take it as a favor.

Wait, it's designed to breed loyalty now? Valve is building a cult are they? I thought they just wanted to make money and don't care about anyone because they're a greedy evil business. It's a good thing you're here to deconstruct their master plan.
 
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51. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:44 StingingVelvet
 
Sepharo wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:40:
Well they do care about more than just profits. They care about their customers' satisfaction and doing so gives them enormous goodwill which translates into higher profits. If only other companies could realize that instead of punishing customers...

You think EA/Ubisoft/Microsoft is just going to release tons of free content for their games? Release EA/Ubisoft/Microsoft Film Maker for free? Allow customers to join in content creation and pay them their percentage?

First off I do think those companies have done similar things, maybe on less of a grand stage due to their business models. Secondly when it's all designed to breed the exact kind of loyalty shown earlier in this thread I don't take it as a favor.
 
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50. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:44 NKD
 
Crustacean Soup wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:40:
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. 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.

I just said that it's not about remedies. At least two, maybe three times there.

Yeah I edited my post to clarify what I was getting at. If individual arbitration claims are so few, and for such a small amount, then it's likely whatever the company did wasn't a big deal.

Class actions ramp up damages to an obscene amount over what are often trivial offenses that many customers aren't even aware happened. Our civil courts should not be tied up with a bunch of trivial offenses that could be dealt with in other ways.
 
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49. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:40 Crustacean Soup
 
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. 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.

I just said that it's not about remedies. At least two, maybe three times there.
 
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48. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:40 Sepharo
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:34:
It's the "Valve are a good company that cares about more than profit" mindset that drives me bonkers.

Well they do care about more than just profits. They care about their customers' satisfaction and doing so gives them enormous goodwill which translates into higher profits. If only other companies could realize that instead of punishing customers...

You think EA/Ubisoft/Microsoft is just going to release tons of free content for their games? Release EA/Ubisoft/Microsoft Film Maker for free? Allow customers to join in content creation and pay them their percentage?
 
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47. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:37 NKD
 
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.
 
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46. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:34 StingingVelvet
 
Prez wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:23:
I can accept that you say your attitude being largely negative towards Valve and Steam on these boards is more of a counterpoint to the largely positive overall view of them here on Blues than it is a general hate-on you have for Valve. But having been here a while like you have you ought to be aware of how quick this crowd will turn on a company when they screw up or "act evil" as you put it. I'm curious as to how, then, you account for the generally positive view this board (which is known for its negativity about, well, everything) has maintained for Valve and Steam. If Valveis truly the equal in word and deed of the likes of EA and Ubisoft, why are they spared (comparitively speaking) the vitriol that those and other companies are bombarded with (and most deservedly so if you ask me) on Bluesnews? I wonder if you doubt that people can actually continue to be a fan of something while still acknowledging its faults and shortcomings.

There can be varying reasons, both legitimate and not. A lot of people are hung up on old EA grievances from closing X studio to Y console support statement. In the end though I honestly think it's mostly rooted in Valve doing amazing, excellent and awe-inspiring PR.

Look at this update. The way they phrase this shit it's like they're doing you a favor. They're fucking brilliant at this stuff.

And again, I am not saying they are worse. Actually in the grand scheme of things I would agree they are likely better than most companies. I just think they are also a greedy corporation that wants profit and that fucks consumers when they accept it and does altruistic things with financial goals in mind, same as any other corporation. It's the "Valve are a good company that cares about more than profit" mindset that drives me bonkers.
 
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45. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:33 Crustacean Soup
 
NKD wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:29:
Crustacean Soup wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:21:
NKD wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:15:
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.

No. I did think that way, but it's an oversimplification. Most people don't have the will, knowledge, time, or money to file their own lawsuits, especially if it's over what was (for them) a relatively small amount of damage. So what, the corporations should just be able to get away with shit with no punishment whatsoever, as long as they spread the damage around enough? You can opt out of class actions if you want to file suit yourself.

That inconvenience factor of trying to claim small amounts is why Valve and other companies want to do arbitration or small-claims in the first place. It's better for them, lawyers don't cash in, and you get pretty much the same relief you would in a class action.

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 few hundred thousand people would. That's the whole reason that the class action even exists.

Actually, from what I've seen, you're more likely to get full relief in arbitration or small claims than you are in a class action. Especially in this case where Valve agrees to pay arbitration costs or small-claims filing fees.
Again, if it's real damage you're always free to opt out of a class action and file a suit yourself.
 
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44. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:33 Mashiki Amiketo
 
One of the few times I'm happy I live in Ontario. These terms are not valid here.  
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there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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43. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:29 Beamer
 
Here's the thread from when MSFT did this/  
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http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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42. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:29 NKD
 
Crustacean Soup wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:21:
NKD wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:15:
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.

No. I did think that way, but it's an oversimplification. Most people don't have the will, knowledge, time, or money to file their own lawsuits, especially if it's over what was (for them) a relatively small amount of damage. So what, the corporations should just be able to get away with shit with no punishment whatsoever, as long as they spread the damage around enough? You can opt out of class actions if you want to file suit yourself.

That inconvenience factor of trying to claim small amounts is why Valve and other companies want to do arbitration or small-claims in the first place. It's better for them, lawyers don't cash in, and you get pretty much the same relief you would in a class action.

Actually, from what I've seen, you're more likely to get full relief in arbitration or small claims than you are in a class action. Especially in this case where Valve agrees to pay arbitration costs or small-claims filing fees.
 
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41. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:27 Beamer
 
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. The first point argued against will be whether the EULA is valid. In severe cases it likely will not be found to be such.
 
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40. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:27 Beamer
 
edit - double post  
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http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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39. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:24 Asmo
 
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 do understand the logic behind limiting class actions as a way of reducing the amount of skim a law firm can make from a big settlement, but the other bit of logic that intrudes is 'just how big a class action does anyone ever expect to occur?'... 99% of the things that can go wrong with Steam, to my mind, would at best be small claims which could and should be settled in arbitration rather than tying up the courts at massive expense to all involved (including the state). And Valve picks up the arbitration tab.

I don't doubt they are covering their own ass first and foremost, but this does not seem particularly onerous, regardless of who is doing it...

 
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38. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:24 NegaDeath
 
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.
 
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37. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:23 Prez
 
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.

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.

I can accept that you say your attitude being largely negative towards Valve and Steam on these boards is more of a counterpoint to the largely positive overall view of them here on Blues than it is a general hate-on you have for Valve. But having been here a while like you have you ought to be aware of how quick this crowd will turn on a company when they screw up or "act evil" as you put it. I'm curious as to how, then, you account for the generally positive view this board (which is known for its negativity about, well, everything) has maintained for Valve and Steam. If Valveis truly the equal in word and deed of the likes of EA and Ubisoft, why are they spared (comparitively speaking) the vitriol that those and other companies are bombarded with (and most deservedly so if you ask me) on Bluesnews? I wonder if you doubt that people can actually continue to be a fan of something while still acknowledging its faults and shortcomings.

Make no mistake; there's a lot of what Valve does makes me less than thrilled to say the least, and for everything that Steam does right there's an equally long list of crappy policies andboneheaded shit that they've yet to fix. That said, both Valve and Steam are orders of magnitude better than EA and Origin, Ubisoft, Blizzard, Gamestop, Gamefly, and Microsoft (specifically their game division) in my book.
 
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36. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:22 Veterator
 
Much like everything else to do with businesses. Once one does it and gets away with it, the rest follow if it looks like it's common and has benefits to them.

This stuff is why EULAs should have some regulations placed on them, hell all agreements should have some regulations placed on them with SEVERE penalties to discourage language that ever borders on breaking those regulations.

The below story should be enough reason as to why forced arbitration in any agreement is bullshit. Because it prevents crimes from being brought to light.

I mean it resulted in a law being passed stopping arbitration clauses in companies who work with the defense department, but it's clearly not in the best interest when an actual crime has taken place. Not just a mistake or glitch, but they are committing a crime.

http://prospect.org/article/how-women-won-kbr-rape-case

I find the idea that someone is having you sign away your legal avenues over video games to be...........eye raising. There's an undertone of "We have, are, or are going to be screwing you soon, sign this please."

Any company being able to do that shouldn't be legal without them adhering to guidelines and restrictions on it set in law.
 
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35. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:21 Crustacean Soup
 
NKD wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:15:
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.

No. I did think that way, but it's an oversimplification. Most people don't have the will, knowledge, time, or money to file their own lawsuits, especially if it's over what was (for them) a relatively small amount of damage. So what, the corporations should just be able to get away with shit with no punishment whatsoever, as long as they spread the damage around enough? You can opt out of class actions if you want to file suit yourself.
 
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34. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:20 Sepharo
 
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.

After my Steam updated today I agreed to new policies, I didn't read them. If I have something worth filing a lawsuit over I'm going to file it, Next and Okay buttons be damned.
 
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33. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:18 nin
 
Mad Max RW wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:11:
I see all the self proclaimed online attorneys are coming out of the woodwork.

Oh yeah. And I picture Blue kicking back and watching from the sidelines, giggling.
 
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