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AU Fines Valve $3M

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australian courts hit Valve with a three million dollar (AUD) fine for breach of Australian consumer laws. At issue is the company's failure to offer refunds for purchases on Steam, which are required in the country by law. According to the report the fine is higher than expected because of a lack of interest in Australian laws and a lack of cooperation with the subsequent investigation. Here's word on the decision:

"Valve is a United States company with 2.2 million Australian accounts which received 21,124 tickets in the relevant period containing the word "refund" from consumers with Australian IP addresses," Justice Edelman wrote in his judgement.

"Yet it had a culture by which it formed a view without Australian legal advice that it was not subject to Australian law, and it was content to proceed to trade with Australian consumers without that advice and with the view that even if advice had been obtained that Valve was required to comply with Australian law the advice might have been ignored."

A court found in May that Steam's website breached Australian Consumer Law because it stated consumers were not entitled to a refund and had no access to minimum quality guarantees.

Steam must now introduce a compliance program and place an notice in size 14 type on its Australia website informing consumers about their rights.

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55. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Jan 6, 2017, 05:27 J
 
(Even my post was #33. Confirmed.)  
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54. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 17:18 NetHead
 
Slick wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 19:20:
Valve only has what is the bare minimum and a poor excuse of a refund policy because the EU was turning their eye towards them about just that.

Even so their blanket refund policy obviously doesn't abide by the various laws of the various countries they sell to/in.


It's not bare minimum, it's outrageous.

Shitty companies do as little as they have to and get away with as much as they can. Valve Corporation is a prime example. If it weren't for so many gamers being Valve Corporation fanboy zealots it would deservedly beat Electronic Arts at shitty company awards.

 
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53. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 14:53 jdreyer
 
Kxmode wrote on Dec 24, 2016, 04:56:
verybad1 wrote on Dec 24, 2016, 04:38:
So if you eat a pizza, crap it out, then decide two day's later that you didn't "really" like it, do you deserve a refund?

Using your analogy it's more like the menu shows a pepperoni pizza, the person tells me I'll get a pepperoni pizza. He hands me my order and I get in my car. Along the way, I smell pizza. It smells good. 42 hours later, I get home, open the box, and find it's a chicken salad. I didn't pay for a chicken salad. I paid for a pepperoni pizza. What to do? The pizzeria is 42 hours away.

Anyhow, you're not going to convince me because I don't believe you ever played NMS. You can't possibly understand the point of why people are asking for refunds after playing for 40+ hours.

I love you man, but here's the thing.

1. You're analogy is not analogous to the experience you are attempting to analogize. (That's a lot of anal)

2. When you try to return a game after 42 hours of play, you remind me of the guy who had 500 hours in Skyrim and gave it a thumbs down on Steam. It's patently ridiculous.

3. The system needs to balance consumer protection with people's ability to game the system.
 
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52. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 11:23 HorrorScope
 
NKD wrote on Dec 24, 2016, 06:22:
RedEye9 wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 20:08:
I look at it like this: When you put a full 43 hours into a game, you no longer qualify for a refund. No matter how bad the game sucked. Nono

Agreed. Some games may take longer to assess but that's a risk the consumer is gonna have to take on. A system that allows people to refund games after dozens of hours? You'd have to have some strict limitations on how often people could actually get that refund to prevent abuse. Would it even be any use at that point?

Refunds are cool, but satisfaction guaranteed refund policies with no time limits are not going to happen.


And would be an abuse in the other direction. With all the video of a game you can watch prior, if these dollars you are putting into this new game are that critical... take a few moments of research. 2 hours is good, could it be a little more, perhaps, but it serves its main purpose... Can I even get the game to start so I can play?
 
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51. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 11:19 HorrorScope
 
Kxmode wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 20:51:
RedEye9 wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 20:08:
I look at it like this: When you put a full 43 hours into a game, you no longer qualify for a refund. No matter how bad the game sucked. Nono

You're entitled to your point of view but I respectfully disagree.

There's a place where business and consumer have proper protections. I'll go even further if you played 43 hours you didn't hate the game either. Or what is the comeback? I hated the ending? I reflected back now and you know what? I really didn't enjoy the last 43 hours.

Egghead at one time had a 30 day policy, they closed their doors long ago. So the fair question is what is the AUS policy?
 
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50. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 08:49 RedEye9
 
Dacron wrote on Dec 24, 2016, 05:04:
Or are VERY entitled and somehow out of touch with gaming in general.
You may have hit on something.
 
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49. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 06:50 Slashman
 
Cutter wrote on Dec 24, 2016, 00:31:


You're telling me I come along and open Bob's Digital Game Store, where I'm only charging 5% devs wouldn't flock there in droves? Of course they would. As I said, the only problem is the initial investment which would have to be pretty substantial. Office space, server farm, employees, licensing, insurance, etc. Several million easily, more likely in the low 10s of millions to start. After that it's fairly low overhead, bandwith is cheap at that volume. And you just need to do a better job with what you allow on the platform, and customer service. It basically runs itself. No, it can be done. It's just the upfront cost is the issue.

I'm telling you that currently many other game services charge more. Not in the cut from sales, but there other fees which add up. I'm also telling you that I have talked to several developers who are very quick to point out that in terms of helping them develop games, no other service is offering what Valve offers. Ever wonder why games get patched first on Steam and then those patches trickle out to other services?

Would you be willing to spend the development time to make the tools that Valve has created specifically to aid small developers? I'm fairly sure they aren't selling them to just anybody. And those tools are at no additional cost to any dev who signs up on the Steam platform.

You aren't just talking a huge upfront investment, you are talking about something that got made and refined over the course of 13 years. Steam grew along with its user base. Anyone looking to start fresh now won't get that option. It is go huge or go home. Who the hell is going to make that kind of investment for giggles?
 
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48. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 06:22 NKD
 
RedEye9 wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 20:08:
I look at it like this: When you put a full 43 hours into a game, you no longer qualify for a refund. No matter how bad the game sucked. Nono

Agreed. Some games may take longer to assess but that's a risk the consumer is gonna have to take on. A system that allows people to refund games after dozens of hours? You'd have to have some strict limitations on how often people could actually get that refund to prevent abuse. Would it even be any use at that point?

Refunds are cool, but satisfaction guaranteed refund policies with no time limits are not going to happen.

 
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47. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 05:07 Dacron
 
i dun fucked up (duplicate)  
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46. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 05:04 Dacron
 
Kxmode wrote on Dec 24, 2016, 04:56:
verybad1 wrote on Dec 24, 2016, 04:38:
So if you eat a pizza, crap it out, then decide two day's later that you didn't "really" like it, do you deserve a refund?

Using your analogy it's more like the menu shows a pepperoni pizza, the person tells me I'll get a pepperoni pizza. He hands me my order and I get in my car. Along the way, I smell pizza. It smells good. 42 hours later, I get home, open the box, and find it's a chicken salad. I didn't pay for a chicken salad. I paid for a pepperoni pizza. What to do? The pizzeria is 42 hours away.

Anyhow, you're not going to convince me because I don't believe you ever played NMS. You can't possibly understand the point of why people are asking for refunds after playing for 40+ hours.

No, "42 hours later" would be "42 hours later after eating it" ... 42 hours of PLAYING a game is not the same as waiting 42hours for a pizza. It is the equivalent is eating it.... all but 1 or 2 slices (It's NMS, 42 hours is nearly doing everything the game has to offer.) and saying "it's no good! 100% refund now!" while having 2/10 slices left. If you couldn't figure it out during the FIRST 25% of the item, the following 50+% is your fault - not the makers.

Maybe if you spent $1000 on Star Citizen, waiting for months/years for it, THEN refunded it - without seeing/eating a completed game (pizza) and only teases of it, it would fit the analogy a bit better as you were waiting for a product - not using that product. But you didn't drop $1k to the joke of Star Citizen so it's a moot point anyways.

But ANYONE who thinks "42 hours" on a game is a trial/getting to know it period is insane. Unless you start the game, and go idle for a day and a half before playing it. Or are VERY entitled and somehow out of touch with gaming in general.

This comment was edited on Dec 24, 2016, 05:13.
 
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45. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 04:56 Kxmode
 
verybad1 wrote on Dec 24, 2016, 04:38:
So if you eat a pizza, crap it out, then decide two day's later that you didn't "really" like it, do you deserve a refund?

Using your analogy it's more like the menu shows a pepperoni pizza, the person tells me I'll get a pepperoni pizza. He hands me my order and I get in my car. Along the way, I smell pizza. It smells good. 42 hours later, I get home, open the box, and find it's a chicken salad. I didn't pay for a chicken salad. I paid for a pepperoni pizza. What to do? The pizzeria is 42 hours away.

Anyhow, you're not going to convince me because I don't believe you ever played NMS. You can't possibly understand the point of why people are asking for refunds after playing for 40+ hours.
 
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44. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 04:38 verybad1
 
Kxmode wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 20:51:
RedEye9 wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 20:08:
I look at it like this: When you put a full 43 hours into a game, you no longer qualify for a refund. No matter how bad the game sucked. Nono

You're entitled to your point of view but I respectfully disagree.
So if you eat a pizza, crap it out, then decide two day's later that you didn't "really" like it, do you deserve a refund?

Fact is, somebody spent time making something, if it's utter crap, and doesn't work, then yeah, refund. But if it essentially works, and you didn't get what you THOUGHT it was going to be because you didn't wait for reviews before buying *meh* not really sorry for you.

If someone got 43 hours of game time for a $50.00 or so for the game, them they got a good deal versus other forms of amusement.
 
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43. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 02:49 Sempai
 
Slick wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 19:20:
NetHead wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 16:09:
Kxmode wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 15:34:

A court found in May that Steam's website breached Australian Consumer Law because it stated consumers were not entitled to a refund and had no access to minimum quality guarantees.

I'm not defending Valve but they do actually have a refund policy. It's just really crappy and needs to be revamped. There should be situations, like in the case of NMS, where a refund is appropriate regardless of playtime.

Valve only has what is the bare minimum and a poor excuse of a refund policy because the EU was turning their eye towards them about just that.

Even so their blanket refund policy obviously doesn't abide by the various laws of the various countries they sell to/in.


Bare minimum? I think even valve puts that to the test.

multi-billion dollar company run by 200 employees, about 5 of which are probably in the service dept. Pretty shoddy for a "service" such a Steam.

No call center? -check

No live chat support? -check

Freeze your entire Steam account if you perform a credit card chargeback? -check

It's not bare minimum, it's outrageous. And they can get away with it too, so honestly good on them. People still flock to Steam to buy everything, and there's still a core contingent that will only buy other developers games if they're sold on Steam. The old login to steam so you can log into uplay nonsense.

$3 million won't even register for them though, they make a billion a year, 0.3% hit? laughable. Judge should have had real cajones and fined them 500 million in an apple/nokia/samsung-scale penalty.

Agreed 100%

They locked me out of my account for 90 days due to refusing my multiple emails requesting, in fact begging for a refund on Watch Dogs due to it's broken launch issues.

After deleting the game from my library and literally weeks between email responses, i pulled the trigger for the first time in 8 years of being a customer.
As soon as Paypal reversed the charges they froze it, and banned my paypal and credit card indefinitely.

Fuck Valve.

Fuck Steam

And fuck Gabe and his entire team of misfit cunts.
 
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42. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 02:19 Dacron
 
Damn, what are you guys waiting for??

It's this easy to beat steam at the game it invented, why no action from you folk? Scared of having more money than you know what to do with? Don't want to become a "Gaben" of a joke, with billions in your pocket and the ability to direct the PC market on your whim? C'mon, it's easy, just look how nonchalantly you guys just dominated the market by undercutting steam, you guys found a secret recipe for a multi national, billion dollar business!! What are you waiting for ? Investors are everywhere, your sure fire idea will easily get them involved!


lol. Lots of talkers, that is for sure.
 
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41. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 24, 2016, 00:31 Cutter
 
Slashman wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 20:50:
That window has passed. No one else was interested in doing digital distribution on that scale, and when they were it was too late to catch up.

If you think that all gamers are suddenly going to jump from using a service that most of them are happy with and have the majority of their games on then you might need to take another look.

You might also bear in mind that this 30% cut that we gamers complain about, but I've never heard an actual developer complain about, is the ONLY fee that devs pay to get their games up. For that they get unlimited access and freedom to upload/update their games (with no bandwidth usage fees or limits), and benefit from a ton of back-end tools and development aids that Valve is the only current digital distributor to offer. Not even the beloved GOG is matching that.

Creating that kind of competition is a little bit tougher than flipping a switch.

Most people will always go where its cheapest. Particularly those doing business. Mainly being self-employed most of my life I've gone through a lot of services. Vendor payment systems are a ripoff and they charge a flat fee and a percentage - generally a quarter plus 3% of the sale. Most people in business will tell you that's outrageous. 3% and a fee for something that literally costs them a fraction of a cent? Fuck that noise. 30 points? That's fucking extortion right there. Look at Walmart, they finally told VISA to go fuck themselves over those fees. That's Walmart, it's peanuts to them and they still told them where they could go and what they could do with those fees.

You're telling me I come along and open Bob's Digital Game Store, where I'm only charging 5% devs wouldn't flock there in droves? Of course they would. As I said, the only problem is the initial investment which would have to be pretty substantial. Office space, server farm, employees, licensing, insurance, etc. Several million easily, more likely in the low 10s of millions to start. After that it's fairly low overhead, bandwith is cheap at that volume. And you just need to do a better job with what you allow on the platform, and customer service. It basically runs itself. No, it can be done. It's just the upfront cost is the issue.
 
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40. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 23, 2016, 22:35 Redmask
 
Dev wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 16:06:
And ddos attacks can be mitigated too, usually by talking to upstream providers. This kinda thing can be taken care of far faster than valve took care of it.

You have no idea what you're talking about. The botnet sizes these days are so large you can't "mitigate" it away that easily. They don't just all plug in a single IP and let you easily filter it at the upstream either. These attacks have taken down Azure and you think Valve can just telephone their upstream provider so it ends? Laughable.

Shit happens, your game network was down for 2 hours. No one realistically expects or cares about getting 24/7/365 uptime, its just online whining.
 
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39. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 23, 2016, 20:51 Kxmode
 
RedEye9 wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 20:08:
I look at it like this: When you put a full 43 hours into a game, you no longer qualify for a refund. No matter how bad the game sucked. Nono

You're entitled to your point of view but I respectfully disagree.
 
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William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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38. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 23, 2016, 20:50 Slashman
 
Cutter wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 20:30:
Slick wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 19:20:
It's not bare minimum, it's outrageous. And they can get away with it too, so honestly good on them. People still flock to Steam to buy everything, and there's still a core contingent that will only buy other developers games if they're sold on Steam. The old login to steam so you can log into uplay nonsense.

Heard that. If I can find a game somewhere else other than Steam I'll take it. I wish everyone else would do the same. I wish there were several competing services at this juncture - and there's no reason why there shouldn't be. It'd be a lot of money up front, but I think it would be fairly easy to crush Steam.

That window has passed. No one else was interested in doing digital distribution on that scale, and when they were it was too late to catch up.

If you think that all gamers are suddenly going to jump from using a service that most of them are happy with and have the majority of their games on then you might need to take another look.

You might also bear in mind that this 30% cut that we gamers complain about, but I've never heard an actual developer complain about, is the ONLY fee that devs pay to get their games up. For that they get unlimited access and freedom to upload/update their games (with no bandwidth usage fees or limits), and benefit from a ton of back-end tools and development aids that Valve is the only current digital distributor to offer. Not even the beloved GOG is matching that.

Creating that kind of competition is a little bit tougher than flipping a switch.
 
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37. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 23, 2016, 20:35 Reactor
 
J wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 19:20:
No comments about the amount? $3M. 3. 3 is the Anti-Valve of numbers. I reckon it's a smokescreen. They're just really, really angry down under about the lack of Episode 3 and HL3.

You know it's true. You just read it on the internet.

Haha.... yeah, we sure are...
 
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36. Re: AU Fines Valve $3M Dec 23, 2016, 20:30 Cutter
 
Slick wrote on Dec 23, 2016, 19:20:
It's not bare minimum, it's outrageous. And they can get away with it too, so honestly good on them. People still flock to Steam to buy everything, and there's still a core contingent that will only buy other developers games if they're sold on Steam. The old login to steam so you can log into uplay nonsense.

Heard that. If I can find a game somewhere else other than Steam I'll take it. I wish everyone else would do the same. I wish there were several competing services at this juncture - and there's no reason why there shouldn't be. It'd be a lot of money up front, but I think it would be fairly easy to crush Steam.
 
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