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Valve taken to court by Australian consumer commission over Steam refund policy

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is suing Valve in federal court over the company's refund policy on Steam, alleging that Valve "made false or misleading representations regarding the application of the consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law."

According to a release from the ACCC, Steam's refund policy is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law. Even though Valve doesn't have a physical presence in Australia, the company is still selling to its residents, and the law applies to "any business providing goods or services within Australia."

"It is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law for businesses to state that they do not give refunds under any circumstances, including for gifts and during sales," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement. "Under the Australian Consumer Law, consumers can insist on a refund or replacement at their option if a product has a major fault.

"The consumer guarantees provided under the Australian Consumer Law cannot be excluded, restricted or modified."

Here's how the commission defines the law:

The Australian Consumer Law provides consumers with rights to certain remedies from retailers and manufacturers, when goods fail to comply with the consumer guarantee provisions of the ACL, including that the goods are of acceptable quality and fit for the purpose for which they were sold. That is, if a good is not, for example, of acceptable quality, consumers may be entitled to a refund or a replacement item. These rights cannot be excluded, restricted or modified.

In a statement forward to Polygon, Valve said, "We are making every effort to cooperate with the Australian officials on this matter, while continuing to provide Steam services to our customers across the world, including Australian gamers."

The ACCC filed its complaint with the Federal Court's Sydney Registry. An initial hearing is set for Oct. 7.

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