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Court rules Valve broke Australian consumer law

Lawsuit brought in 2014, before Steam enacted a refund policy

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Eighteen months of legal wrangling with Australia's consumer protection authorities have ended with Valve being found in violation of the law there for not having a refund policy.

The lawsuit was brought in 2014 by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, before Valve established the refund policy now in place. An Australian federal court ruled that Valve made misleading statements to consumers in its terms and conditions, all of which pertained to the right Australian citizens have to demand a refund if they are sold a faulty or defective product.

Valve had disputed that it was officially doing business in Australia or that whatever was being sold through Steam could be considered "goods" under Australian law. A judge ruled that Valve was in fact doing business in Australia and thus was bound to follow the law there.

Last June, Valve initiated a policy through which customers could get a full refund for games if they requested one within 14 days of the purchase date, and if the game had been played for less than two hours.

A spokesman for the ACCC said in a statement that this is the first time a court has applied the definition of "goods" to include computer software.

A hearing will be held April 15 to determine the relief expected from Valve, which may include monetary damages. Polygon has reached out to Valve for a comment and will update this post with any made.

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