High Court dismisses Valve’s special leave to appeal $3 million fine

Credit: Valve

The High Court of Australia has dismissed a special leave application by US-based games company Valve to appeal the decision made by Full Federal Court to uphold the $3 million penalty issued over breaches of Australian Consumer Law.

“This important precedent confirms the ACCC’s view that overseas-based companies selling to Australian consumers must abide by our laws. If customers buy a product online that is faulty, they are entitled to the same right to a repair, replacement or refund as if they’d walked in to a store,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

As a result of the High Court’s refusal of special leave, the Full Federal Court’s decision that Valve is bound by the ACL in its dealings with Australian customers, despite being based overseas, is the final decision on this issue.

The decision seemingly puts an end to years of back-and-forth and legal battles between Valve and the Australian regulator. Unfortunately, given estimates that Steam brings in billions in revenue for Valve each year, that fine seems unlikely to have any lasting impact or effect on the company.

Steam is currently considered the largest such digital platform in the gaming space and is estimated by some to have a global market share of upwards of 75% and an Australian user-base of over 2.2 million users.

The ACCC first commenced legal action against Valve in August 2014 over allegations of misleading or deceptive conduct, specifically concerning the right-to-a-refund for Australian users of the company's Steam digital distribution platform.

In 2016, the Federal Court found Valve guilty of these allegations and charged them with a $3 million dollar fine.

In that ruling, Justice Edelman said that Valve had formed a view “that it was not subject to Australian law”, calling the company’s approach to the case “disturbing”.

Valve later appealed that fine but in December 2017 the Full Federal Court dismissed Valve’s appeal




Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags acccvalveSteamConsumer law

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Fergus Halliday
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?