After a long while in court, Valve have been fined by the Australian feds to the tune of three million Australian dollars over their refund policy, or lack thereof, between 2011 and 2014. Valve have until February 20 to appeal.
Related: the Steam Winter Sale is on right now. Get some games.
The fine, which works out to about 2.16 million USD, was brought due to “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” according to Justice Edelman, judge.
In non-legalese, the court essentially says that Valve ignored Australian law by not offering a refund policy for those dates, and didn’t actively attempt to fix their mistake or learn that it had happened in the first place. Australian newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald goes into further details in their article.
Also as part of the punishment, Valve will be required to have a large banner at the top of Steam informing Australian customers of their rights. This will last for 12 months starting on February 20 and read “IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT CONSUMER RIGHTS IN AUSTRALIA.” The full text explains that customers are entitled “to a replacement or refund from the retail supplier of the video games for a major failure and for compensation for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage” and “to have the video games repaired or replaced by the retail supplier of the video games if the video games fail to be of acceptable quality and the failure does not amount to a major failure.”
Assuming Valve pay the fine, it’s unlikely to cripple them. Roughly a million people own the latest Dota 2 battle pass according to SteamSpy, which sells for around $7 each. They’ll probably be alright.