Recall that back in November, The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) demanded a $2.16 million US ($3 million AUD) fine from Valve following three years of court entanglements, during which the Aussie courts found that Valve had insufficiently advertised and provided refunds to Australian Steam customers such that it violated consumer law in the country, though it did not believe Valve intended to deceive or mislead consumers.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports today that the court agreed to the maximum fine as requested by the ACCC in a judgment that seems more miffed that Valve disrespected Australia by not properly researching its laws than concerned with retribution for the affected consumers.
“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. 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.”
In addition to the fine, which is supposed to be paid within 30 days, Valve is tasked with setting up a notice to all Aussie buyers and a special “Australian Law Compliance Program” for every single person at Valve who may deal with Aussie customers. In other words, Aussies, your Steam games just got even more expensive and your support queues just got longer. Merry Christmas from your court system and Valve!
Valve has two months to appeal.