Stretch your brain allllll the way back to 2016, when Australian courts fined Valve $2.16 million US at the behest of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). That regulatory body had accused Valve of essentially insufficiently advertising and refunding Australian Steam customers for purchases on the platform, which ran afoul of the country’s consumer laws.
In agreeing with the ACCC’s complaint, the federal court found that Valve had not only broken consumer law but failed to properly conduct business in the country and therefore was subject to the maximum fine; the court also ordered Valve to set up special refund notices for Aussie customers and school its employees under a special “Australian Law Compliance Program.”
Valve has apparently spent the last year and change appealing the decision – and hey, they’ve been fighting this since 2014, so why stop now, right? And now, as Gamasutra reports, Valve has applied for “special leave” from the Australian High Court. As in the US, petitioners aren’t necessarily entitled to a hearing before the highest court in the land; members of that court decide whether or not to hear your final appeal once you’ve worked through all the other layers of the court system.
As GIbiz notes, however, Valve introduced a proper refund policy for Steam after the case began (but before the finding in 2016). The millions it still owes the Aussies? That’s all still up in the air until the High Court makes up its mind on whether to make up its mind. It’s probably a safe bet, however, that the appeals are more about not wanting to be held accountable to overseas consumer laws than about what would be pocket change for Valve. (Just imagine what they’ve spent on their legal defense over the last four years.)
Valve has applied for special leave to the High Court, to appeal the Federal Court decision that it misled and deceived consumers on Steam
Original decision and $3 million fine will continue to remain on hold until the High Court makes its decision or the application is rejected pic.twitter.com/vjlk1QFFd2
— Jonny Roses (@jonny_roses) January 23, 2018