Valve’s been fined in yet another consumer protection case, this time in France, and this time with Ubisoft in tow.
Gamers will recall that Valve spent several years fighting the Competition and Consumer Commission in Australia, which alleged that Valve had breached Aussie consumer law because Steam “had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations to Australian customers about their rights under consumer guarantees.” Instead of simply paying the $3M penalty for failing to properly offer customers in the region their legal refunds, Valve dragged the case all the way to the highest court in the country, which refused to grant it special leave last spring, thereby leaving the victory for the plaintiffs.
This separate complaint in France has likewise resulted in a loss for Valve and also Ubisoft, who were accused of violating the country’s consumer codes with their respective Steam and Uplay services, specifically in regard to refund policies. Apparently, under the law the companies are allowed to deny refunds, but only if they inform consumers they aren’t in compliance ahead of time – something neither was doing adequately in the eyes of the country.
The fines for the companies aren’t nearly as high as the Aussie fines; to the French agency governing consumer affairs and fraud prevention, Ubisoft owes €180 ($200K US), while Valve is on the hook for €147K ($171K US).