Australian Watchdog Takes Valve To Court Over Refunds

By Ben Barrett on September 2nd, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

The concerned look of a man about to eat a flag.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, welcome to another legal goings on industry punch up. This time in the red corner, hailing from Seattle and weighing in at approximately several billion pounds, it’s Valve. Meanwhile, in the blue corner, the challenger Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) seeks to do battle on the basis of “misleading consumer guarantee representations” under the 2011 Australian Consumer Law. Specifically, they’re challenging Valve’s no-refunds refund policy. Valve’s response, in a short statement to IGN from VP of marketing Doug Lombardi, is that they are “making every effort to cooperate with the Australian officials on this matter.” Read on for the details.

With the usual caveat that I am not a lawyer, here we go. The Australian consumer watchdog argue that Valve have lied or mislead customers by suggesting that:

  • consumers were not entitled to a refund for any games sold by Valve via Steam in any circumstances;
  • Valve had excluded, restricted or modified statutory guarantees and/or warranties that goods would be of acceptable quality;
  • Valve was not under any obligation to repair, replace or provide a refund for a game where the consumer had not contacted and attempted to resolve the problem with the computer game developer; and
  • the statutory consumer guarantees did not apply to games sold by Valve.

These “statutory consumer guarantees” are the ones outlined in the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). Essentially, they place the onus on a business to repair, replace or refund any product they provide which has a “major fault.” Valve’s current refund policy is that they don’t offer them outside pre-order periods “unless required by local law.”

Given what the ACCC are saying, it seems Valve are already “required by local law” to follow these regulations and, as the retailer, accept responsibility for problems with products. There are, to my knowledge, no buttons on the Steam interface to easily report problems with a title. The relevant sections of the Steam support pages for non-Valve games usually link to the support sections of the publisher or developer’s own website.

The ACL’s definition of “major fault” is a sticky point. It’s clearly written for physical products rather than digital ones, which muddies things. How does the requirement that products “come with undisturbed possession, so no one has a right to take the goods away or prevent you from using them” interact with the idea of banning people from Steam for being arseholes? The old software argument is that we’re buying licenses, not products. The marketing of many games also treads a very fine line around the ACL’s requirement that products “match descriptions made by the salesperson, on packaging and labels, and in promotions or advertising.” That’s before we even come to games that are unplayably buggy or have poor performance due to specific PC configurations.

The ACCC are seeking “declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, disclosure orders, adverse publicity orders, non-party consumer redress, a compliance program order and costs.” They want Valve to change their refunds policy and offer refunds, in short. The first hearing for the matter, where presumably we’ll get to know Valve’s official response and the ACCC’s claims in more detail, is on October 7th.

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70 Comments »

  1. Vermintide says:

    At least someone’s challenging them. There’s something deeply wrong about being able to buy somefhing that is utterly broken (see, for example, the Rome 2 launch or any other number of high profile disasters) and not being able to seek a refund for it as you would be able to if any normal retailer had sold you defective goods. Unfortunately, in the pioneering field of digital distribution, current laws have a lot of loopholes that companies are only going to exploit. The UK Sales of Goods Act doesn’t apply to digital goods at all, meaning there is almost no regulation on digital sales whatsoever, even when the product delivered is clearly unfit for purpose or “faulty”- i.e bugs etc.

    Of course, gamers themselves are no help, being as they are the most passive group of submissive wallet cattle out of almost any market.

  2. Koinzellgaming says:

    About time for this shit.. Steam has great sales, but everything consumer-wise is horribly shitty.. They’re ready to sell games that are canceled (Early access games may never be finished.) and they never refund anything even if the game is completely broken.

    • Fhoenix says:

      Oh, they do give refunds, but you have to threaten them and they still say “We are giving you money back as an exception, don’t think for a moment we are actually obliged to do that”.

      I once preordered a game only to find on release day that it’s region locked (there was no warning before release). I asked politely for money back (since I live in two countries and don’t want the game to only work in one of them) and support gave me the middle finger. Threatened to demand money back through my bank and instantly got a refund.

      • Kein says:

        Next time you try to pull this out and they easily can ban (you still will be able to login into your account and play games, but you will be banned from purchasing games, redeeming keys and gift, receiving gifts, trading and most likely from communtiy hubs) you and there is no appeals on valve bans, period. Support simply won’t reply to your ticket and it will be automatically closed “due to inactivity” or you will receive bot reply that “they can’t assist you with the issue”.

        And unless you have some kind of small army or troops to rally and get some publicity (see the case with Timmy) – you are fucked.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Yeah, effectively they have a “One refund” policy. They’ll refund one single game for you if you insist/threaten, and if you request a second, EVER, they’ll straight-up ban you, no appeals or anything. It’s atrocious.

        Though that might not be the case with you, but probably only if they specifically told you it’s not.

        • DrRoxo says:

          I’ve managed to get a “refund” twice now, though they were both far apart. And it wasn’t actually a proper refund, they just returned the money to my Steam wallet.

          All in all, Steam has so many of its aspect broken and in dire need of improvement that they managed to alienate me quite a bit over the last two years. I’ll still play the games previously bought there, but further purchases are out of the picture for now. I’m instead finding myself drawn to GOG more and more these days…

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          I’ve never heard of anyone getting banned from Steam for requesting more than one refund. That’s silly fearmongering.

          Four refunds for me so far, and no bans or account locks yet.

    • Maxheadroom says:

      I logged in to post the exact same sentiment.
      As a service and a platform they’re great but their customer support borders on abusive.

      Bought From Dust before the whole DRM UTurn-fiasco (i travel a lot for work and spend a lot of time in hotels with a laptop and rubbish or no wifi so need to be able to play stuff offline) then tried to get a refund pointing out that as the description of the product had changed it was no longer fit for my purpose.

      Over the course of several exchanges I went on to say that i hadn’t played or even installed it and I would be happy with store credit rather than a cash refund. I even quoted the legal paragraphs that said i qualified for refund under European consumer law.

      They never even entered into a dialogue with me, just kept repeating “We’re sorry we are unable to help you with this matter” and closed the call

      (Got my money back eventually mind, but only because Ubisoft stepped in and told valve to offer a refund to everyone who bought it)

      • katinkabot says:

        Their customer service is historically abysmal. From a business perspective it makes sense. Valve prides itself on being a “lean” company and customer service can be a lot of overhead. So if they can pass the buck off back onto the developer, implement some automated “bots, and maybe hire like 2 people to manage it(people who likely do other things as well) then that makes investors happy. I remember back when Steam was nothing more than a way to set up CS matches and it would take them like a week to get back to you on any issues. It wasn’t even purchasing problems, it would be legitimate technical issues with Steam.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      +1.
      Good luck Australia winning with these suckers!

    • Mordin says:

      That is a silly argument. Steam is not responsible for game studio failing to deliver a game, that you bought on early access.

      You knew its an early access, you decided to take the risk, shit happened, own it. Don’t go running to the middle men trying to abuse few laws like some cheeze ambulance chaser lawyer.

      Its like people who invested in kickstaters crying ‘shut up and take my money’ without reading the fine print, and then when those kickstarters failed cry for refund. NO!

  3. Commander Gun says:

    Considering the outrageous prices Valve asks for games in that country (which probably has it’s reasons, but still), i can imagine that if there is one country where refunds are important, it’s in Australia.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Yeah, regional pricing in Australia puts it at about 1.5-2 times the equivalent in EU/UK/US right?

      • Haplo says:

        Something like. I think I remember R:TW2 coming out at about 100, 110 dollars, which is the norm for big AAA releases.

        Steam mimics this, which leads to the age-old practice known as “Badger the American friend to gift the games for you and you pay them for it directly”, which works out to be far cheaper.

        • Premium User Badge

          Jackablade says:

          That’s a publisher thing though. Quite often Steam releases games at a price consistent with that of other territories, but then has to jack it up when the publisher comes in and demands the Australia tax, sometimes weeks later.

          • eggy toast says:

            The price on the Steam Store is set by the publisher, yes, but Valve has a suggested pricing for both games and regional price variations. I do not know if the store page defaults to using them but I think it does..

    • programmdude says:

      They don’t have good reasons for price increasing, australia doesn’t have that higher “spending money” compared to the US, so the prices should be similar to the US’s. It’s all digital, so it costs them literally nothing extra to sell to them too.
      It’s worse for new zealand, they have less “spending money” then australia, yet have either the same price, or sometimes even higher.

      Of course, since I live in a country with decent consumer laws, just threatening that they are violating them tends to get them to give refunds, or more likely the equivalent of a gift certificate.

      • Commander Gun says:

        Ok, i thought maybe the government had some (anti-gaming) laws in effect that would explain the price difference. I do not have too much knowledge about this tbh, it is just that i read on numerous occasions the prices in aus/nzl are ridicilous that i feel sorry for my fellowgamers over there.

        • Premium User Badge

          Jackablade says:

          There’s actually some legal action slowly, slowly oozing its way through the system thats trying to combat the arbitrarily expensive cost of Australian entertainment media. I don’t think we’re going to see anything happen any time soon

        • wu wei says:

          The increased prices are entirely due to local distributors demanding it from publishers. This is evident from the fact that not all games have the price increase: 2K, Take-Two and Namco Bandai are among the biggest offenders. It’s not uncommon for games to be initially priced the same as the US, only to be jacked up a few weeks later when one of the distributors notices and whines about it. Take-Two also regularly increases prices on older titles just prior to sales, which is all too obvious when you look at historical data on sites like steamprices.com; this is also something that violates Aus. consumer protections.

          The worst part is that prices are set to match the shelf price of local retailers, but in US$; if a title is AU$90 here, it’s US$90 on Steam. Unsurprisingly, Australians are the biggest pirates in the world.

          Frankly, I’d be a lot happier if the ACCC looked into the price fixing rather than refunds, or even actually dealt with the ongoing gouging by Microsoft, Apple et al, which has a far bigger impact on the country. They’re a fairly ball-less, tooth-less organisation, though, and will always pick softer targets when they want to throw their weight around.

          • kaloth says:

            While I still lived in Australia, I would simply pirate new release games and then buy it when it was on sale. There was no way that I was going to fork over up to 2x the cost that everyone else in the world pays (or more when you compare to russia and philipines).

            Now I live somewhere that charges in parity with the US prices (because they don’t support the currency of this country), but due to my heavy work load I have little time for games, so except in rare cases of awesome games I’ve been following for months, I still just wait for the steam sales.

            But I no longer pirate games, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        Australia’s median income is much, much higher than in the US. And even if it wasn’t, the cost of business in Australia is much higher and that’s what sets retail prices, which publishers won’t undercut for digital because they rely on retail for a huge proportion of their sales.

        • derbefrier says:

          yeah and from what i read a lot of it has to do with the brick and mortar stores. If say steam and other digital outlets lowered the price to what it was in the US a lot of those stores would basically be run out of buisness because of the high as fuck tax rates they simply cant compete with the lower prices. Also saying the cost of living in Australia is the same in the USA is laughable. people should actually look this stuff up. I mean do 2 bedroom apartments for 500 bucks a month even exist there? From what i read its like triple that,

          • eggy toast says:

            No you will not find a 500$ 2 bedroom in the US. The healthcare costs are massively higher as well, while minimum wage is roughly half.

          • colw00t says:

            $500/month 2BR apartments absolutely exist in the US, they will just be in the middle of nowhere where demand is sufficiently low.

            I’ve seen good-condition 1000-1500 square foot houses sell for $50,000 or so in places like Northern Michigan.

          • Premium User Badge

            xao says:

            Cost of living varies wildly across the US. I’m living in a $500/month two bedroom less than ten minutes from downtown, in a decent neighborhood, in a mid-sized city in the US right now. I’ve also paid $1000/month for a one bedroom in a smaller town and worse neighborhood than my current apartment.

        • TeskR says:

          The thing is though 90USD is ~100AUD or even a little more.

          Using Civ Beyond Earth as an example that title is now 90USD on steam for Aussies so ~100AUD.

          The same game at a brick and mortar store like JBHiFi will be around 77 AUD. So they are overcharging even what brick and mortar stores are offering the titles for in Australia.

          I’ll almost always buy AAA titles either from JBHiFi or from greenmangaming or a similar site that will sell to us at the US price.

          At least If you are going to give us a regional price hike for Australia then charge for it in our own damn currency so we don’t have to pay for the additional currency conversion charges as well!

          • massey says:

            As a New Zealander this is what insults me the most, regional pricing in foreign currency. Either charge me in USD at the US price or do your BS regional pricing in NZD.

      • eggy toast says:

        When you say gift certificates, do you mean they add money to your Steam wallet and also leave the game active in your account?

        Pretty nice if so.

    • Premium User Badge

      Clavus says:

      Prices aren’t set by Valve, but by devs / publishers. If the prices are shit in your local retail store, they’re shit on Steam.

      There’s a reason GOG can’t get every developer on board with their single-price-everywhere stance, noble as it may be.

    • Premium User Badge

      Marley says:

      Yep as a kiwi (therefore getting lumped in with Aus on basically everything apart from censorship when it comes to games) Games like CoD:Modern Warfare 1 are still $50 USD on steam and ubisoft excepts $120 NZD for local pre-orders of games like watch dogs, if it werent for sites like GMG i would go mad

  4. Merus says:

    Also not a lawyer, but Australian consumer laws are usually interpreted incredibly broadly, with very little sympathy for claims that are technically true but are open to interpretation. Apple had to recall its ’4G’ iPads because they weren’t capable of connecting to 4G in Australia. Mobile phone carriers cannot advertise that you get a “free” phone as part of a mobile phone plan, because you pay for the plan. And so on.

    I’d guess that Valve’s argument that they are not a store because they sell licenses will go over equally as well. The idea that you’re buying an unlimited-time subscription to a game instead of buying a game is a bit of semantics that appears to chiefly be there so that Valve can claim consumer protection laws don’t apply to them.

    The Australian Consumer Law applies to both goods and services, and what is considered a ‘major fault’ is defined in large part by the consumer. If the consumer can make a reasonable case that the product or service is not fit for purpose, for instance, they are entitled to be able to return it. (For instance, ‘it doesn’t work on my machine’.)

    (I actually had a lawyer go over the Steam EULA when they made people waive their right to class-action lawsuits. My lawyer’s advice was that a) the legality of that clause in Australia was dubious and b) instead of suing, it would be a much better idea to just cut my losses.)

  5. deejayem says:

    I seem to remember that you cannot “sign away” statutory rights such as consumer protection, no matter what T&Cs you agree to at the point of purchase. Anyone who knows more about law than me care to comment?

    • Premium User Badge

      SuddenSight says:

      Theoretically true. The point of consumer laws is purchasers cannot reasonably be expected to be an expert in all things, so some guarantees must be provided for a nice marketplace. If you could sign that away, everyone would just put it in all their documents and there wouldn’t be consumer protection anymore.

      However, the line between what a consumer can and cannot be reasonably expected to research and understand is tough to pin down. Overzealous consumer protection laws have been known to shut down industries, while under-applied laws can lead to fraud and abuse.

      This case sounds tricky. Software has gone without much consumer protection for a long time, so it is good that lawmakers are trying to force companies to make their policies above board. However, most consumer laws are still written with physical goods and in-person services in mind. Neither of those cases really fits software that well, so I wouldn’t be surprised if over-application of those laws creates as many problems as it fixes.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Yup. The Australian Consumer Law is unmodifiable by contract or agreement – companies can only grant additional rights to consumers by agreement, not subtract them.

      If you offer goods or services for sale in Australia, you must meet the ACL at the bare minimum.

  6. KingFunk says:

    Interesting one, this. In general I’d say that refunds should be available but that consumer law for general products wouldn’t cut it. There would obviously need to be some sort of time-limit involved, to prevent someone from just trying to get a refund on a game they were done with. This is particularly tricky, given the variable length of games!

    I’m not sure what consumer law is around consumables, but presumably some analogies can be drawn there. However, if there’s a problem with my Pret sandwich, this is somewhat easier to prove than a technical issue with a game on my particular rig thousands of miles away from Seattle.

    And how on earth would all this be applied to Early Access – this is truly a minefield…

    • JFS says:

      People do use other goods for a short period of time and then get them refunded. For example, H&M clothing or musical equipment ordered online (applies to Germany). I don’t think people finishing games in a short timespan and then giving them back (if that were possible) can be an argument against refunds.

      Of course, this would also mean that the gaming industry has to see its customers as customers and welcomes and values them as such instead of showing middle fingers left and right (anybody read that “you’re worthless” blog post), so yeah, probably not. Refunds for games will only happen when forced upon the industry, and I say forced upon them it should be.

      • Premium User Badge

        princec says:

        You might be mistaking Valve’s customers for developer’s customers there. The reason Valve works is because they pile ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap, no questions asked, no comebacks, and then they take a huge cut and attempt to palm off support to developers… and yet we can’t even offer refunds. The situation is crap for everyone… except Valve. Here’s hoping it’s the start of a snowball effect on consumers’ rights worldwide with regards to Steam. And from our perspective an end to endless sales and bundles and a movement back towards an actual relationship with customers beyond a paltry sum of pocket change.

        • eggy toast says:

          You never miss a chance to blame Valve, Mr Banner Add On Isthereanydeal.com

          • Bull0 says:

            Yeah, what an illuminating contribution, thank you so much Eggy Toast

        • frightlever says:

          You seem to be looking at the Australian consumer protection government body taking Steam to task for curtailing consumer rights, and extrapolating that to mean that developers will regain the whip hand, Steam will learn its place as a middleman and the worthless, your word not mine, consumer will dance to your tune. I’m summarising, obviously.

          I kinda accept that I don’t really “own” anything on my Steam account, in exchange for the convenience and potentially really cheap prices.

          Also, do you have like a Goolge alert for “worthless” now?

          • Premium User Badge

            princec says:

            No, I’m just a regular RPS reader, have been for years.

            The situation as it stands has Valve trying to have its cake and eating it. You’re buying the software… but you’re not buying it so you’ve got no rights there. We’re not publishing the software… but we’re taking a big cut and not responsible for the software itself. And so on. It sticks two fingers up at many consumer protection laws in many countries. I’m both a developer for Valve and a Valve customer and it seems that Valve are being disingenuous at best, if not simply just trading illegally.

          • Emeraude says:

            @princec

            I do think one issue is that Valve (but that’s true as far as where the software industry, gaming included, has been heading for a while now) is trying to get the best of both worlds by taking the advantages of presenting themselves both as service and product provider while skimming on the duties of either.

          • Premium User Badge

            princec says:

            Absolutely true as far as I can see.

      • Emeraude says:

        anybody read that “you’re worthless” blog post

        Theres been quite a few in the last few days, but it’s not as if it was a new sentiment in the industry. I seem to remember a X360 marketing employee publishing a piece on Gamasutra some years ago that likened the old “hardcore gamer” guard with pioneers in the wild west and the new audience they targeted with the people that set in once the land had finally become civilized… which kinda made my blood boil at the time.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Rinox says:

    I wonder how long it will take before someone does the same thing in Europe under the (fairly new) EU Consumer Rights Directive. I’m sure there will be some technical reason why it doesn’t apply to Steam purchases, but of course practically speaking it’s as much ‘distance selling’ as anything else. The directive is very much in the advantage of the consumer.

  8. Merus says:

    Here is a video from the Checkout, a weird Australian mashup of consumer affairs and dodgy sketch comedy that explains the protections Australians are entitled to from goods: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE8BB-ioNRw
    and from services, to give people an idea of how broadly this ranges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL2y5rNfUMM

  9. SuicideKing says:

    About time.

    FreeSpace 2 launched on steam and the install process didn’t add registry entry that caused much grief to people, till others figured how to fix the game. There was no way to tell Valve this, and getting Interplay to respond is probably no shortcut.

    • Dave Tosser says:

      The solution is to buy it from GoG, where it’s been available since 2009, DRM-free and comes with some nice extras.

  10. DrollRemark says:

    The thing is, it’s one thing to say “Oh, how could we possibly give refunds on digital software, people can just copy it?” when it’s a straight downloadable file, but when your software is an integrated game launcher, logger and shop in one, that’s kind of harder to back up.

    if Steam can see how long I’ve been playing a game, and how much it’s crashed (and where) on me, I think they should be able to make decent value judgements on whether I’ve been offered a product that’s fit for service.

    • Premium User Badge

      princec says:

      Actually they can’t tell either of those things, but that shouldn’t be the test that is applied. Consumer is unhappy with product – for whatever reason – consumer should get money back, no questions asked, end of story.

  11. bstard says:

    Lots of complaining from the Aussies & Kiwi. Go outside and enjoy your wonderful country, and lets the gaming to us plonkers in rainy grey shitty eu provinces ;)

    • DrManhatten says:

      You should be happy for the Aussies and Kiwis as Steam ones helpful PC gaming cell has long transformed into a cancer spreading and it is time it is cut back or it will kill all of PC gaming in the long run.

  12. eggy toast says:

    How does the requirement that products “come with undisturbed possession, so no one has a right to take the goods away or prevent you from using them” interact with the idea of banning people from Steam for being arseholes?

    There should be zero overlap at all, from the Steam side itself. If you want to block someone commenting somewhere or from official servers because of abuse, that’s all well and good, but if you want to remove something from their library without their consent then you need to give them their money back. Arsehole is in the eye of the beholder, and making someone else mad should never give them grounds to deprive you of your legal possessions.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      That sentence is false fearmongering, anyway. (Though I’ll just assume he got Valve mixed up with EA, which DID revoke access to games with forum bans.) You will only be banned from your games in the most extreme of circumstances. And those circumstances are pretty much limited to chargebacks or games bought with stolen credit cards. Assholes get forum bans. Hackers get VAC bans. Even scammers only get trade bans.

    • Mordin says:

      Steam is distribution platform, which provide extra features on top of the game you buy(or lease?) if you behave as an “asshole” in steam forums i.e. violate their term of use, they are have full right to ban you from its social features. But you can still play the game.

  13. DrManhatten says:

    Go Aussies go kick Valve’s lazy corporate ass!

    • Kittim says:

      Agreed!
      Let’s start with their refund policy and then tackle their illegal Terms of Service ultimatum that they give every time they want to skew things back in their favor.

  14. SkittleDiddler says:

    A step in the right direction. Now, can we get a watchdog group to take Valve to court over their “accept our new EULA update or lose access to all your existing games” bullshit?

    Come to think of it, Steam has an entire laundry list of morally dubious consumer rules that they should be taken to task for.

  15. Frank says:

    Damn straight. Go get ‘em. I’ve had a metric ton of Steam games not work immediately after I bought them. I love Valve for what they’ve done with Steam, but their sales policies are bull. They just don’t want to hire people to perform customer service, I reckon. Keeping the firm small and all that.

  16. Crunchyblack says:

    I remember the old days where if you bought a game and opened it, it was yours forever no refund, unless you showed them a mechanically defective disk…in which case they gave you a working copy.

    I foresee this being immensely abused if steam allows refunds for those who want it (can I just refund every game I have low playtime on??) or publishers saying they don’t want their games sold in regions with anything goes refund policies (or just higher prices, seems Australia loves paying through the nose for games)

    Yes steam needs a policy for automatic refunds for games that are sold on lies or don’t work…and I think they have for at least the high profile failures

    • Mordin says:

      iirc most games in steam can be played offline, hence no playtime or achievements are being recorded. With such refund I foresee many kids buy games, spend weekend playing then, ask refund due to *insert any bug they managed to google* – repeat …

      Just another reason for all those developers who went with multiplyer focus or always online elements…

  17. HisDivineOrder says:

    You think it’s complicated because it’s licenses, but it really shouldn’t be. The software/computer industry in tandem with the Music, Movie, and Game industry has worked overtime for the last 20 years to try and change the meaning of ownership to “owning a license” just as you say here.

    But the concept of ownership, right to use, etc, really should be incredibly simple.

    You buy it. You own it. That companies tried to overcomplicate the matter, then shrug and say, “How can it be any different? It must be this way! You do not OWN what you paid for! You do not get to transfer what you owned across devices! You must own it exclusively for that one platform in spite of the fact you can do the transfer yourself! We only gave you the movie on PSP. Not PS Vita. We sold you the game on Xbox Live for Xbox 360, not Xbox Live for Xbox One. We sold you the music on iTunes, not Google Play.”

    Etc.

    It’s absurd. More to the salient point, it’s incredibly ridiculous how hard it is to get a refund from Steam and how beholden they act like we should be to them for bothering when they didn’t do the research to know what they were selling or how badly it was made.

    Here’s the thing I think. If Valve wants to have their existing refund/return policy, then they should give every user a two hour trial that starts when they first play the game after “purchasing” the title. The two hours counts down on your Steam pop-up screen. It only counts when you are actually playing the game. If you cannot decide within two hours if the game is broken, it probably isn’t broken enough to be that concerned about.

    Just like the way Greenlight went away in favor of “EVERYONE GETS IN”, let their existing crappy policy go away and assume everyone gets two hours to just return easily and quickly. Assume everyone gets a return within those two hours.

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