Steam's Australian Consumer Rights Notice Disappears From Front Page, ACCC Investigates

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Earlier this year, after a long and protracted legal battle, Valve began displaying a consumer rights notice on the front page of Steam. The notice started appearing in late April, and under the court's ruling, was supposed to be displayed to Australian users for a period of 12 months.

But when the Steam Summer Sales kicked off, that notice disappeared.

In a statement to Kotaku, a spokesperson for the ACCC confirmed that they were "making inquiries" into the missing notice. "The Federal Court ordered Valve to display a Consumer Rights Notice on the home page of their Steam website for 12 months," the spokesperson said.

"This order came into effect in April 2018 when the High Court dismissed Valve’s application for special leave to appeal."

In his original ruling, Justice Edelman ruled that the consumer rights notice should be displayed on the front page of Steam's website, and the Steam client:

For a period of 12 months after 20 February 2017, for the benefit of Australian Consumers logging onto the Steam Website from a computer with an Australian IP address (based on the IP look up table available to the Respondent current at the consumer’s login), the respondent will publish on the home page of the Steam Website a link, in a typeface of at least 14 point Times New Roman, reading “IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT CONSUMER RIGHTS IN AUSTRALIA”, which directs them to a notice in the terms set out in Annexure A1 (“Consumer Rights Notice”).

The Australian Federal Court Has Fined Valve $3 Million

In a hearing earlier this afternoon, the Federal Court has fined Valve $3 million over breaches of Australian consumer law for their lack of an advertised refund policy on Steam from 2011 to 2014.

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The consumer notice page is still live on the Steam website, but at the time of writing I could not find any link on the front page pointing consumers to it. I've contacted Valve for comment, asking what happened and whether the notice will be reinstated, and I'll let you know as soon as I know more.

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