Valve Gets Huge Fine In France And Other Countries Could Follow Suit

Steam users in France are said to be noticing a very unusual message popping up when they boot up Steam and it’s all down to a huge fine handed to Valve.

According to French website NoFrag, the message reads: “Pursuant to Article L. 522-1 of the French Consumer Code, the National Investigation Service of the DGCCRF decided to impose administrative penalties on the company VALVE CORPORATION totaling € 147,000. for breach of the following provisions of the Consumer Code: Articles L. 221-5.”

Why has Valve been fined? It’s all down to the refund policy, which allows for a refund on a game as long as it’s been played for less than two hours and bought within 14 days of the refund request.

Steam is apparently in violation of France’s policies as it doesn’t disclose this in the terms and conditions when signing up, meaning lots of people could expect refunds that they aren’t owed because the guidelines weren’t specified.

It’s not just Valve who have come under fire – Ubisoft EMEA has also been accused of the same and have been issued an even more expensive fine:

In application of Articles L. 522-1 and L. 522-6 of the Consumer Code, the National Investigation Service of the DGCCRF has decided to pronounce against the company UBISOFT EMEA SAS administrative sanctions of a total amount of € 180,000 for failure to comply with the following provisions of the Consumer Code: articles L. 221-5 (failure to provide certain pre-contractual information).” [Source: NoFrag]

Reddit quickly got into a huge debate over the topic, with Steam users wondering whether or not this could happen in other countries.

Consumer rights are heavily enforced across the world and if a company is found to be in breach of transparency or fairness when it comes to people handing over their money, they could be facing similar fines to Valve and Ubisoft.

‘The right to be informed’ is a key component in consumer rights and if Valve and other gaming giants stand accused of leaving out key information in their terms and conditions, it could end up being incredibly expensive for them.

Valve has already been fined by Australia in the past. Although for slightly different reasons, the lawsuit still related to transparency and consumer rights relating to the terms and conditions of sales and refunds.

It’s important to note that this recent ruling in France is specific to French legislation, with the fines being issued in compliance with the current refund policy, but it’s by no means a stretch to see it spreading to other countries.