“Overseas-based companies selling to Australian consumers must abide by our laws,” says ACCC.
The High Court of Australia has dismissed a special leave application from US-based Valve Corporation concerning a AUD$3 million fine the company was slugged with back in 2016.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) commenced legal action against Valve back in August 2014 and argued the company had made false or misleading representations under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) with its refunds policy. At that time Steam had not yet implemented its refund system, which was introduced in June 2015.
Valve was found to have breached ACL in 2016 and was fined AUD$3 million. The trial judge’s 2016 ruling was upheld by the Full Federal Court in December 2017 in subsequent proceedings.
Parties wishing to appeal from a judgment of the Federal Court to the High Court of Australia are required to file a special leave application with the High Court. The High Court is the final court of appeal in Australia and the top court in the country. As a result of the High Court’s refusal of special leave, the Full Federal Court’s existing decision is the final decision on the matter.
“This important precedent confirms the ACCC’s view that overseas-based companies selling to Australian consumers must abide by our laws,” said ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court. “If customers buy a product online that is faulty, they are entitled to the same right to a repair, replacement or refund as if they’d walked in to a store.”
Luke is Games Editor at IGN’s Sydney office. You can find him on Twitter every few days @MrLukeReilly.