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Valve have been fined 147 thousand euros in France

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Thanks to a tip in our Discord, we've found out today that Valve have been fined 147 thousand euros in France. Probably a drop in the ocean compared to Valve's revenue, but enough to turn their heads and pay attention.

For anyone visiting the Steam store in France, you will likely see this appear at the top of the store (thanks Syldat):

This translates (thanks Google) loosely to:

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 totalling € 147,000. for breach of the following provisions of the Consumer Code: Articles L. 221-5 (conclusion of a contract for the supply of digital content without communication of prior information compliant), L. 221 -28 1 3 ° (absence of a collection of the express agreement of the consumer prior to the execution of the supply of the digital content and absence of collection of the express waiver to his right of retraction), L. 22 1 -18 (non-respect of the withdrawal period) and L. 221 - 1 3 (failure to deliver a compliant contract).

I'm certainly no expert on this, but it appears to be an issue with the refund policy on Steam. It's likely that Valve aren't stating the restrictions on refunds clearly enough when you actually make a purchase. Since they currently impose restrictions of you not owning it for more than two weeks or having played more than two hours. It is detailed quite clearly in Valve's actual terms and conditions though, which links directly links to this page.

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27 comments
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Rugaliz 18 September 2018 at 5:27 pm UTC
Huh...so are google, M$, Sony and Nintendo gonna get a slap on the wrist too? oh right, they dont even give the benefit of refund therefore they don't have to get fined due to giving a worse service.
liamdawe 18 September 2018 at 5:32 pm UTC
RugalizHuh...so are google, M$, Sony and Nintendo gonna get a slap on the wrist too? oh right, they dont even give the benefit of refund therefore they don't have to get fined due to giving a worse service.
Yeah Nintendo are terrible. Tried to get a single refund from them for a truly crap game on Switch - completely denied.
Duke Takeshi 18 September 2018 at 5:34 pm UTC
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liamdaweI'm certainly no expert on this, but it appears to be an issue with the refund policy on Steam.

Could also have something to do with scallops.
x_wing 18 September 2018 at 5:38 pm UTC
RugalizHuh...so are google, M$, Sony and Nintendo gonna get a slap on the wrist too? oh right, they dont even give the benefit of refund therefore they don't have to get fined due to giving a worse service.

Well, today I was reading about refund policies for Windows OEM and end up reading Microsoft EULA:
QuoteBy accepting this agreement or using the software, you agree to all of these terms, and consent to the transmission of certain information during activation and during your use of the software as per the privacy statement described in Section 3. If you do not accept and comply with these terms, you may not use the software or its features. You may contact the device manufacturer or installer, or your retailer if you purchased the software directly, to determine its return policy and return the software or device for a refund or credit under that policy. You must comply with that policy, which might require you to return the software with the entire device on which the software is installed for a refund or credit, if any.

So, if you're lucky enough, you can actually get a Microsoft refund for an OEM key you never used on your computer. The ugly part is that it could also mean that the manufacturer could decide to ask you to return the whole computer. Maybe in first world countries you can refund the key... would be nice to know if this refund policy works in the EU.


Last edited by x_wing at 18 September 2018 at 5:38 pm UTC
Pikolo 18 September 2018 at 6:21 pm UTC
x_wingWell, today I was reading about refund policies for Windows OEM and end up reading Microsoft EULA:
QuoteBy accepting this agreement or using the software, you agree to all of these terms, and consent to the transmission of certain information during activation and during your use of the software as per the privacy statement described in Section 3. If you do not accept and comply with these terms, you may not use the software or its features. You may contact the device manufacturer or installer, or your retailer if you purchased the software directly, to determine its return policy and return the software or device for a refund or credit under that policy. You must comply with that policy, which might require you to return the software with the entire device on which the software is installed for a refund or credit, if any.

So, if you're lucky enough, you can actually get a Microsoft refund for an OEM key you never used on your computer. The ugly part is that it could also mean that the manufacturer could decide to ask you to return the whole computer. Maybe in first world countries you can refund the key... would be nice to know if this refund policy works in the EU.

The EU law did at one point state that you can't be required to accept all parts of a package deal and can return parts of it, provided that you can't obtain a part of the the package otherwise. There was a case of a french woman who managed to refund her OEM license, and soon after Dell started the Developer edition, to show that you can buy their laptops(at least the non-gaming ones) without a Windows license.

To put that into human words: if you can't buy the same product without Windows, you might be able to get it refunded.
mirv 18 September 2018 at 6:21 pm UTC
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Seems Ubisoft were fined as well. I remember something about this a while ago actually, right before Valve started to offer refunds in a less convoluted fashion. This is probably the end result of those investigations.
stan 5 years 18 September 2018 at 6:27 pm UTC
AFAIK the French/European law does not require sellers of digital goods to provide refunds once the goods have been downloaded, so Valve have been doing much more than they are required by law for a long while and I wonder what this "non-respect of the withdrawal period" is about.
The rest is just useless bureaucratic bullshit…

Edit: I’m in France and I’m not seeing that message on the store.


Last edited by stan at 18 September 2018 at 6:28 pm UTC
jarhead_h 18 September 2018 at 6:50 pm UTC
I'm wondering about the timing. Assuming this is really happening, Valve just went public with their integration of Proton+DXVK into Steam Play, and now coming from one of the main countries in the EU responsible for the recent link tax copyright heavy-handedness is beginning an attack against Valve. Now this may be French bureaucrats being French bureaucrats, or Microsoft might have pulled some levers behind the scenes to begin the attack against Valve as Valve has clearly thrown a monkey in the wrench with regards to Microsoft's obvious moves towards locking down Windows similarly to Apple and Google.

There is no doubt in my mind that Microsoft knew that Steam Play integration was coming before Valve announced it, which means they began their response before it was made public. Business is war, and while Valve has their sights set at being the hub for video games on the net, Microsoft has dreams of a closed ecosystem where they get a payout every time anybody does anything with a computer. The two goals are not compatible, and Microsoft has deeper pockets and multiple decades worth of political connections.
stan 5 years 18 September 2018 at 7:12 pm UTC
jarhead_hI'm wondering about the timing.
Justice is slow; this is probably about things that happened years ago.
Babouchot 18 September 2018 at 7:23 pm UTC
stan
jarhead_hI'm wondering about the timing.
Justice is slow; this is probably about things that happened years ago.

I think stan is right here. Steam has a lot of issues that are considered against consumer rights in french laws (such as the fact that you can be banned without any real explanation and thus lose access to all of your games that you are not really the owner of when you buy them on steam). Because of such issues, UFC, one of the biggest french consumer rights association had Valve in their radar since 2015 and filed a lawsuit (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valve_Corporation#UFC_Que_Choisir_v._Valve_Corporation).

I highly doubt this is a machiavellian conspiracy against Valve's SteamPlay.


Last edited by Babouchot at 18 September 2018 at 7:32 pm UTC
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