The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia last month dismissed an appeal by online video game retailer Valve Corporation (Valve) against a finding that it had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations regarding consumer guarantees. The contravening conduct occurred in relation to Valve's subscriber agreements and refund policies. Specifically, Valve had attempted to exclude or restrict statutory guarantees that goods be of acceptable quality, and had told consumers they were not entitled to a refund for digital games purchased online.
In its 2016 decision, the Federal Court of Australia found that Valve, a United States based company, was subject to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). It ruled that the online retailer carried on business in Australia for the purposes of the ACL. By making representations to Australian consumers, Valve had engaged in conduct in Australia. We summarised the decision in the March 2016 edition of LegalBytes, available here.
In affirming the Federal Court's ruling, the Full Court confirmed that overseas-based companies which sell products to Australian consumers will be subject to the ACL. The penalty of $3 million imposed on Valve was upheld. The ACCC media release can be found here. For more information, please contact Anne-Marie Allgrove, Toby Patten, Candice Colman and Nikita Matchado.