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Valve and Ubisoft fined for breaching French consumer law

Valve’s Steam and Ubisoft’s Uplay have both run afoul of French law, following their noncompliance regarding refunds in France’s consumer code.

Valve’s fine comes to €147,000 (£130k), while Ubisoft’s hits the company for €180,000 (£160k) – both are related to the refund policies offered on each company’s storefronts, and how neither shop informs consumers that their rights to refunds – as set out in French law – are being denied.

Steam offers refunds in a 14-day window, but only if a game has been played for under two hours. Uplay meanwhile offers no refunds at all. Both approaches aren’t illegal per se, but the fact neither company actually tells consumers they’re getting the short end of the stick is where the real issues arise.

As such, both storefronts in France now carry warnings concerning the ruling at the top of their pages, as reported over on NoFrag.

Google translate has the Steam warning as such:

“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 (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).”

While Uplay’s warning, again via Google translate, has this:

“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), L. 221-28 13 ° (lack of 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 withdrawal), L. 221-18 (non-respect of the right of withdrawal) and L. 221-13 (failure to surrender of a compliant contract).”

Neither fine will hugely impact either company, but it might make them actually change their policy a bit so – at the very least – consumers are expressly told the deal before they click purchase.

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