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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 10:57am 01/08/12 | 14 Comments
Valve has updated their Steam Subscriber Agreement with the removal of the right to file for a class action suit against them in the event of a dispute. In place of this (and to soften the blow) customers can still bring individual claims to Valve, and in the event of arbitration, regardless of the outcome, Valve will foot the bill.

"In the arbitration process, Valve will reimburse your costs of the arbitration for claims under a certain amount," they wrote in the update. "Reimbursement by Valve is provided regardless of the arbitrator’s decision, provided that the arbitrator does not determine the claim to be frivolous or the costs unreasonable."
Most significant to the new dispute resolution terms is that customers may now only bring individual claims, not class action claims. We considered this change very carefully. It’s clear to us that in some situations, class actions have real benefits to customers. In far too many cases however, class actions don’t provide any real benefit to users and instead impose unnecessary expense and delay, and are often designed to benefit the class action lawyers who craft and litigate these claims. Class actions like these do not benefit us or our communities. We think this new dispute resolution process is faster and better for you and Valve while avoiding unnecessary costs, and that it will therefore benefit the community as a whole.
Valve joins the ranks of companies like Sony and Electronic Arts who also attempt to limit the right of users to file a class action suit through the end user license agreement, representing what appears to be a growing trend among the more shrewd games businesses out there as consumers become more and more savvy.

Drop us a line with your thoughts on Valve's joining of this business practice in the Comments below.












Latest Comments
DecayingCorpse
Posted 11:02am 01/8/12
Class actions like these do not benefit us or our communities

lol. of course they don't benefit valve. it might cost them a s***load of money and create a PR nightmare.

don't worry about doing the right thing by your customers - forcing people to waive their legal rights instead tho... hmm that might work.
niteheh
Posted 11:06am 01/8/12
Gaben wouldn't try to swindle me! ...Right? ;_;
FraktuRe
Posted 11:11am 01/8/12
It's pretty true though, most people in class action suits only end up getting a few cents each.
DM
Posted 11:13am 01/8/12
This doesn't really bother me. None of the companies who took that clause out did. Maybe i'm being ignorant here (and feel free to tell me otherwise) but has a class action lawsuit ever been used successfully and with good reason without making the people who filed it look like total d*** whackers? The only one i've ever heard of that sounded like a legit, reasonable thing was that people started banding together over Sony removing backwards compatability for old games on the 60gb PS3, something only that model had and no other has since had. Ever since then it's just been stupid s*** like "omg psn is down for 3 weeks due to hackers, I'LL SUE YOU".
Running_With_Scissors
Posted 11:21am 01/8/12
Can that even be legal? Taking away a legal right of the consumer.... any lawyers out there?
Tollaz0r!
Posted 11:33am 01/8/12
Yer, has it actually been tested yet?
Manst
Posted 03:15pm 01/8/12
If I remember right form a similar matter being discussed, a eula is not a legally binding contract and through it you cannot waive your rights. Might be wrong though.
thermite
Posted 03:32pm 01/8/12
EULAs and contract agreements don't mean s*** if they contradict a law or take away a legal right, so why would this?
greazy
Posted 03:38pm 01/8/12
Wikipedia has an interesting section on it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End-user_license_agreement#Enforceability_of_EULAs_in_the_United_States

Seems like it's a case by case basis. However what Valve has done in regards to reimbursing the arbitration fees is honourable but still screws the end user because not only is the decision to reimburse in their hands, you have to pay up front the costs. What if you can't afford it?
badfunkstripe
Posted 05:55pm 01/8/12
My understanding is that such a clause is worthless.

Legal action gets taken if there's wrong doing or a perceived wrong. You can't write a clause excusing yourself from liability in such situations. That covers individual or class action lawsuits.

Otherwise every contract would have clauses like, "in the invent of any wrong doing, misrepresentation, negligence or fraud, you waive the right to take legal action."

The clause is more there to describe the frame work they want to handle such matters. It wouldn't stand up in court. People put all sorts of crap in contracts and EULA which wouldn't hold up in court.
Whoop
Posted 06:15pm 01/8/12
so if I don't agree to this, how do I get all my games back to standalone mode and not require steam to play them?

I smell massive lawsuits and I hope valve get reamed.
Spanjo
Posted 08:24pm 01/8/12
It depends on the country and juristiction. Where I live judges have specifically stated that contracts can never remove the right to sue, nor prevent a court from hearing it. To wit, one judge noted "Contracts can not simply erase the law". So if it says "All claims are to be heard in the central tribal court of Chad" or something, well that just doesnt apply. But I believe a lot of US judges *have* accepted these s***** get-out-of-jail-free cards , so it might be different over there.
Everlong
Posted 08:32pm 01/8/12
Why would you want Valve reamed? They are one of the main reasons PC gaming hasn't been consumed by consoles. This subscriber agreement change is lame yes, but like others have said, in a courtroom it would not be enforceable if they had broken a law.
WirlWind
Posted 12:08am 02/8/12
Aye, seem to recall hearing from fair trade that a EULA doesn't negate consumer rights / legal rights regardless of if you sign it.

I think it was during my research on statutory warranty while trying to get a TV that was out of it's 1 year warranty fixed.

(Yes, I beat them down with the law and got it repaired free of charge)
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