Valve and Ubisoft have been fined €147,000 and €180,000, respectively, in France over Steam and Uplay's customer refund policies, both of which have been found to violate the country's consumer laws by failing to mention terms of expiry.
Accessing Steam's store in France greeted consumers with a legal text listing four breaches of the country's Consumer Code - L. 221-5, L. 221 -28 1 3 °, L. 22 1 -18 and L. 221 - 1 3. Seeing as how the codes are confusing already, we'll translate them into human terms.
Basically, the French have found Steam's terms and conditions to be insufficiently clear on terms of expiry of the refund policy, in addition to not explicitly asking customers to agree with them. Steam's current policy allows for refunds if you've played the game for less than two hours and have bought it less than 14 days ago.
Ubisoft and Uplay were found to be in breach of the same articles, even though their punishment has been slightly steeper at €180,000, compared to Valve and Steam's €147,000. You'd think that Ubisoft, being a French company and all, would've gotten a better deal but instead, it seems it's the other way around.
As much as we're regular users and fans of both gaming platforms, we are the consumers, and it's only natural to support every effort in consumer protection. We've made it no mystery that we're huge supporters of GabeN and his knights but laws are laws.
Besides, you could probably add two zeros to this number and it would still be pocket money for Valve and Ubisoft, so we guess it's a fair warning by the French authorities. After all, Valve have been found guilty of similar transgressions in Australia, for which they eventually forked over $3 million, so it's not too shabby of an outcome.
Now if only someone could extend the same mindfulness to Star Citizen's refund policy, which CIG somehow managed to implement retroactively, despite its text being clear that this will not be the case. Unfortunately, US judges clearly sided with CIG, at the expense of consumers.