In Australia, Australian Consumer Law dictates that within reason Australian Customers are entitled to refunds which Steam/Valve got into trouble by refusing.

A while back i went to buy Warhammer 40k but i couldn't play it because it required an internet connection despite me using a single player campaign, so I took it back and got a refund (after successfully arguing that the package did not state that a net connection was required for single player which had no social connectivity to it, and that the packaging can be interpreted as referring only to the online mode).

However, imagine I brought the same game but as a Download Code from EB (a games shop and online retailer) and used it on Steam and was unable to play it because I need an internet connection for the single player campaign (despite needing the net to download it I am able to play The Ship in Steam just fine without a net connection).

Does the Australian Consumer Law entitle me to a refund? If so who do i inquire to to get my refund? Steam/Valve or EB Games

NOTE: Steam has the power to remove my game from the library but EB doesn't, however it was EB which I paid for the game not Steam.

1 Answer 1


Australian Consumer Law is a suite of legislation enacted in each of the Australian jurisdictions so the details vary (slightly) from state-to-state. The applicable jurisdictions would be either the state where you downloaded or the state where you live.

The press release you quote is not directly applicable here; it simply states that Steam were in breach of the Trade Practices Act by saying that they would not give refunds.

The law applies to all goods and services sold in Australia irrespective of the location of the vendor and covers all sales to consumers and sales of less than $40,000 (except motor vehicles) to businesses.

Warhammer 40k would be caught in either case. The party responsible for any remedy is the vendor, EB Games in this case; how they sort it out with Steam is not your concern.

You may be entitled to a refund (based on NSW law): where there is a major fault, you have the choice to ask for a repair or refund. A major fault includes "a problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it" or "it doesn’t do what the business said it would".

However, if the need for an internet connection was disclosed before your purchase (e.g. in the system requirements for the game on the website) then the above would not apply and you would not be entitled to any remedy.

That said:

  1. EB Games is an Australian based company and would probably be open to at least a store credit even if you were not entitled to a refund as a PR exercise
  2. Why on earth would you think the downloaded versions of the software would be any different from the disc version?
  • In regards to point 2 at the end of your answer, Warhammer 40k is the only game i know of which you can install offline but to play you needed to be online so i used it as an example of a "what if" scenario
    – Memor-X
    Jun 22, 2015 at 1:32
  • Ok, so the download part didn't actually happen? It was a hypothetical?
    – Dale M
    Jun 22, 2015 at 2:08
  • correct, it's actually been on my mind for a while but just didn't have a good example of a game until i remembered about Warhammer recently
    – Memor-X
    Jun 22, 2015 at 2:14

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