Valve user agreement now disallows class-action suits

To buy games from Steam, you must now sign an agreement not to join class-action lawsuits against operator Valve. [Steam via Ars]


    1.  If it’s anything like the PSN’s class action waiver, the general impression I got was that it’s probably not legally binding, but that they’ve never been tested in court. 

    2.  Class action waivers are generally enforceable (in the US), but because this is a contract of adhesion, maybe not.

  1. Can’t really argue with their logic – every single class action lawsuit I’ve ever seen has resulted in mega money for lawyers and almost nothing for the people who were supposed to have been injured by whatever the company did to get sued.

    1. I didn’t think about it this way…keep lawyers out of it, it doesn’t benefit anybody but them.  Every single class action postcard I get,  (recently Netflix, HSBC, Bank of America) the lawyers make a bundle. 

    2. Giving money to the consumer isn’t the only reason for a class action suit, and probably not even the main reason.  The main reason is to punish the company so they don’t continue to behave in an illegal way.   There only has to be barely enough of a payoff to the consumer to create some incentive to bring the suit.  Otherwise the case would never get heard, and the company could act illegally with impunity.

  2. Anything to do with the European legislation change where people will be able to sell back software and other territories getting annoyed?

    1. Definitely not, as the EU is actually specifically exempted from almost all of the new legal stuff in the SSA.

  3. I read the agreement.  It does disallow class-action suits, but it also outlines some very reasonable guidelines for when a customer may claim damages, which will be arbitrated by a neutral third party, which Valve will pay for as long as that third party doesn’t determine the claim to be frivolous.  

    As far as EULAs go, it’s pretty generous. Less, “you can’t sue us ever” and more, “if you have a legitimate complaint, we’ll help you resolve it.”

    1.  It may sound reasonable now, but generally requiring arbitration only helps the company (of course it does; why else would they add the clause?).   A judge is a already a neutral third party, and often the loser has to pay court costs, so  there is no expense to the company if the claim is frivolous.  There is no fair reason to add this clause.

      The reason any company *requires* arbitration, is so they can decide who the arbitator is, and so they can control the outcome.  If the arbitrator is chosen by the company, and is paid for by the company, who do you think they will favor?

      And the idea that the arbitrator will decide whether the claim is frivolous is laughable.  Basically, the company-paid arbitrator decides your claim is frivolous if the company says it doesn’t like the case, and therefore won’t pay the arbitrator for the case.

      Also, in general when using arbitration, there is no legal requirement that the arbitrator respect legal precedent, or that it make any decision in accordance with law.

      This is exactly what is being challenged in banking right now.  Most banks have the same clause requiring you to use an arbitrator of their choosing and giving up your right to sue.   This has been fraught with abuse by the banks.  The new consumer protection agency has been given the right to strike down arbitration requirements, but the agency is still so new they haven’t gone there yet.   This is one of the worst things that a company can do, because it undermines a consumer’s right to a fair adjudication of disputes.

  4. Wait, I receive postcards that sometimes tell me if I DON”T want to be a part of a specific class action I’m supposed to contact the court, otherwise, do nothing….?

    1.  That’s for class action lawsuits already in progress. You might be a member of the class, and will be considered a member of the class, if eligible, unless you affirmatively remove yourself from the class – if you wanted to sue them yourself (or not participate).

  5. Step 1, say Microsoft’s latest OS is “a catastrophe”. Turns out it’s because they might have their own app/game shop, which would compete with you.
    Step 2, prevent class-action lawsuits against your own shop…
    I wonder what Step 3 is…

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