France has fined Ubisoft and Valve for not clarifying their refund policies to consumers.
Ubisoft and Valve have found themselves in hot waters over their refund policies for Uplay and Steam. The specific reason given was that Valve and Ubisoft do not inform consumers that they have 14 days to claim a refund. Ubisoft currently offers no refund policy on Uplay, while Valve offers a refund if claimed within 14 days and if the game has been played for less than 2 hours.
Though Valve does offer the 14-day refund, it is the 2-hour stipulation that has most likely caused the problems for them. They have been fine under Article L221-18, that states (via Google translate):
Basically, the French Law does not allow for an exception of refund based on the number of hours played. The articles mentioned in the end basically state in a legal way that if the product is damaged by the consumer, no refund will be given.
“The consumer has a period of fourteen days to exercise his right of withdrawal from a contract concluded at a distance, following a canvassing telephone or off-premises, without having to motivate his decision or to bear other costs than those provided for in Articles L. 221-23 to L. 221-25.”
“The DGCCRF recently decided to penalize several video games publishers including Ubisoft for what they view as our store’s non-compliance with four articles of the French consumer code. We have been collaborating with the DGCCRF on this matter, and believe our store is compliant,” Ubisoft said. “While we disagree with this current decision, we look forward to continuing productive discussions with them. We also are evaluating possible recourses. In the meantime, we remain dedicated to providing great games and services to our players, including via the Ubisoft store.”
Ubisoft is looking at Article L221-28 to contest the case. The Article states that “the right of withdrawal cannot be exercised for digital content that is not supplied on a physical medium whose performance has begun after the express prior consent of the consumer and expressly waives his right of withdrawal.” But the French Law requires the companies to mention that, and since Ubisoft and Valve did not, they will not get the benefit of exception.