1. Any company selling products or services has legal obligations to the consumer.
2. When the law talks about product liability for unsafe products, the law often doesn't seem to differentiate between manufacturer, distributor or storefront.
Alright this is kind of a tangent but I'll bite, didn't change any wording, just chopped it up to make the propositions clearer.
1. True! Any company selling products or services has (some) legal obligations to the consumer.
2. False! When the law talks about product liability for unsafe products, the law DOES
differentiate between manufacturer, distributor or storefront.
There is quite some difference in treatment for unsafe products between the storefront and the manufacturer. In many cases storefronts are entitled to rely on the manufacturer that each individual item they're is safe (as long as vast majority of the instance of the item is in fact safe). You can't bring a tort action against the store that sold you a pair of underwear out of a box that gave you a rash because that one pair happened to have some chemical spilled on it in the factory. It is quite unreasonable to expect them to try on all the product they stock -plus most people don't want to buy underwear that has been tried on anyway! - would you? Plus, it's not likely that the storefront itself has any of the technical expertise, or specialized equipment required or whatnot to carry out quality control (both of which the manufacturer would likely have). They're entirely entitled to rely on the manufacturer taking the necessary steps to have QC and ensure their products aren't defective.
In these cases, the manufacturer would be liable for their negligence in shipping a defective product - because presumably, it would have had to pass the factory's internal QC test; but not necessarily the store selling it - you don't expect them to open up each box of underwear that the manufacturer ships them and test every single one to make sure they don't have chemical on it; you can see how this is impractical. Bottom line here is that there is
a distinction, mostly based on the capacity of each of the parties, their proximity with the product, in what are reasonable steps for them in discharging their legal obligations towards consumers.
So what you should ask is: Is Valve equipped to test and make sure that every single game they allow to be sold through their distribution service work flawlessly on every imaginable system that could possibly install their client? Is that even something realistic to expect them to do - is that even a workable business model? Or is that onus better placed on the individual game developers themselves who built the damn games and know how they've been coded, what resources the games use, and hold them to make their minimum requirements accurate?
Clearly, Valve should be responsible for making sure the client itself works on all systems that meet the minimum requirements, and that the client isn't causative of any of the issues experienced, but outside of that, I'm of the persuasion that Valve/Steam should have no responsibility over the quality of the games being sold over it. If it's not working, but it's not because of the Steam client, it's has nothing to do with Valve/Steam and everything to do with the publisher/developer.
With respect to issues not causally related in this way, however, I find that as a matter of policy, as a distributor/store/marketplace, they don't have to act as a second-round of testing for the game publisher/developers. If you expect the store to do that testing, then that just completely disincentivizes game developers from running meaningful beta tests and bughunts since well, the store is going to act as your "beta testers" for you. Furthermore, Valve/Steam isn't in a good position to address these issues even. They're not in a position to rectify the underlying problems. The developer has the source code - they're the ones that can put out a patch and fix things. You could argue that they could simply refund you the product, but you've already put on the underwear. Why do people have this feeling that they're entitled
to returns/refunds? Stores offer such services
out of courtesy. There is no requirement for them to do it. There are plenty of stores, online or offline, which do not accept returns or refunds under any circumstances, often for good reason. Some stores might just give you your money back out of courtesy, but I'd hardly expect them to as a default seeing as they've done nothing wrong (the manufacturer did, not the store), and the other 5 pairs in the box are fine anyway.
Just try getting a refund on used underwear. Good luck, by the way. You'll probably need it.
Honestly, it feels like people are throwing a hissyfit because they bought a ****ty game, or have a ****ty PC, and can't get their money back. Reading reviews is too hard i like playing games on a 15-year old potato computer **** you everything has to work for me or my money back. Especially since they're going after the vendor and not what may very well be the real source of your issues...
"On June 25, 2013, BBB recognized a pattern of complaints from consumers regarding product, service and customer service issues. Consumers allege the games they purchase from Valve Corporation or Steam malfunction, do not work or have an invalid CD key. Consumers also claim the company blocks users from accessing their library of games. Consumers further allege they attempt to contact the company for assistance, but Valve Corporation fails to correct the gaming issues,
does not correct credit card charges or issue a refund, or does not respond at all.
Legitimate complaints bolded
Illegitimate complaints striked out
Possibly legitimate complaints italicized (malfunctioning/not working/failure to fix MAY
be valid if it is caused by interaction with the client, and not inherent to the game/system configuration)