Steam, banning players for being generous?

Amishdemon

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Jun 3, 2009
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my advice is don't try and cheat valve out of money just go somewhere else. Valve is a powerful force you wouldn't like them when their angry.
 

Weslebear

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Dec 9, 2009
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That is kind of ridiculous, I suppose they count it as importing without import tax but Steam should really make it clearer in the ToS because I can imagine a fair amount of people will do this and get banned.

Shudder, the thought of losing access to my Steam games, not cool bro.
 

Aeon_COR

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Mar 1, 2010
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I have a second steam account that I set up while using a VPN (virtual private network) in the US, I no longer use said VPN but because I created the account while it was active it counts as a US account and I get US prices on it. Whenever a publisher artificially inflates the price of a game for me, I buy it with the other account and gift it to my main account.

P.S. the publishers reason for inflating prices is "so as to not drive brick and mortar stores out of business" BULLSHlT that is the goal of any business to put their competitors out of business.
And those same publishers are the ones who inflate the prices for the physical game, their reason for this? despite many people asking no answer has been given.


Edit: I just tested my second account since it has been a while, and steam now sets region on log in instead of on account creation, but I activated Hotspot sheild and then logged in, and I can still get US pricing
 

Antari

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Nov 4, 2009
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Weslebear said:
That is kind of ridiculous, I suppose they count it as importing without import tax but Steam should really make it clearer in the ToS because I can imagine a fair amount of people will do this and get banned.

Shudder, the thought of losing access to my Steam games, not cool bro.
Its more in the number of people he was doing it with and the frequency at which he was doing it. Anyone could have figured it out that they weren't just gifts. There are clauses in most taxes to account for gifts. But at a certain point they can no longer be considered gifts, and become taxable.
 

Trolldor

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Jan 20, 2011
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You don't lose access to your steam games. Steam can't stop you from playing them so long as you've legally purchased them.

The point is that he is breaking the law by subverting tax laws, and Steam can not allow it to happen if they know of it because they then become complicit in the act, they are as equally responsible for breaking the law.
 

willsham45

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Apr 14, 2009
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Trolldor said:
willsham45 said:
He is not doing anything wrong and if there is nothing in the terms and conditions then it should be fine, I would also point the blame on steam for allowing people to gift to other regions.
Gifting is fine.

Subverting tax laws by gifting people and having them pay you the equivalent is not.
Its a grey area, a loop whole, in this time when everything is getting dearer this is a way to legally get something cheaper without waiting for sales. Also all the relivent tax is payed for in the transaction, and you got to admit it is better than downloading the game for free.

Its is the same as me going over to France and picking up cheap boose and fags to bring back, or me picking up the goods for someone else, both are legal and fine as long as you are within your limits for going over the border this is essentially the same but without the travelling.
 

Staskala

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Sep 28, 2010
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VAT also applies to electronical commerce, so I honestly don't get the problem.

In fact, it rises questions about the legitimate way of using the gift system:
When gifting a foreign steam user, does Valve pay the VAT?
The American user pays the American price and a European user gets the game for free, so where does the VAT go?
Unless I'm missing something it has to be paid by the distributor.

If so, the ban is not only legally but also morally justified, since Valve would have to pay for your "generousity".
 

TiefBlau

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Apr 16, 2009
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Sgt. Sykes said:
It's also sad/funny that this is a US company screwing up Europeans.

Guess what European companies do? Well, look at gog.com. That's Polish.

Yep, Europe rules.
And I'll be sure to go there to see their widely diverse video gaming experience composed of adventure games and older adventure games.

Won't matter though, because they'll still "screw me up" if I tamper with international commerce laws, which this guy did.
 

FarleShadow

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Oct 31, 2008
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Staskala said:
VAT also applies to electronical commerce, so I honestly don't get the problem.

In fact, it rises questions about the legitimate way of using the gift system:
When gifting a foreign steam user, does Valve pay the VAT?
The American user pays the American price and a European user gets the game for free, so where does the VAT go?
Unless I'm missing something it has to be paid by the distributor.

If so, the ban is not only legally but also morally justified, since Valve would have to pay for your "generousity".
The way I figure the 'gift' system is thus:

If I give you a physical present from the US to the UK, the Governmint makes no money but since the chance of you doing that is pretty close to 0.01, the tax money isn't worth the arsing (Although most governments pride themselves on being the arses on an arse with arsefever).

Online shit, like piracy, is fairly easy (Aside from the dicking about of viruses), so people do it alot, alot tends to translate into alot of dem monies when you take 20% of every transaction. So governments crack down on it, because they're dicks.
 

Chibz

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Sep 12, 2008
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Staskala said:
VAT also applies to electronical commerce, so I honestly don't get the problem.

In fact, it rises questions about the legitimate way of using the gift system:
When gifting a foreign steam user, does Valve pay the VAT?
The American user pays the American price and a European user gets the game for free, so where does the VAT go?
Unless I'm missing something it has to be paid by the distributor.

If so, the ban is not only legally but also morally justified, since Valve would have to pay for your "generousity".
If that's the case, then why don't they simply ban gifting overseas entirely? It's rather obvious that no tax is being collected on this. It's just them overcharging people overseas.

It's just like people in canuckistan getting 200 fewer Microsoft Jewgolds per $20. We (often) pay tax on this, too. It's just them ripping us off.
 

Zer_

Rocket Scientist
Feb 7, 2008
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Staskala said:
VAT also applies to electronical commerce, so I honestly don't get the problem.

In fact, it rises questions about the legitimate way of using the gift system:
When gifting a foreign steam user, does Valve pay the VAT?
The American user pays the American price and a European user gets the game for free, so where does the VAT go?
Unless I'm missing something it has to be paid by the distributor.

If so, the ban is not only legally but also morally justified, since Valve would have to pay for your "generousity".
Do you pay the VAT when purchasing something in the US and then mailing it to someone in the EU? Didn't think so, you're only paying import fees.

I may not like how digital goods are treated the same as tangible goods when it comes to taxes, but it's how things work, and the law is pretty clear. I will admit that Valve could do a bit better in informing customers about gifting and the restrictions that surround it.

Still, the guy in the OP is definitely in the wrong.
 

Fleischer

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Jan 8, 2011
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Freemon said:
this all sounds like crap since I've done this before.

And before doing it i actually contacted Steam support to know if there would be an issue in purchasing games to send to US friends and vice versa. Steam support told me there is no problem in that whatsoever. I've done it countless times and so have friends in the US done it for me and more people in the EU.

I got around 80 games on steam. around 20 were gifts from the same guy in the US and he still has his account.

This story doesn't look very real.
The difference between your situation and amergift's situation is that your involve gifting and his involves reselling gifts. We can reasonably assume that Value went after amergift due to the fact amergift was receiving payments for his "gifts."
 

Elijin

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May 10, 2020
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Lots of people seem to be missing the fact he wasnt gifting steam products, he was re-selling them. Which is a violation of the TOS.
 

Zer_

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Feb 7, 2008
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Chibz said:
Staskala said:
VAT also applies to electronical commerce, so I honestly don't get the problem.

In fact, it rises questions about the legitimate way of using the gift system:
When gifting a foreign steam user, does Valve pay the VAT?
The American user pays the American price and a European user gets the game for free, so where does the VAT go?
Unless I'm missing something it has to be paid by the distributor.

If so, the ban is not only legally but also morally justified, since Valve would have to pay for your "generousity".
If that's the case, then why don't they simply ban gifting overseas entirely? It's rather obvious that no tax is being collected on this. It's just them overcharging people overseas.

It's just like people in canuckistan getting 200 fewer Microsoft Jewgolds per $20. We (often) pay tax on this, too. It's just them ripping us off.
Valve's mantra has for the most part been to avoid punishing legitimate customers based off of the actions of a few self righteous wankers. I bought Magicka for a fellow Escapist member overseas, and I'm glad I did it. It's a fun little game.

Whether or not Valve is overcharging people overseas is unclear. The most logical standpoint is that publishers and developers determine the prices for the products sold on Steam. These prices then have any local taxes and import fees applied to them according to local laws found throughout the world's countries.
 

Fleischer

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Jan 8, 2011
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Sgt. Sykes said:
If this was with retail copies, or just about any physical merchandise or even services, this would be 100% legal.

But, EULAs, licenses, digital distributions and Steam. There you have it.
Incorrect. If you transfer goods from one region - whether it be a state in a nation or internationally, and you sell those goods to another entity, you are legally bound to collect the tax appropriate value of the goods and then deliver that money to the government. It doesn't matter whether you are working with physical merchandise or digital licenses. In either case, you would be committing tax evasion.
 

theultimateend

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Blue_vision said:
Not so much "being generous" as deliberately trying to cheat the system. Valve and the publisher may still be making money off of it, but that's like jacking someone's car, but leaving them $10.
No it isn't...at all...

I have to stretch my imagination pretty far just to make that leap.

And even then I'd still be wrong.
 

Gudrests

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Mar 29, 2010
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well...they could just make it so you cant gift to other countries....that would solve the problem.
 

Fleischer

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Jan 8, 2011
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willsham45 said:
He is not doing anything wrong and if there is nothing in the terms and conditions then it should be fine, I would also point the blame on steam for allowing people to gift to other regions.
From the "Charges to Your Credit Card" section of the Steam Terms of Service:

If your use of Steam is subject to any type of use or sales tax, then Valve may also charge you for any such taxes, in addition to the Subscription or other fees published in the Rules of Use. The European Union VAT ( ?VAT ?) tax amounts collected by Valve reflect VAT due on the value of any Software or Subscription as well as import VAT collected which is to be paid to the tax authorities for the importation of Merchandise.
amergift gifted the game, and then received payments for these "gifted" games. He created a system where people could avoid their government's taxes. In doing this, he committed a crime.