For some time now people have been noticing games go up in price just before Steam sales, a practice which is normally illegal in a lot of places and known as “deceptive pricing”. Steam Spy recently posted this list of some of the offenders in the latest sales.
As an example, here is a quote from UK law: “A price used as a basis for comparison should have been your most recent price available for 28 consecutive days or more;” which is not the case. A question still remains over whether this is illegal when it comes to digital goods.
Illegal or not this is a scummy way to treat customers and there is no doubt that Valve are fully aware (given all the complaints they would have received over the years) and supportive (not doing anything about it) of the scheme. Between this, the appalling customer service and having to be forced into providing refunds I think Valve are losing their way. Fortunately, there are now quite a few alternative platforms (something I was against at first) making headway in the industry.