What is Steam and why is this a consumer issue.
Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. It is used to distribute games and related media online, from small independent developers to larger software houses; in October 2012, Valve expanded the service to include non-gaming software. Steam provides the user with installation and automatic management of software across multiple computers.
Steam, through Steamworks, provides a means of server browsing for multiplayer games that utilizes the Steam Community features, allowing users to create lobbies with friends or members of common groups. Steamworks also provides Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC), Valve's proprietary anti-cheat system, for game servers to automatically detect and report users who are using cheats in online multiplayer games.
What is VAC? Taken from Steams own website.
If a user connects to a VAC-Secured server from a computer with identifiable cheats installed, the VAC system will ban the user from playing on VAC-Secured servers in the future.
While server admins may choose to ban specific players, server admins cannot VAC ban players. The VAC system is automated - contacting Steam Support to report cheaters is not necessary, nor will Steam Support act on any information provided.
The VAC system reliably detects cheats using their cheat signatures. Any third-party modification to a game designed to give one player an advantage over another is classified as a cheat or hack and will trigger a VAC ban. This includes modifications to a game's core executable files and dynamic link libraries.
Reporting a new Cheat Also taken from the Steam website
If you know of a new cheat, especially private cheats (ones that aren't on a public website), and can provide the links or the actual binaries, please visit the SteamPowered Forums and PM (private mail) a moderator there and it will be reported to the VAC team.
So you purchased game that can only be operated through STEAM.Your happy playing your game then the next day you log to play and you have been VAC BANNNED.You can no longer play your game and you cant sell it on has the registered serial number is also banned and cannot by use by anyone else.
When you ask why this has happened. Steam will not provide any details and say they do not need to provide them.
This is an email from STEAM
Thank you for contacting Steam Support. 18 March 2013
Our system indicates that the account has been permanently banned by the Valve Anti-Cheat system (VAC) for use of cheats or other unauthorized modifications. Steam Support is unable to lift the ban.
We will not disclose the cheats which were detected, nor will we provide the date and time the infraction took place. VAC has confirmed that the ban on the account was applied legitimately.
This ban applies to a Steam account (regardless of who was using the account at the time the infraction occurred). The use and security of the Steam account is your responsibility.
If you choose to purchase a new copy of the VAC banned game(s), please create a new Steam account to register the game(s) on. This is a bog standard reply.
We have had the game since FEB and can no longer use it. NO cheating been done.
The gaming community are well aware of the problems with VAC BANS and Steam but still distribute there games through them.
As of December 2012, there are over 1860 games available through Steam and 54 million active user accounts. As of January 2013, Steam has seen over 6.6 million concurrent players.Steam has an estimated 50–70% share of the digital distribution market for video games.*
As of 2012, it is estimated that over 1.5 million Steam accounts have been banned by VAC.*
There are at least 10 known instances of the system kicking or banning for false detections. Most notably in July 2010, approximately 12,000 owners of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 were falsely banned.*
I know that lots of people have had trouble with VAC BANS but what has a consumer what can I do to take action against them. I know I spent £35 for a game that I can no longer use and obviously will not be using STEAM again.
*stats info from Wiki and internet