Steam announced today that it will start taking refund request for games bought on nearly any game for any reason. This announcement comes after many years of gamers asking for a refund policy that can help deal with the lack of consumer protection that Steam early access games have and is a welcome improvement to Steam as a whole. Steam has been under considerable pressure from consumers, as well as the EU and Australian government to change its refund policy.
In their announcement they give some example reasons for requesting a refund, “Maybe your PC doesn’t meet the hardware requirements; maybe you bought a game by mistake; maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn’t like it.” The only stipulations are that the game must have been purchased within 14 days of the request and played for less than two hours. Although Steam says that even if you fall outside of these stipulations you can still ask for a refund and they will “take a look.”
Steam will issue a refund within a week of approval of your request. The refunds will come in the form of Steam Wallet funds or the payment method you used to make the original purchase. They also say that if for some reason they are unable to refund to the original payment method you will receive the refund in Steam Wallet funds. They have a provided a list here of payment methods that will support a refund.
Steam’s refund policy of within two weeks and less than two hours played applies to games and software applications on the Steam store, they also listed other types of games (such as DLC) and how the refund policy will apply to them.
- DLC will have the same 14 day and two hour policy from the point the DLC was purchased, but only as long as the DLC has not been, “consumed, modified, or transferred.”
- Some DLC will not be refundable, such as irreversibly leveling up a game character, and these exceptions will be clearly marked as such on the Store page.
- In-game purchases on Steam will offer refunds for any Valve-developed game within 48 hours of purchase as long as the item has not been consumed, modified, or transferred. Third-party developers will have the option to use the same policy and Steam will have it clearly marked whether the developer has opted in to the refund policy for in-game items, otherwise non-Valve games will not have in-game item refunds.
- Pre-purchased games will be refundable anytime before release, and upon release will have the same 14 day and two hour refund policy on release.
- Steam Wallet funds can be refunded within 14 days, if they were purchased on Steam and have not been used yet.
- Bundles from the Steam Store will be refundable as long as none of the bundle has been transferred and if the combined usage time for all of the games in the bundle is less than two hours.
- Purchases made outside of Steam, such as CD keys and Steam Wallet cards, are not refundable.
- If you are VAC banned on a game you cannot request a refund.
- Movies are nonrefundable, and gifts cannot be refunded after they have been redeemed by the recipient.
Steam also says that it will be on the look out for people trying to abuse the new refund policy saying, “Refunds are designed to remove the risk from purchasing titles on Steam—not as a way to get free games. If it appears to us that you are abusing refunds, we may stop offering them to you. We do not consider it abuse to request a refund on a title that was purchased just before a sale and then immediately rebuying that title for the sale price.”
What are your thoughts on this new refund policy? Do you think there will be anger from Indie Devs with games on the Steam Store? Do you think people will abuse the policy or use it correctly?