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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?

Kyle Downey

Staff Writer

Staff Writer looking to keep you both informed and entertained. Favorite games include: Pokemon, Overwatch, Golden Sun, Portal, and Elder Scrolls.

  • mrwizeass

    Damn. And here I was hoping I could refund ny copy of fez.

  • I’ve refunded only one game so far, Deus Ex: The Fall. But I almost had to threaten Steam to get a refund and they replied along the lines that they are doing me a favor. Game description said it has full support for mouse and keyboard. And by that they meant just the sake of being able to use them. When I tried to configure keys, I only got an IMAGE of keys I had to memorize. After my complaint, they’ve updated the description.

    This doesn’t mean I’ll just refund everything, it just means I’ll buy even more games knowing my ass is covered in case the game is such a turd that I won’t be able to play it for more than 15 minutes.

  • Typical

    So, they have removed the major thing steam haters whine about? Now what will the complaint be?

    I like the refund to get a sale price feature, that’s awesome.

  • Cytos Lpagtr

    well this is good news for consumers, i wonder what the first reason someone didnt get a refund people will make a fuss about will be.. what if you get banned cause reason that are appealed successfully, but only after the refund time expires?..

  • yeah….no
    they are directing you to steam support, not gonna even attempt it. That help.steampowered site is run by a separate body from the store.steampowered. Even if they are suppose to, I highly doubt you will get one. I got a history with steam support and I know how terrible they are, so no. unless they implement it in the account details section, like how they did with GTA V aka a button under store interaction I am not gonna even attempt it. Steam has a terrible support and I refuse to even bother with them, at all

  • SirBittle

    So since it’s over 14 days, I can’t refund games that don’t even work on my PC by the sounds. Alas. I guess the policy makes sense from what I’ve seen.

  • Wild in Wisconsin

    It’s a step in the right direction, but the pessimist in me says this is just a bit of damage control for the myriad of abysmal decisions valve has been making recently, and this is about as good as it’s going to get for the consumer before the envelope gets pushed again further down the line once everyone has forgotten and goes back to chanting Gaben is love Gaben is life.

  • chloe

    Thats awesome…but I guess its only guaranteed for valve games…I cant explain how often I wished I could send a game back after just ten minutes of playing….Some games are even worse though…where things dont get unplayable until mid game…

  • The Whitestrake

    On the bright side, all that 1 1/2 hour long indietrash won’t need to clutter up my library.

  • ParasiteX

    They still have terrible customer support tho. Unless they’ve also suddenly improved that recently.. which i highly doubt..

  • ParasiteX

    Is the great Lord Gaben feeling alright? This almost sounds… reasonable…

  • ParasiteX

    The refunds should cover all games, as long as they are purchased via the Steam store.

    It’s only in-game purchases for third party games that they can’t guarantee. Unless the 3rd party dev adopts the same refund policy.

  • Typical

    then don’t get a refund, you’re just hurting yourself.

  • Matthew Mitchum

    This is great news for anyone trying to sell a game based on quality and longevity of play, and terrible news for people who invest more in Marketing than Quality Control. ^_^

  • Ryan Juel

    Can’t hurt to ask. What’s the worst that could happen, they say no?

  • dsadsada

    They did say that even if you fall outside of their requirements, you can still send in a request and they can take a look. If the game turns unplayable midway then you might still be able to get a refund.

    Clearly there are no promises however and this could still just be lip service.

  • William Discourse

    I miss when we just called “indie” what it was — homebrew.

  • braneman

    Impressive they aren’t forcing you to refund it back to the steam wallet. If they actually bothered to stop their storefront from becoming the next low quality app store riddled with stolen content and cheap ripoffs I might actually look into buying something from them again if there were other options available.