Steam game purchases can now be refunded within 14 days

Valve's Steam service is the single biggest outlet for purchasing Windows-based PC games. Today, Valve introduced a new refund policy that should make it easier for Steam users to get their money back for games and software they no longer want.

Valve says it will issue refunds "for any reason" for games and software if a request is sent in within 14 days of the initial purchase and if the title has been played for less than two hours. The refund policy also extends to DLC packs for the most part, although Valve adds:

"Please note that in some cases, Steam will be unable to give refunds for some third party DLC (for example, if the DLC irreversibly levels up a game character). These exceptions will be clearly marked as nonrefundable on the Store page prior to purchase."

In-game purchases can also be refunded if the request is put in within 48 hours after they are bought but there will be some restrictions. Valve says:

"Third-party developers will have the option to enable refunds for in-game items on these terms. Steam will tell you at the time of purchase if the game developer has opted to offer refunds on the in-game item you are buying. Otherwise, in-game purchases in non-Valve games are not refundable through Steam."

Refund requests will also be honored within 14 days for all pre-purchased games and software on Steam, along with Steam Wallet funds and bundles. Any games not purchased on Steam, such as CD keys or Steam wallet cards sold via third-parties, are not eligible for refunds. That also goes for any movies or gifts. Finally, if a user is banned from playing a game on Steam, they cannot receive a refund on that game.

Source: Valve

John Callaham
  • About time. Good.
  • Good! I've had so many poor experiences with legacy games on steam.
  • Damn... too late for a couple of bad games I have.
  • Well it also works with games that don't run or you don't like. I sent one in for GTA 5 that wouldn't work on my computer for some reason
  • And suddenly origin is worse again
  • In many ways. However, Origin doesn't have a game play time limit, which means you can play more than 2 hours and still return it, so long as it's within the 7 days of when it was purchased.
  • If you think about it, the game time limit is a good thing. It will cull the people that buy the game, blast through it in less than 2 weeks and get a refund. I'd rather see something that ensures the requests are legit, such as a totally broken game or the game is nothing like what it promises.
  • Yeah, I re-read Origin's, and it's actually within 24 hours of when the game was first launched within the refund period (7 days), or 72 hours if it is within 30 days of a game's release and you have technical problems.
  • Awesome, I'd love this to become a digital standard. Excessive complaining to add, two hours is pretty short. Even with The Evil Within, it took me longer than that to figure out I didn't like it. This seems to be more about dealing with broken titles, such as Unity, rather than mediocre ones.
  • I don't think it's about you liking or not liking the game, I think it has more to do with the game outright just not working correctly.  Some big titles recently had issues with game ridden bugs and crashes.   I think Steam should also look into some kind of a system scan thing that would notify users to update their video card drivers if they're out of date by more than a year or so.
  • I think it's 'for any reason'. Did you not spot that gem? Very sensible, because now we can just spend and return if crap. We don't need to think as long = more profit for Valve. The 2h thing is a mistake though. Allow 24h and it won't feel like you need to rush to judgement and so would be more likely to keep a game. I suspect they will tweak that factor at some point.
  • Couple of things to note in your comment: It's not about missing what the article said. We know it says, "for any reason." It's about reading between the lines and asking why Valve has adopted this policy. I believe it's because of disgruntled buyers who got broken games, in the veins of Halo: TMCC, BF4, AC: U, and others. I think the idea that some people get buyer's remorse with a game over liking it was less of a factor than serious complaints about Valve's selling of non-refundable games that are broken, even though buyers often have little-to-no way of verifying the degree to which those titles are broken without firing it up (such as when a game has issues specific to one GPU manufacturer's drivers). As to the timer, I don't like it, but I get it. In 24 hours, there is a huge number of games you could finish, some multiple times over. If you gave me 24 hours to play and return a game for a full refund, I could have easily torn through the CoD: AW and Sunset Overdrive campaigns in their entirety in 24 hours of gameplay. On the other hand, though this applies to Xbox One, not Steam, it took much longer than two hours of playing before my friend and I had severe online co-op issues with Halo: TMCC that caused us to take a long break from playing the game. It's hard to pick a number than works at random, because you don't want to allow returns in a time frame peopel could outright beat and return the game without financial ramifications, but you want people to have time to verify a product's quality, I suppose. That's much easier with a long-term hardware investment than something like a video game, where it might only last a month in a person's possession before it gets traded in (for me, that was true with Advanced Warfare, Sunset Overdrive, Shadow of Mordor, Watch Dogs, The Evil Within, and Dying Light, plus probably a few others). I think my choice of timer would be something like EA Access' 6-hour timer, as most meaningful single-player experiences aren't going to be beaten that quickly, but you can get a strong indication of what you think with a game by then.
  • Valve would be insane to allow gamers to play a game for up to 24 hours over 14 days before deciding they want a refund. Two hours is plenty of time to make an informed decision if a game is worth continuing.
  • See, I disagree that 2 hours is long enough. Many games, RPGs in particular, barely get your feet wet in 2 hours. I thought The Evil Within had potential during the first couple of hours, but it was probably not unstil I was 8-12 hours in that I finally realized it was a poorly paced game with poor storytelling throughout. Same for Destiny, it was probably 6+ hours before I realized it was just incredibly shallow and redundant, even in the beta. Even with a broken game, it can take a lot longer than 2 hours to encounter major bugs (Dying Light had a save bug that took some folks 10+ hours to experience, and I played KotOR for 14 horus before my save corrupted on that, back on the original Xbox).
  • Wish this was a thing back when I bought citiesXL
  • This is old news, I've refunded games in the past multiple times....
  • Yes, but now you can do it simply because you don't like the colour of the hero's outfit.
  • Finally, now terrible developers wont keep money for games that are awful
  • Finally, now terrible purchasers will actually read reviews before buying a game that is "awful"?
  • World must be ending!  
  • Wow neat. This wouldn't have been such a problem if they had demos but this is even better.
  • That's awesome! Long live Steam on Windows!
  • Nice
  • Woulda come in handy for me when X Wing Alliance wound up being a dud for me.
  • All hail Gabe!!!