Valve has announced a new refund system for Steam, which will allow users to request a refund for nearly any purchase on the digital distribution service. EA Origin has already been offering a similar policy on refunds for quite some time now. It’s great, then, to see Valve follow suit and make game purchases a more friendly experience for consumers.
Thankfully, there’s no policy on providing a plausible reason for the refund. As long as you make your request within 2 weeks of owning a game and having played it for 2 hours or less, the amount you spent will be transferred back to your Steam wallet.
This does not, however, mean that the system can be abused. Users will not have the luxury of treating the 2 hours worth of free play time as a demo, as Valve has made it clear that such practices will count towards abuse of the system. What frequency of refunds would exactly equate to an abuse of the system is unknown at this point, but it’s unlikely that Valve would reveal a set limit.
In addition, gifts and purchases made outside of steam, such as CD keys or Steam wallet cards purchased from third parties, will not be entertained for refunds by Valve.
A full guideline for cases where refunds apply can be seen below.
Refunds on Downloadable Content
(Steam store content usable within another game or software application, “DLC”)
DLC purchased from the Steam store is refundable within fourteen days of purchase, and if the underlying title has been played for less than two hours since the DLC was purchased, so long as the DLC has not been consumed, modified or transferred. 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.
Refunds on In-game Purchases
Steam will offer refund for in-game purchases within any Valve-developed games within forty-eight hours of purchase, so long as the in-game item has not been consumed, modified or transferred. 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.
Refunds on Pre-Purchased Titles
When you pre-purchase a title on Steam (and have paid for the title in advance), you can request a refund at any time prior to release of that title. The standard 14-day/two-hour refund period also applies, starting on the game’s release date.
Steam Wallet Refunds
You may request a refund for Steam Wallet funds within fourteen days of purchase if they were purchased on Steam and if you have not used any of those funds.
Refunds on Bundles
You can receive a full refund for any bundle purchased on the Steam Store, so long as none of the items in the bundle have been transferred, and if the combined usage time for all items in the bundle is less than two hours. If a bundle includes an in-game item or DLC that is not refundable, Steam will tell you if the whole bundle is refundable during check-out.
Purchases Made Outside of Steam
Valve cannot provide refunds for purchases made outside of Steam (for example, CD keys or Steam wallet cards purchased from third parties).
If you have been banned by VAC (the Valve Anti-Cheat system) on a game, you lose the right to refund that game.
We are unable to offer refunds for movies on Steam.
Refunds on Gifts
We are unable to offer refunds for gifts after they have been redeemed by the recipient.
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.
If you’re eligible for a refund and you recently got a game that you don’t want, you can get further assistance at help.steampowered.com.
Let us know what you think about Valve’s new consumer-friendly policy in the comments below.