Steam 101: This is how to refund a game on the Steam Store

Nick Johnson • December 27, 17:22

Steam has a generous refund policy, but how can players use it to actually get their money back from Valve’s Steam Store?

Play enough games and most people will eventually buy a game that they don’t like. Luckily, Steam isn’t like a physical store. And while most video game retailers won’t refund a video game once it’s been opened, Steam’s ability to tell which account a game belongs to and for how long it’s been played allows it to offer refunds as long as players haven’t hit two major milestones during their time with the game. Before players request a refund on Steam, there are two things they should check.

Steam offers players garunteed refunds on games that have been purchased in the past 14 days and have been played for less than two hours. Anything over that, and the process is the same, but Valve doesn’t garuntee that they will accept the refund request.

How do you refund a game on Steam?

Step 1: Check the game’s playtime and purchase date

Steam generally doesn’t allow refunds if players have owned it for more than 14 days or played it for more than two hours. As long as a player hasn’t passed either of those milestones, Steam will refund the game within seven days. If a user has hit either one of the two cutoff points, Valve suggests that players follow the same process detailed below to submit a refund request and try their luck anyway.

Step 2. Refunding games from the Steam Client

Players should start by clicking on their name and icon in the upper right corner of the Steam cleint and selecting “Account Details.” 

On the following screen, players should click “Purchase History” in the first section as shown in 2A before clicking on an eligible game in their history as shown in 2B. Users can follow the same process on Steam’s website, help.steampowered.com, or through the Steam Mobile application.

Step 3. Choose a Steam refund method

Steam will run a check to see whether or not the selected game is eligible for its immediate refund policy. If it is, players will see “Choose a refund method” and be able to select the payment method where they would like to receive the refund. For example, if a user paid part of the game’s cost from their Steam Wallet and put the rest on a credit or debit card, they’ll be able to select either one for their refund. If only a credit or debit card was used, players will still be able to receive the refund in their Steam Wallet if they so choose.

How quickly will Steam refund the game?

Steam says that it can take anywhere from seven to 14 days, but it often takes just a few hours for a refund to go through Steam’s system. This system makes it very easy for players to refund games, especially if they act quickly after purchase.

What should you do if a game isn’t eligible for Steam’s  guaranteed refund program?

If the game is not eligible for the guaranteed refund, don’t worry. Players still have the chance to continue with the process and have their request manually reviewed by someone from Valve. Simply finish the process  and fill out the final form with the reason why a user is asking for a refund. 

That said, Valve reserves the right to prevent users from using the refund system if they feel like the player is abusing it. As a general rule, if someone feels like they’ve used Steam’s refund service too much, then they probably have. But asking for a refund doesn’t happen too often for most users, so it’s unlikely that many will run into that issue.

Can you refund a game to take advantage of a Steam Sale?

Yes. Valve says it has no problem with users choosing to refund a game within the two week and two hour ranges in order to take advantage of a sudden sale. That means that users shouldn’t be afraid to grab a game that might go on sale during one of Steam’s many sales. As long as users stay below the limits described, Valve will issue the refund so that users can buy the game again at its newly reduced sale price. Note that it can still technically take up to seven days for users to see their refund, so users should be careful if they plan on using that credit to purchase the same game while it’s on sale.

Valve’s Steam refund policy is very forgiving even with the two hour playtime limit, and that’s more than enough time for most users to see if they enjoy a game. So players shouldn’t be afraid to take advantage of Valve’s offer, especially if they aren’t having fun with the game they paid for.

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