Returning video games for a refund has always been problematic since publishers want to prevent buyers from playing the game and simply returning it. This is why many retailers will only take returns if the game is still sealed.
However, digital games are a little more complicated. Fortunately, you can refund games on Steam for a full refund.
You can refund nearly any game for a refund as long as you’ve played it less than two hours, and you are within 14 days of purchase. The reason for the refund can be anything from the game not running properly on your computer to simply not liking it.
Best of all, getting a refund is easy and only takes a few minutes with the 8 steps outlined below. Let’s get your money back!
Step 1: Launch Steam
To get a refund on Steam, you need to start by opening the application. Find Steam on your computer and open it. Then, log in with your username and password if prompted.
Alternatively, you can get a refund for Steam games through a web browser by visiting the Steam website help section here and logging in.
Step 2: Go to Steam Support
Now that Steam is open and running, click on the Help button at the top of the page.
On the newly opened dropdown menu, select Steam Support. This is where you can access all of your purchases and get help with hardware and software issues.
Step 3: View Purchases
If you just purchased the game you wish to refund, it should appear at the top of the Steam Support page. You can click on the game here and proceed to step 5.
However, if you have purchased numerous games, you will need to view all owned games by clicking Purchases and then View Complete Purchasing History.
Step 4: Choose a Game to Return
Finding a game can be pretty confusing once you open the list of purchases. All of your purchases are in order from most recent to oldest. However, games are bundled into transactions, so you must look closely at the list of games included in each purchase.
Once you’ve found it, click on it to open the transaction, and then click on the individual game on the next page.
Step 5: Click “I Would Like a Refund”
After selecting a game, you are brought to a page with the transaction details, which breaks down the exact cost for that game.
Below the transaction details are a few support options where you need to click I would like a refund.
Keep in mind this will only return the game you’ve selected and not all of the games in the original transaction.
Step 6: Consider Technical Support
The next page allows you to reach out for support before requesting a refund. You will receive some troubleshooting guides to help get your game working and the option to contact technical support.
If you don’t want to go this route, or none of the troubleshooting steps work, click I’d like to request a refund.
Step 7: Select How to Receive Your Refund
You should now see a breakdown of the game and any DLC or bundled content that Steam will remove alongside the refund amount. Below is a menu where you must select the reason for the return. Additionally, be sure to briefly explain the reason in the dialog box.
Remember, Steam may base your return eligibility on the reason you provide.
Step 8: Submit the Return Request
Lastly, click the Submit button at the bottom of the page to finalize your request.
After submitting, you should keep an eye out for an email with an update. The games will be gone from your library, and you will no longer have access to them.
Steam will send a message once they’ve made a decision on your refund. Also, be sure to check your bank statements to ensure the refund went through.
Background on Steam Refunds
Steam did not accept returns on games for many years, which was the industry standard with both digital and physical media sales. But that changed in June 2015 when the company created an official policy that stipulates when games can be returned for a full refund. This was largely in response to other PC game distribution platforms like Origin creating similar policies.
While Steam’s official stance prior was that they did not provide refunds, many gamers were able to successfully get one.
However, refunds were only issued in cases where the game did not work on the buyer’s computer or there was a major problem with the game. Each case was reviewed by a live person at Valve, which means you could get a different result depending on who reviewed your case.
When Can You Return a Game with Steam?
Steam has a very simple return policy that lets game purchasers get a full refund for any reason. You have up to 14 days to request a refund from the date that you placed the order. Pre-ordered titles are eligible from their date of release. Additionally, you must have played the game for less than two hours.
If you have played a game for over two hours or purchased it more than 14 days ago, then it is not eligible for a refund. The same stipulations apply to DLC, but refunds for in-game purchases must be requested within 48 hours of purchase.
If you are not eligible based on the criteria above, try to submit a refund request and explain the reason, as Valve is often lenient for legitimate problems.
Steam Hardware Returns
Steam’s hardware return policy states you can request a refund up to 14 days after receiving your order. To request a refund on hardware, follow the same steps above and select the device from the list of purchases.
After requesting a refund, Steam will provide a return merchandise authorization (RMA) and a pre-paid label to send the device back. Unlike digital purchases, refunds are sent to the original payment method used. Just bring the package to the carrier listed on the return label, and be sure to get a receipt when you drop it off.
In addition to a 14-day return policy, most Steam hardware has a 12-month warranty.
As you’ve seen, it is pretty easy to refund games on Steam. But to avoid refunds in the future, always check the minimum system requirements and reviews. Also, try out a game as soon as possible, and if problems arise, search for help before you rack up playtime.
Don’t panic if your request is not confirmed right away, as it can take up to seven days for approval.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Esa Riutta/Shutterstock.com.