Steam Now Lets You Return Games and DLC

Valve lays out its new Steam refund policy.

With seemingly no fanfare, the new refund policy went into effect today. The latest Steam client updatenotes its new integration with Steam refunds and the Steam support site, and a new page devoted to refunds has gone live.

In short, you can return most anything within 14 days of purchase for a full refund. The key restriction is that you can’t have played the game for more than two hours. In the case of DLC, you can’t have played the base game for more than two hours since buying the DLC. You also can’t have consumed or transferred the content in question.

Refunds, which can be requested through Steam’s website, will be issued within one week of approval. There’s no specific reason you’ll need to qualify; whether you don’t like the game, it goes on sale just after buying it, or it simply doesn’t run properly on your computer, you’ll be able to get a refund. If, for whatever reason, there’s an issue refunding your original payment method, the money will be added to your Steam Wallet.

This applies to pre-purchased games as well. At any point prior to release, you can request a refund. After its release, the 14 days/two hours rule applies, though it’s unclear how Valve will handle cases where you receive bonus content (say, Team Fortress 2 items) for preordering a game.

In-game purchases work differently. As long as you haven’t “consumed, modified, or transferred” the content, you can request a refund on in-game purchases made in Valve’s games within 48 hours of purchase. (That means things like level boosters are non-refundable.) Third-party developers will be able to enable refunds if they want to, but whatever they choose, you’ll be able to tell what is and isn’t refundable before buying it.

There are some other restrictions of note. Movies can’t be refunded, nor can gifts that have been redeemed by the recipient. Additionally, if you are VAC banned from a game, you’ll be ineligible to request a refund on it. Valve also offered a disclaimer regarding the use of refunds.

“Refunds are designed to remove the risk from purchasing titles on Steam–not as a way to get free games,” the website states. “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.” Previously, Valve had pushed back against laws requiring it to offer refunds in Europe, asking users towaive their rights upon purchase. This new refund policy seems like a major–and very welcome–step forward.