Remember when Australia took Valve to court over its refund policy? Turns out we weren’t the only ones – Europe also had issues with the way Steam purchases skirted the law. Now though, while we haven’t heard anything from the lawsuit, we have heard something from Valve, who has released a major update to its refund policy.
Now, customers are offered a refund for “nearly any purchase on Steam”, for just about any reason.
Maybe your PC doesn’t meet the hardware requirements; maybe you bought a game by mistake; maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn’t like it.
The key thing there, of course, is “an hour”. Valve is offering refunds on all games as long as you’ve played it for less than two hours, and the request is made within fourteen days of purchase. If you’ve played it for longer – or owned it for longer and only now realised it doesn’t work – you’re still in a position where you can ask for a refund, with the company promising to “take a look” at your situation.
You will be issued a full refund of your purchase within a week of approval. You will receive the refund in Steam Wallet funds or through the same payment method you used to make the purchase. If, for any reason, Steam is unable to issue a refund via your initial payment method, your Steam Wallet will be credited the full amount. (Some payment methods available through Steam in your country may not support refunding a purchase back to the original payment method.)
The new shiny refund policy includes information about whether you’re able to get refunds on DLC (sometimes), in-game purchases (within a certain timeframe), pre-purchased titles (yes, before release) and even Steam Wallet purchases (yep, as long as you’ve not spent any of the money). There are also ways to refund games contained in bundles, but if you’re looking to Valve to get your money back on a game you bought somewhere other than Steam, you should probably keep looking. The company also will not refund movie purchases, or money you’ve spent on gifts once they’ve been redeemed by the recipient, and warns that some titles may still be clearly marked as “nonrefundable”.
Somewhat predictably, if you’ve been VAC banned from any game – no matter how long you’ve owned it or how long you’ve played it – you won’t be able to get a refund. Sometimes, common sense really does prevail.
If you want to chase up a refund (just because it’s possible doesn’t mean there won’t be a few hoops to jump through), you need to head to the Steam Support page and follow the prompts.
As for the ACCC‘s legal battle with Valve, we’re told that nothing much has progressed yet. There was a first directions hearing on 7 October 2014, and several more directions hearings since, but the case itself will not go before a judge until July 28 this year. An ACCC spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, as it is currently in front of the courts.