Tips to get your money back

Steam is a fantastic digital platform to buy your PC games on for various different reasons. One of these is because Valve gives you the option to refund a game, even if you’ve played some of it.

If you’ve ever bought a game via Steam and then had post-purchase regret because it was broken, buggy or just didn’t live up to the hype then this is the feature for you.

Steam’s refund policy is also wonderfully forgiving as it lets you play up to two hours of a game and still be able to get a refund on it. There are some requirements you need to meet though, so follow our guide to find out more on how to refund a game on Steam and get your money back.

Steam’s refund policy requirements

There are some things to keep in mind before you try to request a refund on Steam. It’s theoretically possible to submit a request for any game that you’ve bought on Steam, as long as you purchased it less than 14 days ago and haven’t played more than two hours.

So there’s no point in trying to request a refund for games you bought a couple of years ago and never played. They’ll forever be part of your Steam library.

However, Steam does say that it will still consider some requests even if they don’t meet those requirements, depending on the reasons.

Request a Steam refund with care

It is worth noting that although Valve is pretty relaxed about Steam refunds you can still be denied a game refund request if the company suspects that you are abusing the system.

So don’t go requesting refunds constantly or trying to use the system to speedrun games and then ask for a refund. Your right to ask Steam for a refund may then be revoked and you won’t be able to do it in future.

Can you refund DLC and in-game content on Steam?

As well as Steam games, it’s also possible to refund other things including downloadable content and in-game items.

As with games, you have a 14-day window to request a refund on DLC as long as you’ve not played the game it relates to for more than two hours since the DLC purchase.

There are some exceptions to this though, like if the DLC completely changes the game in a way that cannot be reversed.

For in-game content, the policies are a little different. If it’s a Valve-developed game then you usually have 48 hours to request a refund on in-game purchases as long as the purchase hasn’t been modified, used or transferred. Games from other developers may be different.

What if you’ve been banned?

Valve has a strict policy against banned players getting refunds on Steam. If you’ve got a VAC ban (the Valve Anti-Cheat system) on your account or on a particular game then you won’t be able to get a refund on that game.

Can you refund gifted games on Steam?

If someone else has bought you a game via Steam and sent it as a gift but you hate it or can’t play it for some reason then there’s more good news.

It is possible to refund a gifted game through Steam. You need to meet the same requirements first – i.e. not having played it for more than two hours and having it in your account for less than 14 days but if that’s so then you can ask Steam for a refund.

If you request a refund on a game that a friend has purchased for you then the funds will return to their account when the refund is processed.

What about discounted games?

Another good feature of Steam’s refund policy is that it also works around sale periods. So if you bought a game before a Steam sale, without realising that was about to happen and now it’s significantly discounted don’t worry you can still refund.

As long as you meet the usual requirements Valve says that you can request a refund for the full price of the game that you purchased and then buy it again at the discounted price.

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How to request a refund for a game on Steam

In order to request a refund for a Steam game you just need to follow a few different steps:

  1. Open up Steam and click the help menu on the top left of the program
  2. Click on Steam Support
  3. Find the game you want to refund under “recent products” or click on “games and applications” to see more games
  4. Click on the game you’d like to get a refund on
  5. Then select the reason you want a refund
  6. Choose how you’d like a refund
  7. Select either to refund into your Steam wallet or directly to the original payment method you used

When trying to refund a game you’ll find a number of different options you can select as the reason.

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These include:

  • Gameplay or technical issues
  • DLC or bonus content is missing
  • I’m having trouble with my retail CD key
  • It’s not what I expected
  • I purchased this by accident
  • I want to permanently remove this game from my account

Gameplay and technical issues, purchasing by accident and “it’s not what I expected” are often seen as the most likely reason to request and receive a refund.

If you’ve selected one of the reasons and have a chance to say why you want a refund then we recommend doing so. Especially if there’s a problem with the game with bugs or issues that might be a legitimate complaint that others are having too.

If you’re not on the PC you have Steam installed on, don’t worry as you can carry out the refund request in another way too. Just head over to the Steam Support site, log in there and then follow the same steps.

Once you’ve submitted the request all you have to do is wait. Your request will need to be checked and Valve says that the approval process can take up to seven days. You should get an email when it is complete.

Can you request a refund for games bought elsewhere?

You might be wondering if it’s possible to request a refund for games you’ve purchased on another site. Steam allows users to redeem codes purchased elsewhere to add the games to their Steam library.

Historically this was used for CD/DVD keys where you had a physical copy of a game and wanted to add it to Steam. But in recent years you have the option to purchase games from the likes of Green Man Gaming, Humble Bundle, Fanatical or other sites. These can then be redeemed on Steam. This can sometimes be a good way to grab a bargain with discounted keys or bundles making games more affordable. But can you refund these sorts of purchases via Steam? In short, no. If you need a refund here you’ll have to contact the relevant site you purchased the key from.

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