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Guide: How to Get a Refund on Steam

Written by: Glenn R. Onassis
Steam Refund

Steam has shot to fame not only because of making digital video game purchases convenient but also because it has a very user-friendly refund policy. You can request a refund on almost any purchase – for any reason. Perhaps you forgot to read the system requirements for a game, bought it by mistake, or just didn’t like the gameplay. If you make the request within the refund period, you will get your money back. No questions asked.

Steam’s Refund Rules & Return Policy for Games and Subscriptions

Before we get into how to request a steam refund, you need to understand the refund policy. Usually, steam software is refundable within two weeks of purchase as long as they have a playtime of fewer than two hours, but not always. Let’s get into the specifics.

  • Video Games and DLCs. All video games and DLCs are refundable within fourteen days of purchase, provided they haven’t been played for more than two hours. With DLCs, another condition is that it has not been modified or transferred. If you buy DLC from a third party (such as Titania Prime: Spellbind DLC), Steam cannot give you a refund. Normally, these exceptions are marked as non-refundable before purchase.
  • In-Game Purchases. For all the Valve-developed video games like DOTA 2, the in-game purchases have a forty-eight hours refund window, as long as the item hasn’t been used, modified, or transferred. For instance, you can return “Tranquil Boots” or “Blink Dagger” within2 days of purchase, provided you didn’t use them while playing. Third-party game developers can disable refunds on their in-game items, so you will not get a refund through Steam. This is usually made clear at the time of purchase.
  • Pre-purchased Titles. Refunds on pre-purchases are a different ball game altogether. You can get a refund for any advanced purchase any time before the release. The typical fourteen days and two-hour playable time refund rule come into play only after the game’s release date.
  • Gifted Games. Like regular video games, getting a refund on a gifted game through Steam is possible. You will need to meet the same eligibility requirements first, i.e., having it in your account for less than two weeks and playtime of fewer than two hours. However, keep in mind that if a friend gifts you a game and you ask for a refund, the funds will return to your friend’s account, not yours.
  • Renewable Subscriptions. Steam provides periodic access to some content and services via various “Recurring Subscriptions”. For example, the “EA Play” subscription gives exclusive access to the latest EA games, rewards, etc. In case you haven’t used the service during a particular billing cycle, you can get a refund within forty-eight hours of any automatic renewal. As for content, the refund request remains valid if the included benefits haven’t been used, modified, or transferred.

What About Discounted Games and Discount Bundles?

Another excellent feature of Steam’s refund policy is that it applies around the sale seasons. For instance, you can still get a refund if you bought an expensive game before a sale went live, not knowing that it was going on a discount very soon. As long as you fulfill the usual requirements, you can request a refund for the full price and then buy it again at the discounted price.

Also, you can get a full refund on a bundle if none of its items have been transferred and their combined usage time is less than two hours. However, sometimes these discount bundles are non-refundable, especially if they include a particular non-refundable in-game item or DLC. In that case, Steam notifies the policy during your checkout.

Refund Policy for the Steam Deck and Other Hardware

Like a retail store, Steam allows users to cancel any hardware purchase order. So, if you buy a Steam Deck or HTC VIVE Pro 2, you can apply for a refund within fourteen days of delivery. Of course, this return program becomes invalid if the hardware has been modified to no longer retain its new condition. In that case, you may be liable for the damages before getting the refund.

Steam Deck Refund Policy

Important Note: These are not hard and fast rules. If your purchase doesn’t meet any of the requirements above, you can STILL ask for a refund, and Steam will consider your request. In fact, if your refund request gets declined the first time, we suggest requesting again to have it reviewed by another customer care employee. One of our examples was a game that was purchased years ago, although it’s out of the 14 day window, we can still request a refund for it if we have a legit reason behind it:

Steam Refund Policy Window

How to Refund a Game on Steam

You can get your money if your purchase fulfills the requirements above. Here’s how to proceed if you’re on your Steam PC or the Steam Deck:

  1. Open up your Steam account and click on the help menu in the top left corner of the screen.
  2. Click on Steam Support
  3. Find the game you want to refund via the “Purchases” option from the menu (It will show your purchase history)
  4. Click on the particular purchase you want to refund. If your purchase is missing from the list, it falls outside Steam’s refund window, hence ineligible for the refund.
  5. Next, select your reason for requesting a refund and click “I’d like to request a refund.”
  6. From the dropdown menu, choose how you want to receive the payment.
  7. Fill out the rest of the Request Form and submit it.

how to refund a game on steam

If You Are Not On Your Steam Device, go to the Steam Support page and “Sign In to Steam” with your login credentials. Once you log in, follow the same instructions we gave above to get the refund.

If everything goes well, you will receive a confirmation email from Steam. Once your refund request has been accepted, it can take up to seven days to receive the payment in your steam wallet or bank account. However, refunds to international payment methods can take even longer.

A Few Words On Reasons To Get A Refund

While trying to refund a game, you will come across several options (Step 5) that you can select as the reason. Some of them are:

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

The top three are often the most likely reasons to request a refund. If you select one of these reasons, explain in detail why you want the refund. This is important because if there’s a bug in the game or any other legitimate complaint, it’s likely that others are facing the same issues. Therefore, your explanation can increase your chances of receiving a refund.

Final Thoughts Regarding the Steam Refund Policy

While Steam’s refund policy is rather generous, it still has limitations. You cannot get a refund for a game you bought on sale a year ago and never had the time to play. Similarly, you cannot get a refund for a new game you played for three hours straight before realizing it was terrible. Therefore, whenever you buy a new game on Steam, try it out within the first fourteen days and two hours of playtime. This way, you can decide whether you want to keep it in your account or not.

Frequently Asked Questions About Refunding Games on Steam

Below are some questions that users often ask, let’s start off with storage:

  1. Does it Matter where the Game is Installed? No, it doesn’t matter if the game is installed on your internal storage, your Steam Deck SD Card, or completely deleted from the device. As long as the game is on your account, you can get the refund.
  2. Can I refund Steam Wallet Funds? Yes, Steam wallet funds are refundable within two weeks of purchase, provided you haven’t spent any of them to purchase something. The process is the same as with games, so just follow the steps we already outlined above.
  3. Can Steam revoke my right to refund purchases? Yes, Steam can take away your right to get a refund if they catch you abusing the system. This policy is implemented to stop users from abusing the two-hour purchase limit.
  4. Can I get a refund after I have been banned? No, if you get banned by Valve’s Anti Cheat System, you will no longer be able to get a refund.