Steam Deck on a white table by Edgar Almeida.

For many, Steam is probably the best video game platform/ store to buy our favorite PC games. It’s simple, fast, and secure, with an extensive video game library that continues to sell games released as far back as the early 1990s.

Still, there’s always the occasional ‘bad’ buy where some games purchased eventually come out as subpar, woefully designed, and riddled with bugs/ glitches. In such cases, how can we return the game to Steam, getting a refund in return?

Here’s how to prompt a refund request on Steam:

  1. Log in to Steam.
  2. Click “Help”, found near the top-left corner of the home screen.
  3. Select “Steam Support”.
  4. Browse to “Purchases”, and then choose the respective game’s payment transaction that we want to be refunded (click “View complete purchasing history” if it isn’t shown on the first list).
  5. Choose “I would like a refund”, and then proceed with “I’d like to request a refund”.
  6. Fill in the particular details and reasoning behind our refund request, and then submit it (will get an email confirmation as well).

Refund success depends on a case-to-case basis, but if our game is severely unoptimized, then we’re likelier to get our money back, one way or another. Still, this does mean we have to rebuy the same game on a gaming console if it’s released for other platforms as well.

There are multiple reasons why we would want a game to be refunded, especially if we don’t have room to install such faulty games on our computer, saving the memory for other useful additions instead. Falsely advertised games can also be accepted for a refund but will require substantial evidence to support the claims.

What are the Requirements for a Steam Refund?

Although we can issue a refund request for every game on Steam, certain criteria do apply. What are these specific requirements for a game to be refunded on Steam?

To ask for a refund, here are the prerequisites (may be reconsidered according to reasoning):

  • The refund request is made within two (2) weeks after the game was purchased
  • The game must be played less than two (2) hours

Hence, if we face PC hardware limitations restricting us from playing our newly-bought game, we can promptly issue a refund request. This doesn’t apply to games bought outside of Steam, though, even if they’re available on the platform as well.

Tampering the game in any way, like installing unsupported mods, can affect refund success too, so we need to keep that in mind. Nevertheless, the use of external third-party devices, such as a PS5 controller, will not void refund requests unless specified.

Can I Get a Steam Refund after Playing More than 2 Hours?

Sometimes, a game can stop working after installing a mandatory in-game patch created by the developers. Let’s say we’ve played the game for more than two (2) hours but are no longer interested in the game because of this, can we still ask for a refund?

Yes, we can still ask for a refund even if we’ve played the game for more than two (2) hours, but success will depend on different circumstances. Valve will consider all applications because not every case is as straightforward as they seem.

Even the best PC fighting games can be subjected to such instances, so it would be unfair if we’ve been playing a game so well for the past two (2) weeks, only to be disappointed by a game-breaking patch and can’t ask for a refund afterward.

Plus, our internal storage drive has a maximum memory capacity for installing games, so keeping unplayable games would be a waste of time. There’s no harm in asking for a refund on a free platform like Steam, so let’s make the most of it.

What Types of Refunds Can I Apply For on Steam?

On Steam, we can request different types of refunds, not just video games. So, what are they?

As a Steam user, we can ask for refunds on:

  • Downloadable content (dependent)
  • In-game items created by Valve or selected third-party developers
  • Paid pre-orders
  • Steam Wallet funds
  • Steam-related paid subscriptions
  • Exclusive Steam hardware purchases
  • Bundles
  • Gifts (unclaimed)

Steam covers a wider range of services for everyday gamers since almost all games are readily playable on the computer today. The online game store also offers gaming accessories for us to play games other than the mouse and keyboard.

It’s useful to know that we can apply for refunds if any of them don’t meet our expectations after purchasing them, especially for games that take up hours of our time just to be installed. After all, we spend real-life time and effort buying them, so refunds should be the minimum to compensate for any negative experience.

How Long Does a Steam Refund Take?

For successful Steam refunds, how long does it normally take for the money to be credited back to our accounts?

Ideally, refunds will be credited to our accounts within the first (1st) week after their approval, with more time needed for the money to arrive inside the bank (differs according to country). 

This is quite fast under international standards, especially when we’re about to enter the next generation of PC gaming very soon. We might even see a new list of the best online PC games too!

All things considered, it’s good to know that Steam is relatively consumer-friendly. I can personally vouch for it since I’ve been using it to download PC games for around two (2) decades now!

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