April 18, 2024
Learn how to return games on Steam in this comprehensive guide. Understand the refund policy, common mistakes to avoid, eligibility criteria and requirements, and much more.

Can You Return Games on Steam?

Steam is the world’s most popular digital distribution platform that offers a vast collection of games for PC, Mac, and Linux. With a library of over 30,000 games, it’s easy to find games that suit your preference and needs. However, what happens when you buy a game that doesn’t meet your expectations or fails to work correctly? Are you stuck with the game or can you return it for a refund?

In this article, we will explore in-depth the topic of returning games on Steam. We aim to provide you with a comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to know about Steam’s refund policy, how to initiate a refund request, common mistakes to avoid, and much more. So, let’s get started.

A Comprehensive Guide: How to Return Games on Steam

Initiating a refund request on Steam is relatively straightforward. You can request a refund for any game, DLC, in-game purchases, or even hardware purchases for any reason you like. However, refund policies vary depending on the type of game or purchase you’re returning, the country you purchased the game from, and the time you’ve owned the game.

To initiate a refund request on Steam, first, you should have an account on Steam. Once you have an account, please follow these general guidelines:

  1. Visit the Steam Support page.
  2. Select the game or purchase that you want to refund.
  3. Choose the issue you’re facing with the game and why you want to request a refund.
  4. Fill in any additional details that may help Steam investigate and resolve the problem with the game.
  5. Select the refund method (refunds may be issued to your Steam Wallet or the original payment method depending on the situation).
  6. Click on the “Submit Request” button to initiate the refund request.

There may be some exceptions or special considerations when making a refund request based on the type of game you’re returning.

If you’re returning a game that is still in development or early access, it may be subjected to different refund policies. In such cases, the developers may offer partial refunds based on the amount of game you’ve played or the time you’ve owned the game.

For some games, especially multiplayer games, if Steam detects any suspicious activity or fraudulent activities such as cheating, you may not be eligible for a refund. If you’re banned from a game, you may still request a refund, but Steam will not grant it if the ban was due to a violation of the game’s policies and terms.

Also, Steam may not refund any in-game items or virtual currencies purchased in free-to-play games or games with in-game markets.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Returning Games on Steam

While initiating a refund request on Steam is easy, you need to take into consideration some best practices to ensure that your refund request gets approved. Here are some things to do and avoid when making a refund request:

The Do’s

  1. Do request a refund as soon as you realize that you don’t want the game or that there’s a problem with the game.
  2. Do provide Steam with all necessary and correct information about why you’re requesting a refund.
  3. Do understand any special conditions and exceptions that may apply to the game or purchase you’re returning.
  4. Do follow up on your refund request if it takes longer than expected to get a response.

The Don’ts

  1. Don’t abuse Steam’s refund policy by requesting refunds for games that you’ve finished or played for a significant amount of time.
  2. Don’t make fraudulent refund requests or cheat or perform any actions that may violate the game’s policies or terms.
  3. Don’t attempt to refund any in-game items or virtual currencies purchased in free-to-play games or games with in-game markets.
  4. Don’t attempt to refund a game if you’re banned from playing the game due to a violation of the policies or terms.

Following these do’s and don’ts may increase the chances of getting your refund request approved.

Steam’s Refund Policy: What You Need to Know

Steam has a customer-friendly refund policy that allows users to request refunds for any purchase made on Steam. However, to be eligible for a refund, there are certain criteria that you must meet:

  1. The request must be made within fourteen days of the original purchase date.
  2. You must have played the game or tested the software for less than two hours.
  3. The request must be made by the original purchaser of the game or purchase.
  4. The game or purchase must not be part of a bundle.

If you meet these criteria, then you’re eligible for a refund. However, there are some exceptions and special cases that may affect your ability to get a refund. For example, if you pre-purchase a game, the refund eligibility clock will start ticking on the game release date, not the purchase date. Also, if Steam detects any fraudulent activity or suspicious behavior, you may not be eligible for a refund.

Steam processes refunds in two ways:

  1. Refunds may be issued to the original payment method used to make the purchase.
  2. Refunds may be issued to your Steam Wallet.

The method of refund depends on the situation and circumstances of the request. If you used a prepaid card or gift card to make the purchase, the refund will be credited to your Steam Wallet.

Top 5 Reasons Why You May Need to Return a Game on Steam

There are various reasons why you may want to return a game to Steam. Here are the top five reasons:

1. Performance Issues

Some games may not perform optimally, causing lags, low frame rates, or crashes. If this happens despite meeting the game’s system requirements, you may want to return the game.

2. Bugs and Glitches

Games with bugs and glitches can be frustrating and ruin the gaming experience. If the game’s issues are significant, it may be best to return the game.

3. Game Doesn’t Meet Your Expectations

Sometimes, the game may not meet your expectations in terms of gameplay, graphics, storyline, or mechanics. If you’re not satisfied, you may want to return the game.

4. Technical Issues

In some cases, technical issues like hardware or software incompatibility or driver conflicts may prevent you from playing the game. In such cases, you may find it necessary to return the game.

5. Changed Mind

It’s not uncommon to buy a game and later realize that you don’t want it, or it’s not your preferred game genre. If this happens, you may want to return the game.

Steam’s Refund Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re not sure how to initiate a refund request, this step-by-step guide will help:

  1. Visit https://help.steampowered.com/
  2. Login with your Steam account details.
  3. Select the game or purchase you want to refund from the list of games and subscriptions.
  4. Select the reason for the refund and follow the prompts provided.
  5. Submit your refund request.

After submitting your request, Steam will review your request and take appropriate action. It may take some time to process your refund, and you may need to follow up if you don’t hear from Steam.

How to Avoid Common Mistakes When Returning Games on Steam

When requesting refunds on Steam, many players make common mistakes that may prevent their refund requests from being approved.

Common Mistake #1: Requesting a Refund After Playing the Game for a Long Time

Steam’s refund policy is clear that you can only request a refund if you have played the game for less than two hours. Trying to refund the game after surpassing this threshold is likely to get your request rejected.

Common Mistake #2: Cheating or Violating the Game’s Policies

Attempting to cheat, violating the game’s policies, or performing any fraudulent activities can get you banned from the game and may disqualify you from getting a refund. Be sure to read and follow the game’s policies and rules.

Common Mistake #3: Not Understanding the Terms and Conditions

Steam’s refund policy has several terms and conditions that you must adhere to. Failure to understand these conditions or ignoring them may result in a declined refund.

Exploring the Fine Print: Understanding Steam’s Refund Terms and Conditions

Steam’s refund policy has several fine prints that you should understand before making any refunds. Some of the conditions and exceptions include:

  1. Refunds can take up to a week to process.
  2. If you request a refund, you lose the right to access and play the game.
  3. If you purchase a game or software that Steam discovered is pirated or stolen, your request will be declined.
  4. If you’re returning a game or software that contains third-party licenses, refunds will be subjected to external restrictions, and Steam may provide a partial refund.

Understanding these fine prints can help you navigate Steam’s refund policy and ensure that your refund request gets approved.


Returning games on Steam is relatively easy and a customer-friendly process. However, to avoid any inconveniences, be sure to read and understand the terms and conditions of the refund policy and follow the best practices discussed in this article. If for any reason you’re not satisfied with a game or purchase, you have the right to initiate a refund request, and Steam will investigate the issue and process your request accordingly.

The key takeaway is to exercise due diligence and ensure that your refund requests meet all the eligibility criteria and requirements. By doing this, you’ll enjoy a seamless refund process and have a better experience with the Steam platform.

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