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Steam gives gamers two weeks to claim refund


Online games retailer relaxes its rules of refunds

Steam has changed its refund policy, giving gamers a fortnight to claim a full refund if they decide they don’t want a game. The download store was infamously inflexible if gamers demanded a refund because they didn’t like a title or because their PC didn’t meet the minimum spec requirements. Now, after growing pressure from the EU, Steam has relaxed its no-refunds stance.

The company will now offer customers a full refund if they decide to return a game with 14 days, provided they haven’t played the game for two hours or more – a move obviously designed to stop people completing games and then demanding their money back. However, if you just slip over the two-hour threshold, Steam may show some discretion, adding that “even if you fall outside of the refund rules we’ve described, you can ask for a refund anyway and we’ll take a look”. 

The refund offer also covers downloadable content and in-app purchases, although again there are limitations. The downloadable content must not have been “consumed, modified and transferred”, and Steam states that certain types of content are exempt from refunds, such as a purchase that “irreversibly levels up a game character”. You can also get your money back on game bundles, “so long as none of the items in the bundle have been transferred, and if the combined usage time for all items in the bundle is less than two hours”.  

There are still a few exceptions to Steam’s refunds policy. Anyone that’s been banned by Valve’s anti-cheating system won’t be eligible for refunds. Movies are also exempt from the refunds policy.

The move follows pressure from the EU to apply the same consumer rights to digital downloads as are offered with physical goods. The EU’s directive on consumer rights states that: “Since in the case of distance sales, the consumer is not able to see the goods before concluding the contract, he should have a right of withdrawal. For the same reason, the consumer should be allowed to test and inspect the goods he has bought to the extent necessary to establish the nature, characteristics and the functioning of the goods.”

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