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Steam now offers 14 day refunds [UPDATE: or not, as it turns out]

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
PC games, Steam

Steam now offers 14 day refunds [UPDATE: or not, as it turns out]

Steam have finally implemented new refund policies for EU gamers, allowing you to get your money back for games you haven't played or downloaded.

Terms and conditions apply. Big fat ones.

UPDATE: Sadly, Steam are complying with the wording of the regulations but not the spirit of them. They have also updated the user agreement at point of sale/checkout with wording that forces you to legally opt out of the 14-day withdrawal period.

Nothing to see here. Apart from a company that ought to be trying harder.

Steam now offers 14 day refunds [UPDATE: or not, as it turns out]

“If you are an EU subscriber [i.e. you have installed the Steam client and completed account registration] you have the right to withdraw from a purchase transaction for digital content without charge and without giving any reason for a duration of 14 days or until valve’s performance of its obligations has begun with your prior express consent and your acknowledgment that you thereby lose your right of withdrawal, whichever happens sooner,” reads the updated Steam Subscriber Agreement.

“Therefore, you will be informed during the checkout process when our performance starts and asked to provide your prior express consent to the purchase being final.”

Okay, so let's unpack that. So long as you haven't downloaded or installed a game, you can contact Steam and get a full refund within 14 days... of purchase, not installation.

It's still good news, even if Steam aren't doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. EU regulations are clear: "You also enjoy the right of withdrawal within 14 days from concluding the contract for online digital content. However, once you start downloading or streaming the content you may no longer withdraw from the purchase, provided that the trader has complied with his obligations. Specifically, the trader must first obtain your explicit agreement to the immediate download or streaming, and you must explicitly acknowledge that you lose your right to withdraw once the performance has started."

So Steam are finally giving us a service that we've been entitled to for years rather than trying to excel in the field of customer service, but we're not complaining.

Now, Steam, let's talk about refunds for Early Access disasters...

Add a comment7 comments
dizzydazz  Mar. 18, 2015 at 11:35

Well it's a start but no where near enough. I have at least 3 early access games that turned out to be vapourware. I don't even care if the game turns out how I would have wanted it, that's the developers choice. What I can't understand is how developers are allowed to take our trust and money and do a runner.

Steam is the retailer and they have an obligtion to ensure the products are of a high standard, whether they are the developer or not.

One product I own, bought from steam, hasn't been updated in over a year. The developers have clearly ran with our money, the consumers money, and steam openly and clearly does nothing about it.

They are a multi-billion dollar company and they have the resources to do something about this, but they don't because they would miss out monetarily.

Disgusting example of "evil" corporations that are only in it for themselves.

Rbourne  Mar. 18, 2015 at 11:37

Sadly I think Valve are not exactly fulfilling the EU regulation, but are still abiding by it somehow. On the purchase page:

By clicking "Purchase" you agree that Valve provides you immediate access to digital content as soon as you complete your purchase, without waiting the 14-day withdrawal period. Therefore, you expressly waive your right to withdraw from this purchase.


IE, steam are stating that their obligations are complete at point of purchase, making the bold statement always true:

If you are an EU subscriber [i.e. you have installed the Steam client and completed account registration] you have the right to withdraw from a purchase transaction for digital content without charge and without giving any reason for a duration of 14 days or until valve’s performance of its obligations has begun with your prior express consent and your acknowledgment that you thereby lose your right of withdrawal, whichever happens sooner

Valve always being valve and finding the loopholes to get out of refunds...

Addition:
It will be interesting to see how this works for CD key redemption or gift activations - they might be covered by the 14 days?

Additional addition: Actually the CD Key/gift redemption will be excluded as it's not a "purchase". *sigh*

Last edited by Rbourne, Mar. 18, 2015 at 11:42
imdurc  Mar. 18, 2015 at 11:40

No refund if you begin installing it? Hmm... not sure about that :\ What if you play a game you just bought and installed, only to find out that you made a horrible mistake?

JonLester  Mar. 18, 2015 at 11:47

@dizzydazz: I'm right with you man. Valve should refund Early Access games that fail to launch/fold IMO, because unlike crowd funding, the customer shouldn't have to take all the risk.

@Rbourne: "It will be interesting to see how this works for CD key redemption or gift activations - they might be covered by the 14 days?"

You're right, though my brain hurts just thinking about it.

@imdurc: "What if you play a game you just bought and installed, only to find out that you made a horrible mistake?"

Then, as they say, them's the breaks. :p Steam recently got a horrible customer service report, but they know we're coming back with our wallets open.

Dan382920  Mar. 18, 2015 at 12:07

This article has missed some finer detail.

Yes Steam added the 14 day Policy to comply with EU law.
No Steam will not give any EU customer a refund under this policy.

WHY?

The moment you confirm the purchase of any content you WAIVE your right to a refund. It's all in writing on the Steam purchase page.

It makes ZERO difference if you have installed, started to install or just purchased and added to your library, Steam has fulfilled their obligation to provide instant content.

JonLester  Mar. 18, 2015 at 12:23

UPDATE: Sadly Steam have also updated their user agreement at point of sale/checkout, forcing you to legally opt out of the right to withdrawal.

Talk about following regulations to the letter, not the spirit. This is some shady b*llocks IMHO.

Thanks Dan382920.

Last edited by JonLester, Mar. 18, 2015 at 12:24
Tsung  Mar. 18, 2015 at 12:56

Someone else posted this on Facebook this morning claiming they would get 14 days to claim a refund. I had to point out the terms doesn't say that at all, clearly, it was reported wrong by a lot of news sites this morning.

However, Valve has to be careful, because in the UK it's illegal to force customers to agree to unfair terms and conditions.Also we have implied rights, that steam are unable to weasel out with prior-agreements.

Of course all this is irrelevant, as I'm sure anyone who dares challenges Valve in a UK court would end up.. Banned from their existing games collection and fighting a team of lawyers. Best advice, buyer beware, do some research before you buy that game.

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