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.
“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...