How to Get a Refund on Steam Games

A man sits in the dark lit up by the game on his computer screen.
Yuri_Arcurs/Getty Images

It is easier than ever before to find and enjoy new games through Valve’s game client Steam. From the best AAA titles, to hidden indie gems there are thousands of options from Alpha to the polished product. However, not all games are equal and you may have purchased a game that you want to return.

Unlike buying a physical copy of a game, you can get a refund from Steam even on a brand new game. Even if you're returning it because you just didn't like it. So long as you request a refund within 14 days of purchase, and it has been played for less than two hours, you'll almost always get a refund. Even if you fall outside of those boundaries Steam will still consider why you want a refund on your purchase. 

Conditions for Refunds from Steam

When it comes to requesting a refund from Steam, there are a few caveats. While you can request a refund on any game, even if you have played it extensively, in most cases you’ll only be able to get your money back in very specific cases.

For the most part you’ll need to request your refund within fourteen days of purchase, and has been played for less than two hours.

With games you have preordered, you can request a refund up until fourteen days after the initial release. This ruling also applies to DLC bought through Steam.

If you want a refund for Steam Wallet funds, you need to request it within 14 days and also need to ensure none of the funds were spent in the meantime.

Steam specifically will not refund you in several cases. If you want a refund for in-game items (like lootboxes for instance) you are out of luck. That's specifically because these are items purchased fromt he game developers, and not the Steam game client. Likewise if you want a refund because you received a VAC (Valve anti-cheat system) you won't be eligible for a refund. There also isn't any way for Steam to refund video purchases, unless the video was part of a bundle. 

If there is a bundle you want to return, the original 2-hour, 14 day conditions remain. However, this counts for all games in the bundle. 

You can visit Steam's site to get all the details on what is and isn't likely to get a refund.

How to Request a Steam Refund

So if you’ve decided you don’t like the brand new game you’ve purchased, and you meet Steam’s refund conditions, it’s time to request a refund directly.

If you are within the 14 day, two hour window then this is a relatively painless and stress free experience. Opening the game from within Steam Support will give you the option to request a refund and opens the window for a support ticket. 

If you are outside that grace period you can still request a refund. However you'll want to be specific when entering information about why you are requesting a refund. The more details you provide, the more likely you'll be approved for a refund. 

  1. Login to Steam on your computer. (With your browser, not through the Steam desktop client)
  2. Click on the support tab at the top of the window.
  3. Click the title you want to refund in recent purchases (or find it by clicking on the purchases tab).
  4. Click ‘I would like a refund’ if you have played less than 2 hours.
  5. If you have played more than 2 hours, click ‘it’s not what I expected’ and then click ‘I’d like to request a refund’.
  6. Fill out the ‘tell us why’ section to explain why you want a refund for your game.
  7. Click Submit Request.

At this point you will have opened a support ticket from Steam. You should receive further information from them via email explaining why you are, or are not going to be receiving a refund.

Denied Refund?

If you are denied a refund and think it's a mistake, there is technically a way to appeal. You can request a refund a second time, and open another support ticket. A different employee will review your request, and double check to make sure you weren't denied a refund unfairly.

When to Expect Your Refund

Once you have filled out your support ticket, and gotten a confirmation from Steam that you will be receiving a refund, the big question is when? In most cases, barring major bank holidays, you can expect to see your refund within a week.

If it has been 7 or more days since your refund you can reach out to your financial institution and inquire about pending transactions. In cases of international refunds, it can take a few more days to process. 

Your refund will be returned to the original payment method. So if you paid with your bank card, or credit card you can expect to see it show up there.

If you paid with Steam funds, or Steam is unable to refund back to the original method you will see your refund in your Steam Wallet. Keep in mind that you can check here to see what payment methods can be refunded. If your card isn't on the list, you'll see your refund show up in your Steam Wallet.