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How to get a refund on Steam games

Steam has become ubiquitous in the PC gaming world, and for good reason. Not only does it host a great store, snappy game launcher, community features, and frequent sale periods, it also gives you the option to refund a game, even if you’ve played some of it.


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If you ever bought a game via Steam and dealt with post-purchase regret because it was broken, buggy, or just didn’t live up to the hype, fear not. You might be able to return that game and get your money back.

Steam’s refund policy is also wonderfully forgiving because it lets you play up to two hours of a game and still be able to refund it. There are some requirements you need to meet though, so follow our guide to find out more on how to refund a game on Steam and get your money back.

How to request a refund for a game on Steam

  1. Go to Help -> Steam Support in the Steam client.
  2. Select Purchases.
  3. Select the game you want to request a refund for.
  4. Select I’d like to request a refund.
  5. Choose a refund method. (This is the account or card you want your refund to be credited to.)
  6. Select a reason for the refund from the drop-down menu
  7. Write any additional notes in the text box that might help Valve understand why you should be refunded.
  8. Click Submit request.

Once you’ve submitted the request, all you have to do is wait. Your request will need to be checked and Valve says that the approval process can take up to seven days. You should get an email when it is complete.

Gameplay and technical issues, purchasing by accident, and “it’s not what I expected” are often seen as the most likely reasons to request and receive a refund.

We recommend doing so by entering further details in the “additional notes” box whenever possible. If there’s a problem with the game, with bugs or issues that others might be having, too, your information could potentially help with game fixes and improvements, or at least encourage Valve to consider these problems with a game that’s being sold on their store.

Steam refund page showing reasons for refund request drop-down menu

Steam’s refund policy: Can you get a refund on Steam?

Valve says that you will be refunded for “any title that is requested within 14 days of purchase and has been played for less than 2 hours”. You can still request a refund for a game that falls outside these rules, but it’s down to Valve’s discretion whether they refund you.

Here are the reasons Steam allows you to select for a refund:

  • The game isn’t fun.
  • The game won’t start.
  • You’re having issues with Family Sharing.
  • The game’s multiplayer doesn’t work.
  • The game frequently crashes.
  • Your computer doesn’t meet the system requirements.
  • The game didn’t match the videos and screenshots.
  • The game’s frame rate is too low.
  • You purchased the game by accident.
  • Other (issue isn’t listed).

Ultimately, it’s down to Valve’s judgment whether to refund you or not, so ensure you have a good reason before you request a refund.

What if you can’t access your PC right now?

If you’re not on the PC you have Steam installed on, don’t worry. You can carry out the refund request in another way too. Just head over to the Steam Support site, log in there and follow the steps above.

Will Steam punish you for requesting a refund?

Although Valve is pretty relaxed about Steam refunds, you can still be denied a game refund request if the company suspects that you’re abusing the system.


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So don’t go requesting refunds constantly or try to use the system to speed-run games and then ask for a refund. Your right to ask Steam for a refund may then be revoked and you won’t be able to do it in the future.

Best Steam Deck games photo 1Can you refund DLC and in-game content on Steam?

As well as Steam games, it’s also possible to refund other things, including DLC (downloadable content) and in-game items.

As with games, you have 14 days to request a refund for DLC as long as you’ve not played the game it relates to for more than two hours since the DLC purchase. The DLC must also not have been “consumed, modified, or transferred”.

There are some exceptions to this though, like if the DLC completely changes the game in a way that cannot be reversed, in which case these exceptions should be “clearly marked as nonrefundable on the Store page prior to purchase”.

Can you refund a game on Steam if you’ve been banned?

Valve has a strict policy against banned players getting refunds for games they’re banned on. If you have a VAC ban (Valve Anti-Cheat ban) on your account for a game then you can’t refund that particular game, but you can request refunds for other games in your library.

Gifted game in Steam inventory

Can you refund gifted games on Steam?

If someone else has bought you a game via Steam and sent it as a gift but you want to refund it, there’s good news. It is possible to refund a gifted game through Steam.

If you haven’t redeemed the gift yet, you can have it refunded providing you haven’t played it for more than two hours, and you’ve had it in your account for less than 14 days.


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If you have redeemed the gift, you can request a refund like normal, and if the request is successful, the funds will return to the account of whoever purchased it originally.

Can you refund a Steam game to get it cheaper on sale?

Another good feature of Steam’s refund policy is that it also works around sale periods. So if you bought a game right before a Steam sale, without realising that was about to happen, and now the game’s significantly discounted, you can still get a refund.

As long as you meet the usual requirements Valve says that you can request a refund for the full price of the game that you purchased and then buy it again at the discounted price, but it cautions that approved refunds “may take up to 7 days to process”.

Humble Bundle game store front page on Microsoft Edge

Can you request a refund for games bought elsewhere?

Unfortunately, you can’t refund a game that you bought elsewhere and ported onto Steam by entering its product key.

Steam allows users to redeem codes purchased elsewhere to add the games to their Steam library. Historically, this was used for CD/DVD keys where you had a physical copy of a game and wanted to add it to Steam. But in recent years, you can purchase games from the likes of Green Man Gaming, Humble Bundle, Fanatical, or other sites, and then redeemed these games on Steam.

This can sometimes be a good way to grab a bargain with discounted keys or bundles, making games more affordable. But, unfortunately, they won’t be refundable via Steam. If you need a refund for these kinds of games, you’ll have to contact the relevant site you purchased the key from.

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