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Steam Refund Policy: Your Ultimate Guide to Game Returns

Last updated 07/03/2024 by

Bamigbola Paul

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Fact checked by

Understanding Steam’s return policy can save gamers time and money by ensuring they can get refunds for games that don’t meet their expectations. Steam offers a 14-day return window with specific conditions regarding playtime and eligible purchases. This article provides a comprehensive guide to Steam’s return policy, detailing the process, exceptions, and helpful tips to ensure a smooth refund experience.

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What is Steam’s return policy?

Steam, the leading digital distribution platform for PC gaming, offers a return policy designed to accommodate its vast user base. The standard return window is 14 days for most purchases, allowing gamers to return games and other digital products if they are unsatisfied. This article delves into the specifics of Steam’s return policy, including key points, exceptions, and tips for navigating the refund process effectively.

Understanding Steam’s return policy

Steam’s return policy covers most items purchased on its platform, providing a 14-day return window. The return process involves specific conditions related to playtime and purchase type. This section will explore the general guidelines and procedures for returning items to Steam.

How to return an item to Steam

Returning an item to Steam can be straightforward if you follow the correct steps. Here’s a detailed guide to ensure a smooth return process.

Steps for returning items

Check the return window

Verify that your item is within the 14-day return window. Steam also requires that you have played the game for less than 2 hours to be eligible for a refund.

Initiate the return request

Go to the Steam Help site ( and log into your Steam account. Select “Purchases” and find the item you want to return. Click on the item and select “I would like a refund.”

Provide details

Steam will ask you to specify the reason for your return. Select the appropriate reason and provide any additional details if necessary.

Submit the request

After filling out the required information, submit your refund request. Steam will review your request and typically respond within a few days.

Follow up

If your refund is approved, the amount will be credited to your original payment method or your Steam Wallet, based on your preference. Refunds usually take a few days to process.

Exceptions to the standard return policy

While the standard return policy covers most items, certain categories have specific conditions. Understanding these exceptions is crucial for a hassle-free return experience.

DLC and in-game purchases

DLC purchased from the Steam store is refundable within 14 days of purchase, provided the underlying game has been played for less than 2 hours since the DLC was purchased, and the DLC has not been consumed, modified, or transferred. Some third-party DLC may not be refundable; these exceptions will be clearly marked on the store page prior to purchase.

Pre-purchased games

Pre-purchased games can be refunded at any time before release. The standard 14-day return window and 2-hour playtime condition apply once the game is released. Playtime acquired during early access will count towards the 2-hour limit.


Bundles can be refunded if none of the items in the bundle have been transferred, and the total playtime for all items in the bundle is less than 2 hours.

Steam Wallet funds

Steam Wallet funds can be refunded within 14 days of purchase, as long as they have not been used.


Movies can be refunded within 14 days of purchase, provided they have not been watched. If you start watching a movie, you are no longer eligible for a refund.

Pro tip

For a smooth return process on Steam, consider these tips:
  • Check the playtime and return window conditions before requesting a refund.
  • Use the Steam Help site to initiate and track your refund requests.
  • Provide clear reasons and details in your refund request to expedite the process.
  • Monitor your email for updates from Steam regarding your refund status.


Steam’s return policy is designed to be flexible and user-friendly, accommodating a wide range of digital products and purchase situations. By understanding the specific return conditions for various items, users can ensure a smooth and efficient refund process. Whether returning a game, DLC, or other digital items, having the necessary documentation and following the outlined procedures will help streamline the experience. Steam’s commitment to customer satisfaction is evident in their comprehensive return policy, making it easier for users to shop with confidence.

Frequently asked questions

Can I return a game I bought on sale?

Yes, games purchased on sale can be returned as long as they meet the standard return conditions of being within 14 days of purchase and having less than 2 hours of playtime.

What if my game crashes or has technical issues?

If a game crashes or has technical issues, you can request a refund within the 14-day window and 2-hour playtime limit. Provide detailed information about the issues when submitting your refund request.

Are there any items that cannot be returned?

Yes, certain items like non-DRM-free music, videos, and gifts that have been redeemed cannot be returned. Always check the specific return conditions on the product page before purchasing.

How does Steam handle refunds for pre-purchased games?

Pre-purchased games can be refunded at any time before release. After the game is released, the standard 14-day return window and 2-hour playtime condition apply.

Key takeaways

  • Steam offers a 14-day return window for most items, with a maximum of 2 hours of playtime.
  • DLC, in-game purchases, and Steam Wallet funds have specific refund conditions.
  • Pre-purchased games can be refunded before release; standard conditions apply after release.
  • Refunds are processed to the original payment method or Steam Wallet, based on user preference.
  • Use the Steam Help site to initiate and manage refund requests efficiently.

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