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New Steam refund policy can be used "for any reason"

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Good news for those of us with light wallets and itchy mouse fingers. A new update to the Steam refund policy both simplifies and broadens the conditions under which you can get your money back after making a purchase. "You can request a refund for nearly any purchase on Steam—for any reason. Maybe your PC doesn't meet the hardware requirements; maybe you bought a game by mistake; maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it," the policy now states. "It doesn't matter."

The updated policy applies not just to games, but also DLC, in-game purchases, pre-purchases, bundles, and even funds added to your Steam Wallet. The only conditions, generally speaking, is that the refund request must be made within two weeks of the original purchase, and the content in question must have less than two hours of playtime. And if you happen to fall outside of those conditions, it's not necessarily the end of the story: "You can ask for a refund anyway and we'll take a look," Valve wrote.

It's a far cry from the policy imposed in March that, as Gamespot explained, granted a 14-day window for refund requests window but then effectively closed it by including a clause stating that refunds would not be granted once Valve's "performance of its obligations has begun." In other words, when your download was finished, so was your right to a refund.

The updated policy states that "Valve will, upon request via help.steampowered.com, issue a refund for any reason, if the request is made within fourteen days of purchase, and the title has been played for less than two hours... You will be issued a full refund of your purchase within a week of approval. You will receive the refund in Steam Wallet funds or through the same payment method you used to make the purchase."

Naturally, there are a few restrictions, but they're generally on things that are out of Valve's hands. Refunds aren't available for movies or redeemed gifts, for instance, and some third-party DLC will not be refundable, if, for example, it "irreversibly levels up a game character," but such exceptions will be "clearly marked as nonrefundable" prior to purchase. All in all, I'd say it's about as fair a policy as anyone can reasonably ask for.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.