Valve Announces Steam Refund Program

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austin_walker

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Edited By austin_walker
Bury me with my (refunded) money.
Bury me with my (refunded) money.

Valve Corporation announced today that their digital distribution behemoth, Steam, would begin accepting refund requests "for nearly any purchase on Steam—for any reason." The company elaborates:

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.

It doesn't matter. 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. There are more details below, but even if you fall outside of the refund rules we’ve described, you can ask for a refund anyway and we’ll take a look.

The full announcement lays out the new policy in detail, covering how refunds will be handled in the cases of DLC, in-game items purchased with real money, bundles, and other special cases. The long and the short of it is that you can file for a full refund of any game or software in the two weeks following its purchase–so long as you haven't used it for more than two hours, that is.

Valve has offered refunds before, but the process has always been labyrinthine and uncertain. By outlining a clear policy, the company has given Steam users a reliable process for claiming a refund and a promise of some response (even if that response is "Nah.")

In fact, Christopher Floyd, COO of Indie Megabooth, told me that he believes that this is just a clarification of Valve's established policy. "This whole deal strikes me as them basically wanting some wording out there to explain their stance on refunds. In past experience, they refunded if you had a decent reason. This page looks like them hammering out what they define as 'decent reason.'"

Whether it's old or new, the refund policy is definitely a pro-consumer gesture. But it also reflects the changing realities of Valve's digital marketplace. Over the last few years, Steam has let more and more games onto its virtual shelves. But as rad it is to see the rise of independent development, the increased quantity of games for sale has naturally increased the chances of buying a game that doesn't work on your hardware (or at all). Couple that with the rollout of Early Access titles, and toss in the ever present risk of a game just being bad, and it's easy to understand this as a necessary response to the changing conditions of a marketplace.

For all of its clarity, I still have some lingering questions about this new policy. As written, this policy doesn't offer any special terms for games in Early Access. What happens with a game that I've had for a month but that now seems abandoned?

I also want to know whether Valve or the developer (or publisher) pays back the refund, and if there is any way for a developer to appeal a refund request. These might seem like little things if you're thinking about major publishers, but even a handful or refunds can impact the lives of small, independent developers.

I'm also wondering how refunds will work for short, narrative driven games like Three Fourths Home or Sunset, which can be completed in just a couple of hours of play. What happens if I beat one of these games, then file for a refund? Thankfully, I was able to get the opinions of a few developers on this new policy. Will O'Neill, whose own game, Actual Sunlight, can be beaten in about 90 minutes, told me that he is "confident that this initial policy will be refined to meet the needs of games that can clearly demonstrate a full play-through of less than two hours."

While I was concerned with short, narrative games, developer Rusty Moyher was thinking about even shorter, non-narrative ones. "It seems to me that two hours might be too generous? How many games of Super Hexagon could play in an hour?" He makes a good point, which should remind us that it's incredibly hard to craft a "one size fits all" policy for anything.

Thankfully, Moyher also told me that Valve is asking developers for feedback on refunds. Hopefully, with feedback from devs, they'll be able to sort out a policy that works for games (and game makers) of different sizes.

I reached out to Valve for clarification on this policy but haven't heard back.

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Atwa

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Totally should have been there a while ago, still good of them to bring it out.

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crapdragoon

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This is nice, but too little too late.

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AMyggen

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#3  Edited By AMyggen

@crapdragoon: Why too late? Better late than never.

Also, this policy seems sensible to me. As Austin points out in the article there's room for nuance and improvement, but it's a solid baseline.

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deactivated-5e851fc84effd

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I've had a few burns in my Steam career so this sounds fantastic!

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TheJoker138

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I'm gonna be honest here: I don't give a single crap about the developers in this situation. This is a consumer rights thing, and a few people taking advantage of it and being dicks should not have any influence over it existing. This is a good thing, and a victory for users.

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hassun

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Hard to implement well. I hope it works out.

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conmulligan

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#7  Edited By conmulligan

For all of its clarity, I still have some lingering questions about this new policy. As written, this policy doesn't offer any special terms for games in Early Access. What happens with a game that I've had for a month but that now seems abandoned?

This is a really good point, and one I'm surprised they didn't address.

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DevourerOfTime

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Hobosunday

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I agree with Austin; I really hope there is some sort of change for Early Access games. Early Access is the most likely place to sucker people into a premise and never execute. I would be a little more willing to go the Early Access route if I knew there was a net under me.

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Cameron

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Definitely a step in the right direction. I shouldn't have to pay for a game if it doesn't run on my computer, even if it's because I'm running a weird software or hardware configuration.

I do wish it was more like the Google Play system where the process is automated, though that system is also far more restrictive than this one, I guess we'll have to see how well they stick to this policy.

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veektarius

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I'm sure that some refunds will be awarded illegitimately, and just as sure that abusers of the system will be identified.

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Milkman

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It's a bit of a slippery slope for all the reasons Austin points out here if the policy is too black and white. But it's also one that could be implemented well as long as Steam says on top of people trying to exploit it.

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AMyggen

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#13  Edited By AMyggen

@conmulligan: I wouldn't be surprised if Valve just straight up doesn't have a good policy for early access games yet.

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leejunfan83

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Steam refund quote - " maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it." then " If it appears to us that you are abusing refunds, we may stop offering them to you." Huh? What?

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John-Luke

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#15  Edited By John-Luke

I think it's great. I feel more comfortable with making impulse purchases. Wait a minute...

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TheIrishCuisine

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Off topic: I really like Austin's writing style. It's fun to read.

On Topic: I feel like this is going to take a while to fully develop. Rarely does Steam have a change like this that works out initially. If you look at green light and early access, those both took some time to come out of their teething phases.

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UltimAXE

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I've never felt the need for a refund for a game that I've bought on Steam, but the option should probably be there.

So . . . cool?

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metalsnakezero

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This is a pretty nice system as long as user stick to it and not pull some crazy scheme. However, their may be one scheme that I'll be ok with and that pulling it on a publisher/developer people don't like by buying the game and immediately.

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johnnymcginley

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HOT DAILY NEWS SON

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GERALTITUDE

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Yes refund systems will burn some people.

Small evils for a greater good.

Refunds are a must.

Next up? Transferring digital rights baby.

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Shivoa

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Steam refund quote - " maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it." then " If it appears to us that you are abusing refunds, we may stop offering them to you." Huh? What?

If someone is using the service to play games without paying for them then they'll have the ability to buy new games or get further refunds removed from their account/payment details. This is abuse. The occasional title that you buy based on advertising/store copy that makes it sound good but ends up not being for you (as discovered within minutes of playing it) can be refunded but you can't make a habit of it.

If you don't like a game and want a refund then you have the legal right to it (in locations like all of Europe - English language of EU directive) and, more importantly, the economic system of trade is greased by consumer rights that allow people to buy things at a distance without fear of being scammed. It benefits developers to have people able to buy their game without having to do the labour of satisfying themselves they are not about to be scammed. This increases the number of satisfied customers.

Those who want to steal games already have torrents that don't have weeks of delays in processing refunds, handing over payment info, and a 2 hour time limit. Those who don't want to pay will not use a worse system to steam from developers.

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markg1022

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awesome write-up! thank you Austin!

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generic_username

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#23  Edited By generic_username

I wonder if there's been some amount of legal questions coming up lately with this sort of thing, or if this is just Valve being legitimately pro-consumer and awesome.

Either way, this is a really nice step forward for digital distribution in general, I think.

Ah, and people seem pretty concerned with the fact that people will abuse the system, but people have been abusing the right to a refund for a long, long time now, and most major retailers have been managing just fine. With Steam, they actually have an easier time determining whether or not you actually should or should not get a refund, considering how they can track your play time and also know for a fact whether or not you bought it from them or from somewhere else, which is a luxury that brick-and-mortar stores don't have. Yeah, sure, you're supposed to need a receipt, but bitch and moan enough at anyone and they'll eventually give you your money just to get you out of there. I've seen it happen numerous times.

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Homelessbird

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#24  Edited By Homelessbird

Yeah, I'm not sure about the amount of time being a determining factor. This seems like a huge potential loss of money.

See, it really sounds like they are inviting people to download any game on their store, play it for an hour or so, and then ask for a refund - essentially making every game on Steam into a demo. The problem, though, is that when a merchant rebates a credit card, the bank takes a small surcharge on that transaction. If people start abusing this system, that surcharge could really start to add up - especially if that cost is on the developers, as they would be running a net loss on each refunded sale in addition to not actually getting the sale. This could be a significant financial mistake.

Of course, as someone who spends a significant portion of their day making credit card rebates, maybe I'm overreacting - I'm sure Valve will be flexible enough to make adjustments if need be. But as they announced this, it seems super exploitable in a way that gives me a headache to think about. Those poor, poor accountants.

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ominousbedroom

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#25  Edited By ominousbedroom

good. valve is like nintendo in some ways. not to say that's always a negative trait, though!

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odinsmana

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This is a great addition to steam. I just hope this isn`t similar to the payed mods thing where they put it out in the market too fast and it backfires.

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HiCZoK

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so buy a game, go offline, finish it, delete steapapp cache, start steam, get a refund ?

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Homelessbird

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@hiczok said:

so buy a game, go offline, finish it, delete steapapp cache, start steam, get a refund ?

Also this.

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leejunfan83

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@shivoa said:
@leejunfan83 said:

Steam refund quote - " maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it." then " If it appears to us that you are abusing refunds, we may stop offering them to you." Huh? What?

If someone is using the service to play games without paying for them then they'll have the ability to buy new games or get further refunds removed from their account/payment details. This is abuse. The occasional title that you buy based on advertising/store copy that makes it sound good but ends up not being for you (as discovered within minutes of playing it) can be refunded but you can't make a habit of it.

If you don't like a game and want a refund then you have the legal right to it (in locations like all of Europe - English language of EU directive) and, more importantly, the economic system of trade is greased by consumer rights that allow people to buy things at a distance without fear of being scammed. It benefits developers to have people able to buy their game without having to do the labour of satisfying themselves they are not about to be scammed. This increases the number of satisfied customers.

Those who want to steal games already have torrents that don't have weeks of delays in processing refunds, handing over payment info, and a 2 hour time limit. Those who don't want to pay will not use a worse system to steam from developers.

But how can you determine if someone is trying to abuse the system ? Or if they're just very picky and have specific standards which is why they're constantly asking for refunds?

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Shivoa

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Yeah, I'm not sure about the amount of time being a determining factor. This seems like a huge potential loss of money.

See, it really sounds like they are inviting people to download any game on their store, play it for an hour or so, and then ask for a refund - essentially making every game on Steam into a demo. The problem, though, is that when a merchant rebates a credit card, the bank takes a small surcharge on that transaction. If people start abusing this system, that surcharge could really start to add up - especially if that cost is on the developers, as they would be running a net loss on each refunded sale addition to not actually getting the sale. This could be a significant financial mistake.

Of course, as someone who spends a significant portion of their day making credit card rebates, maybe I'm overreacting - I'm sure Valve will be flexible enough to make adjustments if need be. But as they announced this, it seems super exploitable in a way that gives me a headache to think about. Those poor, poor accountants.

Luckily we literally have decades of legally mandated distance selling regulations forcing stores to offer refunds and how that has worked out to work from in working out best practices and how to minimise the cost of exploitation while maximising the economic benefit of increased consumer confidence from added rights (see above comments about making it easier to take a punt on a game on Steam due to this new consumer right).

How many games do you think you'll be pirating via Steam refunds? You get one game, play it in 90 minutes and then grab a refund. A week later you do it again with a different game. A week later you... wait, your Steam account has been locked down and you're no longer able to buy anything on the store. Maybe Valve even feel vindictive and you've got VAC bans stopping you playing the online games attached to your account. Well, that was fun while it lasted (shame you can't use your credit card in Steam any more, or any 3rd parties Valve share the fact you're a scammer with). The system works and people learn not to try and pirate games via digital storefronts.

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Tomba_be

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Steam refund quote - " maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it." then " If it appears to us that you are abusing refunds, we may stop offering them to you." Huh? What?

It would make more sense if they would just stop selling games to you. If you keep returning items to a store (because the store has a refund policy that allows you to return items that you decide you don't like/need), that store will refuse to sell you anything. I once returned a DVD box because the actual DVD wasn't in there. Which seems a pretty clear warranty issue. Before they swapped it with another box, I had to show my ID. When I asked why that was necessary they said that if I returned items like that frequently I would end up on some list that (several) stores use to refuse service to customers. It's a reasonable prevention against abusers imo.

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BobBarker

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I wonder if this means anything to people who own Spacebase DF9

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IanSavage

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This is cool. Like Austin and most of the other commenters, I'm worried about the lack of clarity around the edge cases. Especially in the wake of the paid mods issue, the bar for communication clarity coming from valve has risen, and people are going to be (rightfully) demanding that these issues be addressed.

That all being said, this is a Damn Good Thing. The digital age is here to stay, and this is one of many issues that consumers, distributors, and creators will have to collectively tackle as a result. A nice first step.

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Ghostiet

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I wonder if there's been some amount of legal questions coming up lately with this sort of thing, or if this is just Valve being legitimately pro-consumer and awesome.

Either way, this is a really nice step forward for digital distribution in general, I think.

Either way, we win. I imagine it might be a result of Early Access and the amount of garbage that floods the storefront out of Greenlight - I imagine that both systems will see a grander restructurization, but that's a good way to handle the crock of shit out there.

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#35  Edited By megalowho

@thejoker138 said:

I'm gonna be honest here: I don't give a single crap about the developers in this situation. This is a consumer rights thing, and a few people taking advantage of it and being dicks should not have any influence over it existing. This is a good thing, and a victory for users.

It should absolutely exist (and has in the past, unofficially), but it's also worth considering the impact the parameters given will have for special cases like the ones mentioned in the article. Thirty Flights of Loving was designed to be completed in 15 minutes or so, but it's still a compelling experience that's worth a few bucks. There's already lots of negative user reviews saying they didn't feel it was worth the price they paid for the time they got out of it. Are they all entitled to a refund? Even if they liked it?

Time will tell if the policy is abused by consumers on a wide scale to the point that it impacts developers like Blendo, or if it is indeed just a few people taking advantage in a sea of legit transactions.

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UlquioKani

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HALLELUJAH

In reality, anything I want to return, I purchased for such a cheap price that I don't really care about it. It'll be nice for people who pre-order stuff though.

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ramblesnonsense

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@thejoker138: Agreed. If this were a physical marketplace, my return would be refunded by the vendor who would then send it back to the publisher. Be it a game, a book, or whatever.

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#38  Edited By Tomba_be

Seemed unavoidable. EU law dictates that anything bought online can be returned without cost or without giving a reason within 14 days. There are some exceptions for copyrighted material, that needs to be sealed before it can be returned. So Steam is even going beyond that legal requirement. They already gave EU customers back their money when the buyer contacted support and made a clear reference to the law in question. It's probably easier to implement the same rule worldwide, even when it is not a legal requirement, it's still good PR.

This also pretty much allows for demos for every PC game on Steam!

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leejunfan83

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@tomba_be said:
@leejunfan83 said:

Steam refund quote - " maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it." then " If it appears to us that you are abusing refunds, we may stop offering them to you." Huh? What?

It would make more sense if they would just stop selling games to you. If you keep returning items to a store (because the store has a refund policy that allows you to return items that you decide you don't like/need), that store will refuse to sell you anything. I once returned a DVD box because the actual DVD wasn't in there. Which seems a pretty clear warranty issue. Before they swapped it with another box, I had to show my ID. When I asked why that was necessary they said that if I returned items like that frequently I would end up on some list that (several) stores use to refuse service to customers. It's a reasonable prevention against abusers imo.

Why punish consumers for using the policy as intended? Some people are very picky and value their money and time. So they'll feel the need to return items as much as they want.

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OMGFather

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So you have to go through Steam support? *shudders*

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koolaid

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Does this news have a Sunset Riders reference in it? Austin is my new favorite!

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Homelessbird

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@shivoa said:
@homelessbird said:

Yeah, I'm not sure about the amount of time being a determining factor. This seems like a huge potential loss of money.

See, it really sounds like they are inviting people to download any game on their store, play it for an hour or so, and then ask for a refund - essentially making every game on Steam into a demo. The problem, though, is that when a merchant rebates a credit card, the bank takes a small surcharge on that transaction. If people start abusing this system, that surcharge could really start to add up - especially if that cost is on the developers, as they would be running a net loss on each refunded sale addition to not actually getting the sale. This could be a significant financial mistake.

Of course, as someone who spends a significant portion of their day making credit card rebates, maybe I'm overreacting - I'm sure Valve will be flexible enough to make adjustments if need be. But as they announced this, it seems super exploitable in a way that gives me a headache to think about. Those poor, poor accountants.

Luckily we literally have decades of legally mandated distance selling regulations forcing stores to offer refunds and how that has worked out to work from in working out best practices and how to minimise the cost of exploitation while maximising the economic benefit of increased consumer confidence from added rights (see above comments about making it easier to take a punt on a game on Steam due to this new consumer right).

How many games do you think you'll be pirating via Steam refunds? You get one game, play it in 90 minutes and then grab a refund. A week later you do it again with a different game. A week later you... wait, your Steam account has been locked down and you're no longer able to buy anything on the store. Maybe Valve even feel vindictive and you've got VAC bans stopping you playing the online games attached to your account. Well, that was fun while it lasted (shame you can't use your credit card in Steam any more, or any 3rd parties Valve share the fact you're a scammer with). The system works and people learn not to try and pirate games via digital storefronts.

Hey - I don't disagree with you that a clarified policy is a good idea - I just think the exact way they've done it seems like it will generate some of this activity when that could have been easily avoided. Dedicated pirates won't care about this, true, but the loophole being there (and being announced) makes it much more likely that some people will exploit it. And - MUCH more importantly - it's going to be a pain in the ass for their accounts receivable people, with whom I sympathize.

It's also potential money gone. Let's say 50,000 people ask for a refund they wouldn't have on say a $20 game, and let's say there's a 5% surcharge. That's $50,000 dollars to the bank. Even a very small increase in the amount of potential rebates represents a significant potential financial hit. If we knew Valve was taking that hit for sure, I'd feel a little better about it, but the potential for the devs to take the hit makes me nervous.

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kubqo

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This is fantastic news. And now I want you all to take a moment and think about the fact, that this probably wouldnt happen if it wasn’t for Origin.

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Shivoa

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#44  Edited By Shivoa
@leejunfan83 said:
@tomba_be said:
@leejunfan83 said:

Steam refund quote - " maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it." then " If it appears to us that you are abusing refunds, we may stop offering them to you." Huh? What?

It would make more sense if they would just stop selling games to you. If you keep returning items to a store (because the store has a refund policy that allows you to return items that you decide you don't like/need), that store will refuse to sell you anything. I once returned a DVD box because the actual DVD wasn't in there. Which seems a pretty clear warranty issue. Before they swapped it with another box, I had to show my ID. When I asked why that was necessary they said that if I returned items like that frequently I would end up on some list that (several) stores use to refuse service to customers. It's a reasonable prevention against abusers imo.

Why punish consumers for using the policy as intended? Some people are very picky and value their money and time. So they'll feel the need to return items as much as they want.

Because stores don't have to serve everyone. They're not allowed to discriminate against who you are but are allowed to simply not serve you because your history means they are no longer interested in selling to you. If you ask for a lot of refunds then Valve don't want to lose more money on you from transaction fees etc and so remove your ability to get refunds or buy more games. The policy is not to allow consumers to say they're never satisfied but to prevent the sale of items that are, broadly speaking, defective (see above link to EU regulation language). Valve include "didn't like it" in that definition but I guarantee that consistently being unsatisfied is how you lose the ability to buy more games from Steam. As it should be to prevent abuse. As it is in stores all over the world who have had to deal with operating a refund policy for decades. This is not some new problem no one has ever tried to solve before that you're going to find a massive hole in, it's actually standard business practice.

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Tomba_be

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@tomba_be said:
@leejunfan83 said:

Steam refund quote - " maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it." then " If it appears to us that you are abusing refunds, we may stop offering them to you." Huh? What?

It would make more sense if they would just stop selling games to you. If you keep returning items to a store (because the store has a refund policy that allows you to return items that you decide you don't like/need), that store will refuse to sell you anything. I once returned a DVD box because the actual DVD wasn't in there. Which seems a pretty clear warranty issue. Before they swapped it with another box, I had to show my ID. When I asked why that was necessary they said that if I returned items like that frequently I would end up on some list that (several) stores use to refuse service to customers. It's a reasonable prevention against abusers imo.

Why punish consumers for using the policy as intended? Some people are very picky and value their money and time. So they'll feel the need to return items as much as they want.

They have every right to return what they bought. But the store also has the right to refuse to sell them anything else.

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leejunfan83

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@tomba_be said:
@leejunfan83 said:
@tomba_be said:
@leejunfan83 said:

Steam refund quote - " maybe you played the title for an hour and just didn't like it." then " If it appears to us that you are abusing refunds, we may stop offering them to you." Huh? What?

It would make more sense if they would just stop selling games to you. If you keep returning items to a store (because the store has a refund policy that allows you to return items that you decide you don't like/need), that store will refuse to sell you anything. I once returned a DVD box because the actual DVD wasn't in there. Which seems a pretty clear warranty issue. Before they swapped it with another box, I had to show my ID. When I asked why that was necessary they said that if I returned items like that frequently I would end up on some list that (several) stores use to refuse service to customers. It's a reasonable prevention against abusers imo.

Why punish consumers for using the policy as intended? Some people are very picky and value their money and time. So they'll feel the need to return items as much as they want.

They have every right to return what they bought. But the store also has the right to refuse to sell them anything else.

That sucks

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briktal

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@thejoker138 said:

I'm gonna be honest here: I don't give a single crap about the developers in this situation. This is a consumer rights thing, and a few people taking advantage of it and being dicks should not have any influence over it existing. This is a good thing, and a victory for users.

It should absolutely exist (and has in the past, unofficially), but it's also worth considering the impact the parameters given will have for special cases like the ones mentioned in the article. Thirty Flights of Loving was designed to be completed in 15 minutes or so, but it's still a compelling experience that's worth a few bucks. Time will tell if the policy is abused by consumers on a wide scale to the point that it negatively impacts developers like Blendo, or if it is indeed just a few people taking advantage in a sea of legit transactions.

Though short games do raise a question: if you get 2 hours to, in part, realize you don't like a "normal" length game, how much time is appropriate for a 15 or 45 minute long game? Maybe this gets offset somewhat because the kind of person who might buy those games in the first place knows what to expect, but it also doesn't seem crazy that someone might buy, for example, Gone Home for $20, finish it in 45 minutes, say "that's it?" and feel ripped off.

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Mister_V

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So this is a super edge case and you would have to be crazy to do it. but steam cards drop based on time played. You could buy a game, get some steam cards, get a refund and so on and so on until you have a small fortune in trading cards...

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Tomba_be

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@shivoa said:
@homelessbird said:

Yeah, I'm not sure about the amount of time being a determining factor. This seems like a huge potential loss of money.

See, it really sounds like they are inviting people to download any game on their store, play it for an hour or so, and then ask for a refund - essentially making every game on Steam into a demo. The problem, though, is that when a merchant rebates a credit card, the bank takes a small surcharge on that transaction. If people start abusing this system, that surcharge could really start to add up - especially if that cost is on the developers, as they would be running a net loss on each refunded sale addition to not actually getting the sale. This could be a significant financial mistake.

Of course, as someone who spends a significant portion of their day making credit card rebates, maybe I'm overreacting - I'm sure Valve will be flexible enough to make adjustments if need be. But as they announced this, it seems super exploitable in a way that gives me a headache to think about. Those poor, poor accountants.

Luckily we literally have decades of legally mandated distance selling regulations forcing stores to offer refunds and how that has worked out to work from in working out best practices and how to minimise the cost of exploitation while maximising the economic benefit of increased consumer confidence from added rights (see above comments about making it easier to take a punt on a game on Steam due to this new consumer right).

How many games do you think you'll be pirating via Steam refunds? You get one game, play it in 90 minutes and then grab a refund. A week later you do it again with a different game. A week later you... wait, your Steam account has been locked down and you're no longer able to buy anything on the store. Maybe Valve even feel vindictive and you've got VAC bans stopping you playing the online games attached to your account. Well, that was fun while it lasted (shame you can't use your credit card in Steam any more, or any 3rd parties Valve share the fact you're a scammer with). The system works and people learn not to try and pirate games via digital storefronts.

Hey - I don't disagree with you that a clarified policy is a good idea - I just think the exact way they've done it seems like it will generate some of this activity when that could have been easily avoided. Dedicated pirates won't care about this, true, but the loophole being there (and being announced) makes it much more likely that some people will exploit it. And - MUCH more importantly - it's going to be a pain in the ass for their accounts receivable people, with whom I sympathize.

It's also potential money gone. Let's say 50,000 people ask for a refund they wouldn't have on say a $20 game, and let's say there's a 5% surcharge. That's $50,000 dollars to the bank. Even a very small increase in the amount of potential rebates represents a significant potential financial hit. If we knew Valve was taking that hit for sure, I'd feel a little better about it, but the potential for the devs to take the hit makes me nervous.

I'm assuming Valve has some agreement with credit card companies that states that the sale will only be final after 14 days. That way the credit card companies can hold on to the customers money for 2 weeks (collecting interest) before paying Valve. That eliminates extra charges while creating a little extra profit for the CC companies. Customers have a decent refund policy, Valve gets good PR. I'm assuming developers and publishers get their money monthly from Valve anyway, so there is no delay for them as well. Everyone wins?

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geirr

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I got a refund on a early access dinosaur human shooty thing that was super broken a long while ago. It's a bit fuzzy but what sticks out in my memory is how Steam called the refund a "one time curtesy" so that's something I guess.

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