Valve Offer 14-Day Refunds On Steam In EU But Force You To Waive Rights Upon Purchase

Written by Neil Soutter on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 12:45 PM
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Most see it as a basic consumer right, but Valve has at last begun offering refunds on digital Steam purchases made within the EU. Sort of.  An update to the platform’s policy now means European Steam users can receive a no-questions-asked refund for up for fourteen days after the date of purchase, provided the game is not downloaded and installed.

The only problem is, an additional agreement on the purchase page forces Steam users to waive this right when buying a game. Valve just received a terrible 'F' rank from the Better Business Bureau but this move won't really help the matter.

Early last year Valve implemented a system to cancel and refund pre-ordered titles, but until now users couldn't expressly get a refund for any games bought outright on the service. This latest move is in accordance with the EU Consumer Rights Directive, which permits a 14-day cooldown period after any digital purchase, but Valve still seems to be attempting to wriggle around it.

If you are an EU subscriber you have the right to withdraw from a purchase transaction for digital content without charge and without giving any reason for a duration of 14 days or until valve’s performance of its obligations has begun with your prior express consent and your acknowledgment that you thereby lose your right of withdrawal, whichever happens sooner,” reads the updated Steam Subscriber Agreement. 

However, the checkout process clearly conflicts with Valve's Steam Subscriber Agreement. Agreeing to the terms and clicking purchase causes you to "expressly waive your right to withdraw from this purchase," and "without waiting the 14-day withdrawal period.

Mixed messages then, and hardly doing Valve any favours after it suffered the body blow earlier this week from the Better Business Bureau. Provided the image above doesn't override the Steam Subscriber Agreement then it's a good step forwards, but the majority of users seeking refunds are surely going to be those who have installed but are unable to play their games, rendering this alteration useless.  

EA's got a lot of stick over the years but it's definitely the leader in this regard, with its Great Game Guarantee on Origin offering no-questions-asked refunds for games within 24 hours of first playing it, or 72 hours for a brand-new title like Battlefield Hardline

What do you make of Valve's bizarre workaround tactics? Do you think more game trials should be introduced to allow users to test games before buying? 

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12:17 Mar-19-2015

I was expecting something like Origin's "great game guarantee", but this is still better than the nothing they had before...

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22:12 Mar-18-2015

Wow.... things really ARE different here in the states..... we're USED to jumping through hoops and "read the fine print" in order to return anything! Strangely I guess it may be because what I'm used to, I don't think valve is wrong.

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22:15 Mar-18-2015

And let me clarify..... I believe they are wrong in trying to skirt around EU laws, but I don't believe they are wrong in restricting refunds to digital goods by OTHER publishers that you have taken delivery of.

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22:16 Mar-18-2015

If you have access to the content, then in my opinion, any refund should be handled by the games publishers, because Valve has already done thier job and delivered you the content.

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18:22 Mar-18-2015

Origin wins for customer service, and its refund policy. But nothing else. My opinion.

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22:35 Mar-18-2015

Kindof odd when valve has somehow managed to piss off more people than EA, and people are actually talking about how EA customer service is "good"!!!! o.O

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12:50 Mar-20-2015

Better than Valve they meant.

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16:34 Mar-18-2015

Come the f on Valve. For one thing, you KNOW that in court the judge would take one look at this workaround and then tear it up, laughing hysterically and saying "you actually thought this would hold up in court?" Also, what is the use of being able to refund a game only BEFORE you play it? The only scenario that could be useful in is if you buy a game, read some crap review for it, then refund it. But that's not even remotely helpful in instances where you buy a broken game on release, which is where most of the problem is. Step it up Valve. Give us a real refund policy, like the sort Origin has.

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16:32 Mar-18-2015

How about the ability to get a full refund for the game up to 7 days after purchasing it, regardless of whether you've played it or not. And to control things, you can only get a refund for each game ONCE.

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15:57 Mar-18-2015

There's that saying in the gaming community: FAIL!

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15:05 Mar-18-2015

So customers can only get a refund on a product that they technically have no full possession of yet...? This is the equivalent of ordering something on Amazon or other online store but being eligible for a refund only if you haven't received delivery of the product yet... Because f@ck logic...

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13:53 Mar-18-2015

oh great. Valve pretty much is giving the middle finger to EU laws AND its customers. they really should take lessons from EA on this regard as the article says. their system is perfect and completely fair to everyone. This "refund option" is competely useles.. i never wanted a refund when buying a game because i do my research before i actually purchase it but i just might stop buying games directly from steam because of their douchebag policy.

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13:29 Mar-18-2015

This is a slap in the face for everyone who tought they were getting refunds for broken games or games they just did not like. What, was there a big number of people who misread the title of the game when pressing the "purchase" button?
This is just going to piss people off more... gj Valve

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13:25 Mar-18-2015

Looking how many games only last few hour to finish, is reasonable:
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Buy a game, play for some days, finish it and ask for a refund.

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13:37 Mar-18-2015

you can´t get a refund after you played the game or even downloaded it.

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12:51 Mar-18-2015

So no refund after you downloaded it?
What's the use of this then?

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12:56 Mar-18-2015

No use, really bizarre. A lot of sites are reporting it as a working 2-week refund, which it does look like at first, but waiving your rights at purchase seems a bit fishy to me.

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16:02 Mar-18-2015

Ah so that is what that smell is...!

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13:25 Mar-18-2015

Yeah I don't get it. This can't be some sort of legal workaround, this trick wouldn't fly in court. It can't be PR either since nobody's stupid enough to buy it. So it's either a mistake or Gaben & co have lost it.

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