EU residents are now able to obtain refunds on their digital Steam purchases.
The no questions asked policy has been introduced in an amendment to the Steam Subscriber Agreement document.
“If you are an EU subscriber [which in Valve’s terminology you become by installing the Steam client and completing registration] 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,” it states.
“Therefore, you will be informed during the checkout process when our performance starts and asked to provide your prior express consent to the purchase being final.”
That’s the catch, however. As spotted by Reddit, it seems that upon installation of a game users are prompted with the following warning: “By clicking ‘Purchase’ you agree that Valve provides you immediate access to digital content as soon as you complete your purchase, without waiting the 14-day withdrawal period. Therefore, you expressly waive your right to withdraw from this purchase.”
Therefore, refunds remains available for 14 days after purchase provided users have not actually downloaded and installed the software.
Also in the T&Cs is an explicit warning that users who tinker with their IP address via a proxy (normally to purchase or unlock games from another, cheaper region) can have their accounts terminated.
There’s also the usual stuff about users waiving their rights to take Steam to court as part of a class action lawsuit, much of which is exempt for EU users thanks to Europe’s consumer protection laws.
Steam last year began allowing users to self-cancel pre-orders.