Some app and game stores offer refunds for digital purchases, and some don’t. For example, you can get refunds for Android and iPhone apps, or PC games you purchase from Steam or elsewhere.
Apple’s App Store and Mac App Store
Apple lets you request refunds for apps you purchase, whether you purchased them from the iPhone or iPad App Store, or the Mac App Store. This same method also lets you request refunds for digital media like videos and music you purchase from iTunes.
This isn’t a no-questions-asked refund policy. You’ll have to “report a problem” with your purchase using iTunes or Apple’s website and wait for a response from customer service. However, if you purchase an app or game that doesn’t work well, this should save you. Just tell Apple that the app didn’t work properly or otherwise didn’t meet your expectations and they should refund your purchase. We’ve successfully gotten refunds from Apple using this method in the past.
Google has a more generous refund policy than Apple does. Within the first two hours after purchasing an app, you can request a refund for any reason and automatically get one. So, if an app doesn’t work well or a game doesn’t meet your expectations, you can return it without dealing with customer service. Just open your order history in the Google Play app and use the “Refund” option for a recent purchase.
If more than two hours have passed, you can submit a refund request and Google’s customer service representatives will consider your request. However, it won’t be guaranteed.
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Steam has an excellent refund policy. As long as you purchased a game within the past two weeks and have played it for less than two hours, you can request a refund and automatically receive one. So, if you aren’t enjoying a game you purchased or it doesn’t run properly on your PC, you can get your money back.
Valve reserves the right to refuse you refunds if you abuse this feature, but we’ve made extensive use of Steam refunds over the years and haven’t received any warnings. As long as you actually purchase some games and keep them without refunding them, you’re probably fine. However, if you’re constantly refunding games and never keeping them, Valve might consider that abuse.
Origin has a “Great Game Guarantee” that applies to many—but not all—games sold on Origin. All of EA’s own games are included, and so are some third-party games. As Origin’s website puts it: “If you don’t love it, return it”.
You can only refund a game within the first 24 hours after launching it. If you haven’t launched the game yet, you can only refund it within the first seven days after purchasing it. This is less time than Steam’s two week window, but you can play for as many hours as you want within the first 24 hours, while Steam limits you to a maximum of two hours.
Stores That Might Offer a Refund
Some stores don’t guarantee a refund, but do offer refunds on a case by case basis. You can contact customer support and plead your case with these stores:
- Blizzard: Blizzard doesn’t have a published refund policy for its online store, but you can try contacting customer support if you want a refund. “Refund game purchase” is one of the options you can select on Blizzard’s support site. Of course, you’ll have much better luck if you purchased the game recently.
- GOG: GOG has a “money back guarantee policy” that applies to every game sold by GOG. According to the policy, if a game you purchase from GOG doesn’t work and the GOG support staff can’t solve the problem for you, you can get a full refund. This only applies within the first thirty days after you purchase the game. You can contact GOG customer support if you’re having a problem and get a refund if nothing else works.
- Humble Store: The Humble Store says “refunds are issued on a discretionary basis.” However, if you’ve already played a game or redeemed a game key (such as a Steam key), your order is “likely ineligible for a refund.” The Humble support site provides instructions for attempting to get a refund.
- Microsoft Store (Apps): Microsoft’s website states clearly that digital Xbox games are never eligible for refunds. However, Microsoft does note that software (such as Windows 10 apps) you purchase from the Microsoft Store may be eligible for a refund in some cases.
Stores That Never Offer Refunds
The above stores offer refunds in some cases, but many stores never do. Here’s the shame list of digital app and game stores that don’t provide customer-friendly refunds:
- Amazon Appstore: According to Amazon, apps purchased from the Amazon Appstore are not eligible for a refund. Amazon won’t refund digital music purchases either, but they will refund accidentally purchased Kindle eBooks.
- Microsoft Store (Xbox Games): Microsoft says “you can’t return a digital game and receive a refund or credit.” However, you can refund preordered games and apps, which Nintendo and Sony don’t allow you to do. Microsoft began testing Steam-style “self-service refunds” for some users in April 2017, but they aren’t available to most people yet—and may never be.
- Nintendo eShop: Nintendo’s digital game store does not offer refunds. As Nintendo’s support site puts it: “All sales (including pre-purchases) are final.”
- Sony PlayStation: Sony’s PlayStation Store offers no refunds, even for preordered games you haven’t played yet or games that don’t work properly. As Sony’s terms of service puts it, refunds are never available unless Sony is required to provide them by law.
- Ubisoft Uplay: Ubisoft says “all sales on PC digital content are final.” Ubisoft will not offer a refund for any content you purchase through Uplay. You might want to buy Ubisoft games on other stores, like Steam, if possible.
Of course, you can always attempt to contact customer service and ask for a refund, no matter which store you purchased something from. But, if the store in question has a “no refunds ever” policy, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. Keep this list in mind when purchasing apps and games.
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