Steam support sucks

For those that don’t know, Steam is Valve Corporation’s digital distribution software that’s used for buying, managing and playing games online. If you want to play any modern games these days (at least legal copies), it’s pretty much essential software. However, the customer service and support is almost completely non-existent.

Take this scenario. You get given a present but the item is incorrect; perhaps it’s a book that you’ve already got or maybe it’s a PS4 version of a game when you have an X-Box. You go back to the shop where it was bought, explain the situation and exchange it for something else or the correct version. Some shops might require a receipt but you’d struggle to find one that wouldn’t be happy to do the exchange and keep a customer happy.

I received a digital copy of a game which happened to be the wrong version. The guy who gave it to me bought it from the German Steam store and it was the German-only version of the game. At first I thought the issue was that I had activated the game while I was traveling through Germany but that wasn’t the case. I contacted Steam support to change it to the correct version. Instead of just exchanging the one version for the other (both cost exactly the same amount and it’s all digital so there is no cost for them whatsoever) I spent a month arguing back and forth about why it was only German and whether it could be exchanged. The final result?

Unfortunately we are unable to change the version of the game.

That’s right, a content distribution service which has been running for about 13 years is unable to perform a simple exchange. The best they could manage was:

We are unable to change the version of the game. We can only offer to move the gam back to your inventory so you may trade or gift it back to your friends.

Imagine going to a shop after Christmas with pants that were a size too small. Instead of exchanging them they respond, “It’s impossible to take these back and give you a new pair in the correct size but we can take them back and give you a new pair in the incorrect size that you can give to someone else.” That’s what it’s like dealing with Steam customer service.

The worst part is that this is not an isolated incident. A previous complaint of mine was about receiving an automatic infraction in-game for not being active enough. The match was already ruined by a feeder and there was no point drawing it out. Most of my team were waiting in base for the other team to end. I opened a support to ticket to rectify the situation and got the following reply.

We understand your frustration, however, our system is automated and we have no way of adjusting the status of your account.

Again, it’s apparently impossible for them to actually do anything! All this considered it’s hardly surprising that they were given an F rating for customer service and are being sued in Australia for misleading customers.

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