Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Steam Customer Service Sucks

Title pretty much says it all. Avoid any dealings with them if you can! If anyone is interested in hearing the details of my experience, follow the link below...

So I've used Steam for years, though only recently have I ever made a purchase through their system. Over the holidays, I bought several games during their New Years's sale. One of them, Mosby's Confederacy, never would work. It always locked up when I tried to go into a mission. I finally gave up, uninstalled it, and decided to ask Steam for a refund for that game (though I wanted to keep the other 4 games I had purchased at the same time since they worked splendidly).

1) First, I had to create a completely new account just to enter a ticket for customer service. Despite having this built-in cart/game launcher and updater/community service in one hand-dandy application, they couldn't add any customer support to it?!

2) Several days later I got the following response.

Thank you for contacting Steam Customer Support.

Unfortuately, refunds issued are based on the transaction itself and not the individual items within the purchase.

This means if you have requested a refund for a cart purchase, once the refund is issued, it will be for the entire cart purchase.

Note: Emphasis is mine. The spelling error with the word 'unfortunately' is theirs. Oh, the irony!

You have got to be joking me! They can't do line-item refunds? I can go to any store in the country, including McDonald's, and get a refund for a single item that was broken or non-functional or simply unacceptable. I worked for a number of retail shops in the mid-90s, including ones that used a computer system to track transactions and we could give line-item refunds. The company I work for now has a crappy shopping cart from the year 2000 that barely communicates with our other back-end server software, and we can give line-item refunds.

Yet here it is, 2009, and an online tech company that is hoping to position itself as a leader of downloadable games is unable to handle such a simple request?!! Utterly, friggin' ridiculous.


Anonymous said...

Nice story.

I ran across your blog by sheer accident while searching for "Steam Customer Service". Y'see, I have had some problems myself.

Currently, I'm living overseas, and so my credit card's registered address does not match my IP. So it came as no surprise when, a couple of months ago, I tried to buy something and the software said no. After spending a few days with customer service, I was able to complete the order and things seemed fixed....

Then came the free weekend for Team Fortress 2. I had a lot of fun, and since it was 50% off, I decided to buy it...and I hit the same problem as before. So, I contacted customer service and they did whatever it is that they do, and said that I can now purchase the game. The only problem was that the sale price ended while I was dealing with customer service. So I went back to customer service. They basically said that the sale was done (despite the fact that I tried to buy it before that and their system wouldn't let me...again), and that there was nothing they could do.

I sent another message and suggested several things, as examples, that they could probably do in order to have a happy customer and guaranteed sale vs a disappointed customer and no sale. In response, they closed the ticket.

I reopened the ticket and pointed out that they hadn't replied. So they replied that they couldn't do anything...the software is automated. I asked the guy to please put me in contact with his manager as the manager likely has more authority to deal with problems like this. The manager replied that the system is automated and there was nothing he could do.

So, it would seem that Steam is beyond the control of humanity. Perhaps it's the new Skynet. ;)

Please note, that the whole time I've tried to be quite positive, friendly, and helpful in my communications, and they've done nothing actually rude...but they've done nothing helpful either.


The fight continues.

Tholal said...

I also asked to speak to a manager, but never heard any response at all. I eventually just gave up. It's very unfortunate that they have such a lack of customer service, because I think that they do an excellent job of providing a storefront for downloadable content. I never have to check for patches or updates because Steam handles it for me. If I buy a new computer I can easily reinstall all my games. And while the community aspect isn't overly robust, it's functional, allowing you to set up friends and groups and easily join games with them.

But as soon as a problem comes along, Steam completely drops the ball.

UniversalCypher said...

i too, am having problems with their customer service. the thing is, is that customer service should be one of the priority values of your business. in fact, customer service should be above most other things.

i find it extremely frustrating that i have to deal with writing "tickets" and waiting for days between responses..and what of multiple responses?

the thing that is most important to both parties in this matter, money, is the supreme issue of customer service. i can understand problems with game play issues maybe taking a day or so..but issues with money/billing should be immediate responses..or there should be a phone number to call.

companies like Steam, try very hard to deliver the best product they can in a consistent fashion that customer service is overlooked simply because, maybe they feel you wont be needing it - yet, not matter what - problems will arise..

my issue is money based as well..and this is why it is more frustrating - i feel these issues should be handled immediately..not 5 or 6 days later..


joe said...

i bought L4D last year and made a new account. I installed it on my old (xp) and my card was not very good so the game didnt work. I uninstall-ed it to save space on my hard-drive. Got a new laptop half a year ago and installed L4D on the SAME username and same thing. Computer wouldnt play it so i uninstalled it. I got a new laptop (Win7) and tried to install it and it said that my CD Key was invalid (duplicate cd key error)

I sent an email stating my problem and my story to steam...(WITH A picture of my cd key).

Took two days to get a response. and they gave me a key to write on my cd key to make sure that i bought and owned the cd key paper. Then after a day they told me that the games cd key is not registered in my account. DUH i uninstalled it to save space.

I am very unhappy with Steam Customer support. It seems they dont care about customers at all.