Microsoft is introducing a new "self-service refund" policy on its Windows Store, covering "digital products like games and apps" on Windows 10 and its Xbox One consoles.
A notification about the company's plans was spotted in the Xbox Insider app for those enrolled on the consoles' preview program today. Details of the notification's appearance were first posted by gaymerRaver on Reddit, but have since been independently verified.
The full announcement reads:
You’ve spoken; we’ve listened. In support of offering gamers the freedom of choice, we’re making changes to the Microsoft Store purchase experience by offering customers a simple way to instantly return digital products like games and apps through account.microsoft.com.
When a game or app leaves you wanting more, we're here to help. Self-service refunds on Xbox One and Windows 10 provide a quick, simple way of returning a digital product.
To request a self-service refund:
- Navigate to account.microsoft.com and sign-in.
- From the top menu bar, select Payment & billing > Order history.
- Navigate to a purchased game or app, and select Request a refund.
Please note the below conditions for requesting a self-service refund:
- Games and apps are eligible for self-service refunds within 14 days of purchase if you have less than 2 hours of play time across all accounts.
- DLC, season passes, and add-ons are not eligible for self-service refunds.
- The game or app must be downloaded and launched before requesting a self-service refund.
- You must wait for at least 1 day after the game or app's release before requesting a self-service refund.
- Certain Windows 10 apps may not be eligible for self-service refunds.
- Microsoft reserves the right to block access for users who abuse self-service refunds.
The new policy is similar to that previously introduced by Steam, with the same 14-day window for claiming refunds, and only after a maximum of two hours of gameplay. Sony's PlayStation Store also offers a 14-day refund policy, but it only applies if you "have not started downloading or streaming your purchase".
As the announcement points out, in addition to DLC, season passes and game add-ons, some Windows 10 apps will also be excluded from the refund policy. It's not yet clear on what basis apps will be determined as 'eligible' for refunds, but it's possible that Microsoft will simply allow developers to decide whether or not they wish to offer that option.
Microsoft also makes it clear that it "reserves the right to block access" to those who abuse the ability to request refunds.