Home Gaming Valve needs to work on its customer service

Valve needs to work on its customer service

2 min read


Valve might be raking in the users, topping 9 million concurrent Steam gamers – but it certainly hasn’t attained such a high user rate though its customer service.

According to Kotaku, the Better Business Bureau has awarded Valve the lowest grade a company can get – an F – saying that the company fails to respond to user complaints. Here’s a summary of the grading, as seen on Kotaku :

“On June 25, 2013, BBB recognized a pattern of complaints from consumers regarding product, service and customer service issues. Consumers allege the games they purchase from Valve Corporation or Steam malfunction, do not work or have an invalid CD key. Consumers also claim the company blocks users from accessing their library of games. Consumers further allege they attempt to contact the company for assistance, but Valve Corporation fails to correct the gaming issues, does not correct credit card charges or issue a refund, or does not respond at all.”

“On July 1, 2013, BBB notified the company of the complaint pattern. To date, the company has not responded to BBB’s request to address the pattern.”

The BBB it seems, isn’t too dissimilar from our own Hellopeter; a service that fields complaints and allows the offending companies to respond to them. Like our won HelloPeter, it’s mired in controversy, requiring respondents to pay for the right to reply.

Valve doesn’t think the BBB is a worthwhile avenue to go about responding to its consumers, though it does admit it needs to work on its customer service.

“The BBB is a far less useful proxy for customer issues than Reddit,” Valve’s Erik Johnson said. “We don’t use them for much. They don’t provide us as useful of data as customers emailing us, posting on Reddit, posting on Twitter, and so on.

“The more important thing is that we don’t feel like our customer service support is where it needs to be right now,” Johnson said. “We think customers are right. When they say our support’s bad, our initial reaction isn’t to say, ‘No, it’s actually good. Look at all of this.’ It’s to say that, no, they’re probably right, because they usually are when it comes to this kind of thing. We hear those complaints, and that’s gonna be a big focus for us throughout the year. We have a lot of work to do there. We have to do better.”

“We need to build customer support directly into Steam. We need to understand what’s the most efficient way to solve customer problems. Right now we’re in a state where we’re doing a bunch of technical work on thinking through how does a support issue get raised, who has to see it, how do refunds get issued within Steam—we’ve done a poor job on all of that up to this date. We think it’s something we really need to focus on.”

So if you feel that Valve’s customer support kinda sucks, you’ll be happy to know they’re aware of it – and plan to do something to remedy the situation.

Last Updated: March 16, 2015


  1. Blood Emperor Trevor

    March 16, 2015 at 15:37

    I’ve never had to deal with Steam customer support. Ever.

    The only problem I’ve had was once a Steam key that I got as part of an indie bundle didn’t work, I got a new one less than 5 minutes after mailing the people.


    • ReaperOfSquirrels

      March 16, 2015 at 15:39

      I’ve never had to deal with them either.


      • Hammersteyn

        March 16, 2015 at 16:00

        Neither have I. Though I only have 6 or so games on steam 😛


        • ReaperOfSquirrels

          March 16, 2015 at 16:04

          I’m sitting on 47… excluding F2P games…


          • Hammersteyn

            March 16, 2015 at 16:08

            I have probably half that number on GOG.com.

          • ReaperOfSquirrels

            March 16, 2015 at 16:10

            I’ve got about 12 on GOG… and last count of Xbox 360 games was 35.

            I don’t know how many PC games I’ve got on disk…

            Edit: Oh and 5 games on Origin

    • Ross Woofels Mason

      March 16, 2015 at 18:58

      Yeah I’ve never had to deal with customer support either. In like the 4 odd years i’ve been using steam. I think I’ve contacted Sony, Microsoft and Sony at least twice a year.


  2. Nahuel Graziani

    March 16, 2015 at 15:54

    I’ve had problems with them myself.

    Steam account got hacked and it took 3 weeks to get it back. I have a lot of games, so it was a big concern that I would lose my account permanently. I did not receive a single confirmation that my ticket was being looked at during that period, despite opening multiple tickets, some requesting some type of human response saying “We’re looking into it.”. Got it back in the end, but the whole experience left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

    They double charged me once for a game and it took a month to reverse the order. Never got to speak to a human either.

    I bought The Stomping Land and despite the dev leaving the game and running off with the money, Steam still refuses to offer refunds to anybody. That’s the only time I received a human response on a ticket. To basically say “lol, early access. Your fault.”

    Bought a retail version of HL2 (the whole reason I started using Steam) and the CD key was already used. They never honored me with a new key, despite sending them proof of purchase and the game box and serial numbers that they requested.

    Not a fan of their customer support.


    • Hammersteyn

      March 16, 2015 at 15:59

      “lol, early access. Your fault.” wow, why not just take a poo on your carpet while they’re at it? But in a sense why should the care. It’s not like you’re gonna leave them. Hopefully the BBB sorts them out.


      • Guest User

        March 16, 2015 at 20:27

        …I am getting the impression that you are unaware that the BBB does literally nothing but collect fees and has no effect on Valve’s operation. They don’t ever, and have never sorted anyone out.


        • Hammersteyn

          March 17, 2015 at 07:36

          No, I meant that hopefully the attention the BBB has given to the case will force Valve to have a look at their service.


    • Lardus-Resident Perve

      March 16, 2015 at 16:05

      Also had an issue with a key already in use, but mine was sorted in a day or two. One other thing was my complaint about massive update on Shogun 2, for which they referred me to Sega who sorted me out with a Gold Edition 😛


  3. Hammersteyn

    March 16, 2015 at 16:03

    Steams too big to fail, so basically they can do what they want. Replying “lol, early access. Your fault.” is not a valid response. I wouldn’t touch Early Access with Julius’s severed arm but some people get really excited for a title and Valve should probably take more steps to warn people against the dangers of these games.


    • Blood Emperor Trevor

      March 16, 2015 at 16:14

      I don’t have much sympathy for people who buy early access games & then complain when they’re not patched regularly or even completed. It’s a big “buy at your own risk” thing.


    • Blood Emperor Trevor

      March 16, 2015 at 16:14

      I don’t have much sympathy for people who buy early access games & then complain when they’re not patched regularly or even completed. It’s a big “buy at your own risk” thing.


      • Hammersteyn

        March 16, 2015 at 16:17



      • Deceased

        March 17, 2015 at 10:23

        I buy early access games if I think the game seems worthwhile and/or has potential…

        Stomping Lands is a great example… Didn’t complain, didn’t give a fuck, didn’t ask for money back…
        The reason for why I’m not making a fuss about it … I understand exactly what early access means and what risks come with it :/

        It’s quite simple – If you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, and money is involved, rather just walk away ( people get weird when money is involved )


  4. Ryanza

    March 16, 2015 at 17:17

    Oh it’s sad that when you buy a video game product and before you can play that video game product, you have to handover all rights that you have over that purchased product to same big corporation.

    Don’t Support DRM.


    • R1ker

      March 16, 2015 at 17:29

      *Edit: Witcher 3 is coming 😛


      • Ryanza

        March 16, 2015 at 17:56

        Yes the Witcher 3 is coming with the best launch that encumbers nobody. All gamers who wants to buy and play The Witcher 3 can do so. The retail version is pack with value.

        But what has that to do with customer service. The packaging of The Witcher 2 collectors edition was not the best and for a lot of people the statue was broken. CD Projekt RED replaced all those who had issues. So when it comes to customer support, CD Projekt should help sort you out.

        Witcher 3 will be available through Steam, Xbox Live, PSN, and their should be lots of people purchasing the game. CD Projekt can’t be held responsible for Steam, Microsoft and Sony, fucks up. Let’s add Nvidia to that list as well, for making Witcher 3 codes available when buying new Nvidia cards.

        I can’t relate Witcher 3 to customer service. Hence why I left it out. I do know when to use it and when not to use it.

        Buy your digital copy of The Witcher 3 through GOG.com for the best customer service.


        • Deceased

          March 17, 2015 at 10:27

          Ryanza bro, you seem to have intimate knowledge about the workings of CDPR… Almost to the point where I can reasonably assume that you work for them… WHEN WILL WE HEAR MOAR ABOUT CYBERPUNK 2077 ?!?! O.O


          • Ryanza

            March 17, 2015 at 10:38

            My guess, pictures and maybe a trailer by the end of the year. Gameplay demo at E3 2016.

            Then they can slowly keep us excited for another year and then delay the game for a 2018 release.

          • Deceased

            March 17, 2015 at 10:42

          • Ryanza

            March 17, 2015 at 10:57

            Cyberpunk 2077 should have had a good year of development by a small team. Most of the Cyberpunk 2077 team has been working on Witcher 3 for the past few, many, months.

            2017 – 3 years in development. Then a delay to make it perfect for 2018. You can just imagine how the fans will get. That Cyberpunk 2077 CGI trailer did something crazy to gamers.
            I just hope they will stick to PC release first before working on console versions. They have said that there are no plans, yet, for console versions.

    • Christopher Hart

      March 17, 2015 at 23:52

      It has always been like that because you are actually only purchasing a license to use that particular game/software, and that license has restrictions just like for example your car license. If you got your license in a automatic, you are legally not allowed to drive a manual.


  5. Kromas Votes LAG WCMovie Event

    March 16, 2015 at 17:31

    Origin Support is exceptional. Too bad I have to call them fairly often (about every time I wanna play ME2)


  6. Mark Treloar

    March 16, 2015 at 18:25

    Yes to refunds and yes to not continuing to sell products that are broken and not supported by the developer.


  7. fleshtwister

    March 17, 2015 at 08:50

    No problems with Steam on my side. I accidentally bought the wrong copy of Borderlands last week and sent a request for a refund. I didn’t think I would get my money back, but hey refunded me within two days.


  8. Christopher Hart

    March 17, 2015 at 23:49

    I actually wonder why some people have issues with steam. I have had my steam account since December 2004 (with my favourite FPS Half Life 2) and has expanded to well over 570 games since then. Only issue I had with steam was when I did a backup of Wolfenstein The New Order it could not restore the backup since a really ‘tiny’ file that should’ve been created was not burned on the discs lucky I modified another copy of that tiny file for each disc that was missing it and I was able to re-install the game without any issues. But remember there are a few ‘shining light’ stories always mixed in with stories that put the company into a bad light.


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