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Valve: Steam Support needs a restructure to better help customers.
Valve’s gaming platform Steam currently ranks as the top place to turn for PC gaming, but even the top company like Valve can have its problems. The single biggest issue presently plaguing Steam is its Customer Service. Steam Support, what Valve calls its Customer Service division, is where Steam customers (hereafter referred to as “Steam users”) turn to upon encountering any problem, be it a technical, financial, or community, with Steam. As evidenced on numerous sites, including but not-limited to the Steam Forums, Steam Discussions, and the Steam subreddit on Reddit, customer dissatisfaction with Steam has been steadily growing. Listed below are the two most common and frustrating issues Steam users have had with Steam Support. The length of time it takes for Steam Support to respond to customer inquiries (referred to by Steam as “Support Tickets”). There have been frequent claims from Steam users that they have had to wait as long as one to two weeks before receiving a response to their Support Tickets. Additionally, most Steam users report that the initial responses sent by Steam Support tend to be generic copy and pastes, often taken directly from the Steam Support website. In a world where most online retailers and gaming companies have live chat and/or phone support, Steam’s slow, online-only, often universal response system is baffling to both users and the industry alike. Steam reserves to the right to punish users with game bans, trade bans, and/or the removal of material which are considered “violations of Steam’s Terms of Service (aka the Steam Subscriber Agreement).” When asked for additional information regarding their punishment, Steam Support will not release any additional information to the Steam user as to why their account received punitive action nor will they accept or consider any type of appeal. While their standing explanation of not wanting hackers to know how they were caught is understandable, their insistence that their ban system doesn’t make mistakes coupled with their strict policy of never over-turning bans leaves many users fearful that something will someday go wrong and they will permanently lose the money they’ve invested in Steam. On a similar note, Steam Support has been shown to repeatedly accept Game Publishers submissions of content being in “violation of Steam’s Terms of Service” when the content is a screenshot of a game glitch or a polite, but negative review. Not only do these examples not violate the Steam Subscriber Agreement, but Steam Support responses to these issues are the same as when users contact them about a ban: the Steam user will receive a generic response informing them that it is the Steam Support policy not to provide specific feedback on removed content. The message users are left with in this matter is that the Steam Support will always side with Game Publishers over Steam Users – even when the Game Publisher is making false accusations and abusing Steam’s own legal agreements. We, the undersigned Steam users, request that Valve look into adjusting its current Steam Support protocols; increasing the size of its Steam Support staff; work on decreasing the time it takes to respond to Support Tickets, as well as trying to offer more personalized replies when the situation warrants it; stop allowing Game Publishers to abuse Steam’s Terms of Service to suppress criticism; and to find a way to reassure or even prove to Steam users that their account and/or games will never be banned without cause. Thank you.