I Can't Play My Video Game, Nor Can I Return It (Updated)

Stephen has a word of warning for Mac users who want to use their machines to play PC games: Don’t buy games unless you’re sure they’ll work on your machine. He runs Windows 7 on his Macbook Pro, but can’t get Fallout 3, which he purchased through online distributor Steam, to play properly. He asked the publisher’s customer support service for help, but was turned away at first.

Since Steam almost never accepts returns, Stephen thought he was out of luck.

He writes:

I bought a lemon game recently. Fallout: New Vegas. It’s effectively broken, and I’ve had problem after problem getting it to run decently on my brand new Macbook Pro booted natively to Windows 7 64-bit.

Well, I took my problems to Bethesda tech support. They don’t support Apple laptops. Even though I’m booted natively into Windows? Yes, even then.

So I bought a game for hardware they don’t support. How about a refund?

No. Bethesda won’t issue me a refund, they insist I go through Steam, the electronic retailer from who I purchased the game.

Steam has a well-established refund policy: never. Under any circumstances.

And here’s the kicker: if I issue a chargeback for the cost of the game, Steam will lock down my entire account, locking me out of *every single other game I’ve ever bought from them*.

Is there anything I can do to get my money back?

If you’re a PC gamer, how do you decide where and how to make your purchases given the difficulty of returning unusable products, especially to online sellers?

UPDATE: Stephen says Steam has refunded him for the game.