UPDATED! A Valve Index Update: My Steam Support Experience Has Been an Absolute Horror Show (But at Last I am Getting a Replacement Headset!)

I am beyond frustrated. I am very angry,

Almost a month ago, I reported that my Valve Index broke. Since then, I have had a first-hand experience with the horror show that is Steam Support. I had previously read numerous complaints online about how bad it is, but it’s only when you encounter it yourself that you realize that Steam Support for the Valve Index ranks among the worst customer support experiences out there.

First, my Valve Index broke two months after the one-year warranty had expired. I opened a support ticket with Steam Support, and after trying various things to see if I could troubleshoot the problem myself at home (all of which failed), I received the following message:

On further investigation it appears as though your purchase is no longer covered by the Valve Hardware Warranty. That said, we’ll be happy to provide a refurbished replacement as a one time customer service gesture. Refurbished units are provided as-is and without additional warranty coverage. You can let us know if you have any problems, but we may decline to provide additional replacements based on availability and other factors.

Steam will email you a shipping document which includes one pre-paid shipping label, three commercial invoices, two air waybill copies, and one set of FedEx return instructions. You can also access them from the Help Site. It is important that you include all provided shipping documents and RMA instructions with your return in order to receive a replacement. Please review the Index Return Packaging Instructions to ensure no damage occurs while your package is in transit.

Please use the list below to prepare your shipping box:

1. Print the shipping label and place on the exterior of the box.

2. Include the following items inside the box:
• RMA instruction sheet, bar code up.
• Valve Index HMD.
• HMD cable.
• HMD three=way connector (USB/DP/Power) with power adapter.

In general, it takes a few days to evaluate and process the return shipment, but failure to follow these instructions can cause severe processing delays and you may be required to pay additional shipping costs to send any missing items.

Let us know if you don’t see the shipment notification email after waiting a few business days from the time your return package is delivered. We’ll be happy to investigate the shipment status for you then.

(By the way, the link to the “Help Site” in this message wasn’t a link. I have no idea what this “Help Site” was supposed to be, and no way to find it on the Steam website.)

This was a week before I returned to my office, so I waited a week before printing off the pre-paid shipping label, three commercial invoices, two air waybill copies, and one set of FedEx return instructions. This is when my nightmare really started.

I could not locate what was referred to as the “RMA instruction sheet”, with the barcode, and when I went back to my original support ticket, I found that Steam has unilaterally closed it, without any option for me to reopen it.

So I opened a second support ticket with Steam Support, which thus far has been ignored, despite my persistent attempts to get an answer to the question: where is this RMA instruction sheet that I need to enclose in the package I ship back to Steam via FedEx? After four days with no response, I finally begged for help on the r/ValveIndex subReddit community on Reddit, where another user shared with me the following:

It should be included in the same mail as shipping label. It looks like this .I blurred out rma#, barcode and serial#.

Edit:
The mail looked like this. If instruction sheet isn’t included in the mail as an attachement, you should be able to download it via link in the red box.

So, after ZERO response from Steam Support, I can now confirm that I did **NOT RECEIVE*** the RMA instruction sheet with the bar code, which I am supposed to include in the package that I ship back to Steam, It wasn’t part of the email I received with he pre-paid shipping label, the three commercial invoices, the two air waybill copies, and one set of FedEx return instructions. I didn’t receive it as a separate email. And I most certainly did NOT get a “Hello” message from Steam Support, with a link to download the RMA instructions!

I am ready to tear my hair out at the utter lack of customer support from Steam Support. But wait; it gets even worse.

After several days with zero response from Steam Support to my second support ticket (which referred to my first support ticket), today I tried opening a third support ticket, citing the serial number on my Valve Index headset. When I tried to send it, I got the following error message back:

Finally, in desperation, I searched Google for a Steam customer support telephone number, called it, and followed the menu prompts—to get a recorded message informing me that they do not accept phone calls about problems with Valve products, at which point I was disconnected.

So I am told to “contact Steam Support” and Steam won’t let me reopen the original support ticket that THEY UNILATERALLY CLOSED ON ME, they won’t respond to my second support ticket, they won’t let me create a new support ticket for my problem, and furthermore, they don’t give me the option to speak to an actual human being to report my problem and get a response. How the FUCK am I supposed to contact Steam Support if you cut off any possible way for me to contact them?

I immediately called back and selected the operator option, where I was finally able to leave a voicemail complaint expressing my dissatisfaction, along with my original Steam Support ticket number and my telephone number. I have no idea if I will get any response. THIS IS NO WAY TO RUN A COMPANY TO WHICH I PAID OVER A THOUSAND DOLLARS TO FOR A HIGH-END VIRTUAL REALITY HEADSET.

I’m now at the point where, despite how happy I had been with my Valve Index VR headset in the short time I used it, I honestly can no longer recommend the product, due to its abysmal levels of customer support, in case something goes wrong. I shouldn’t have to resort to begging for answers from the r/ValveIndex subReddit community that I should be able to get from the company. I shouldn’t have my support ticket closed on me without warning or recourse to reopen it. I should be able to talk on the telephone with a real live human being instead of dealing with the absolute shitshow of online Steam Support.

My options at this point are:

1. Wait and see if I get a response to my second support ticket (which refers to my first support ticket which Steam closed on me);

2. Buy a second Valve Index for parts (some people have reported doing this out of desperation, but given this experience, I don’t feel like I should spend any more money on Valve hardware);

3. Give up, and go shopping for a new PCVR headset like an HTC Vive Pro or a Vive Pro Eye. (There is absolutely no way in hell I am going back to The Meta line of products. That is a hill I am willing to die on.)

Ironically, I still have a working an Oculus Rift headset on my computer at work at the university, so I am not completely cut off from being able to access VR experiences. I can come in during the evenings and on weekends, close my office door, and continue with events and projects on various social VR platforms, such as filming episodes for Season 2 of the Metaverse Newscast with my co-producer, Carlos Austin. I am grateful that I still have that as an option. (This Rift was set up with an Oculus account well before Meta changed the rules so that you had to set up a Facebook account, and I intend to keep it that way. I am DONE with Facebook’s toxic social network!)

I still have to upgrade my desktop PC, which is getting a little long in the tooth, so I might shop around for my next headset, pick one a like, then shop for a new PC using the recommended specs for the potential new headset as a baseline while shopping for the computer. My next headset will not be a Valve Index.

In the meantime, I have my packed-up Valve Index headset and cables sitting in its box in the middle of my living room floor, with all the shipping labels, waybills, FedEx instructions, and a printed-out copy of all the back-and-forth with my Steam Support ticket sitting in a neat pile on top. I can’t ship it back because I don’t have the RMA instruction sheet to include with it, and I cannot get a response from Steam as to access it, so the box sits there. Every time I see it in the middle of my living room carpet, I feel a surge of anger.

Here is my final response to the second Steam Support ticket:

As a virtual reality infliencer who writes a popular blog about social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse, who has been unable to receive any acceptable level of customer support for my problem, I have written the following blogpost:

Valve Index Update: Steam Support Is an Absolute Horror Show (DO NOT BUY A VALVE INDEX VR HEADSET!)
https://ryanschultz.com/2022/03/12/valve-index-update-steam-support-is-an-absolute-horror-show-do-not-buy-a-valve-index-vr-headset/

I am EXTREMELY angry.

Given the complete and utter lack of any customer support (including the automatic blocking of me being able to submit another support ticket to get a response, plus ZERO telephone support for Valve hardware), I will no longer recommend the Valve Index to my readers, and I will never purchase another Valve hardware product from Steam ever again.

At this point, I am enraged at this shitshow with Valve and Steam Support. They have lost a formerly loyal customer forever. If you are shopping for a new PCVR headset, and are thinking about the Valve Index, heed my warning: DON’T. If something should happen to it, their customer support is horrible, and you need to factor that into your final purchase decision.

UPDATE March 13th, 2022: I have had a number of people on the various Discord servers I belong to agree with my assessment of Steam Support, and others who have reported good customer service experiences in dealing with RMAs and Steam Support. While I am happy to hear that some people have had no problems in dealing with Steam Support in getting replacements for Valve Index hardware, I am still very angry at the poor support I have received to date, notably the inability to get answers to my questions, since Steam Support has severely restricted the means of communication between customer and the support team, as I have outlined at length in my blogpost above. I should be able to get a simple answer to my simple question, and the fact that Steam Support is structured in such a way as to actively hinder that communication is unacceptable.

It has now been fours days since I posted my request for an answer to my question, and I have received no repsonse.

Steam Support had unilaterally closed my original support ticket and I cannot reopen it.

This second support ticket, has remained unanswered. I finally begged for help on the r/ValveIndex subReddit community on Reddit, where someone finally helped me confirm that I DID NOT RECEIVE AN RMA INSTRUCTION SHEET WITH A BARCODE, which I understand I have to include in the box ehn I ship back my broken Vale Index headset and cables via FedEx.

After several days with zero response from Steam Support to my second support ticket (which referred to my first support ticket), today I tried opening a third support ticket, citing the serial number on my Valve Index headset. When I tried to send it, I got the following error message back (please see attached).

Finally, in desperation, I searched Google for a Steam customer support telephone number, called it, and followed the menu prompts—to get a recorded message informing me that they do not accept phone calls about problems with Valve products, at which point I was disconnected.

So I am told to “contact Steam Support” and Steam won’t let me reopen the original support ticket that THEY UNILATERALLY CLOSED ON ME, they won’t respond to my second support ticket, they won’t let me create a new support ticket for my problem, and furthermore, they don’t give me the option to speak to an actual human being to report my problem and get a response. How the hell am I supposed to contact Steam Support if you cut off any possible way for me to contact you?

I am still very angry at the poor support I have received to date, notably the inability to get answers to my questions, since Steam Support has severely restricted the means of communication between customer and the support team, as I have outlined at length in my blogpost above. I should be able to get a simple answer to my simple question, and the fact that Steam Support is structured in such a way as to actively hinder that communication is unacceptable.

I look forward to your reply.

This is not over. I will post updates as they happen.

UPDATE 11:30 p.m. March 13th, 2022: Eight minutes after my last post, I received the following reply from Steam Support:

Hello,

I apologize for the delay. I’m sorry to hear about the bad experience you’ve had so far. We’re currently experiencing higher volume of tickets than usual.

Looks like it was a humane [sic] mistake from our side. We’re following a different process in this case, since we made a customer service gesture for your expired device. You only need to print the label and send your device to our warehouse.

We apologize for the mistake. 

Once your return is received and processed at our warehouse, which may take a few business days after it arrives, we will ship a replacement and email you the tracking information.

Steam Support
[name withheld]

So today I will be heading down to my local FedEx to send back my Valve Index and cables. Wish me luck!

UPDATE 12:29 p.m. March 13th, 2022: Box sent! Now I wait.

UPDATE March 15th, 2022: I have been informed that support requests close automatically after 14 days of inactivity. So it would appear that that is what happened to my first support ticket, since I had to wait a little over a week to print off the mailing labels, etc., to discover that the RMA instructions were not among the printout. In other words, nobody closed my support ticket; it just “died”.

I really wish that this sort of information was placed somewhere on the Steam Support website. (If it was there, I certainly couldn’t find it.)

UPDATE March 27th, 2022: I have received an email from Steam, and my replacement Valve Index headset and cables should be delivered via FedEx tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

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