Fix: ‘An Unexpected Error has Occurred’ Error Message When Making a Purchase at the Steam Store

When the Steam store encounters any kind of an issue with a purchase you are trying to make, the purchase does not go through and you are presented with an error message that reads:

An unexpected error has occurred. Your purchase has not been completed. Please contact Steam Support.

An unexpected error has occurred

Unlike other Steam errors that prevent you from launching games on the Steam client or installing/updating games, this error renders an affected user unable to make any purchases whatsoever on the platform. Being unable to purchase games from the Steam store can prove to be incredibly infuriating, which is why this error really needs to go. This specific issue can be caused by any one of a number of different things.

What causes the “An unexpected error has occurred” error message on the Steam store?

  • Some kind of a temporary processing issue caused by a hiccup on the Steam client’s end or the server’s end, or a problem with the particulars of your order such as the billing address you specified.
  • An IP proxy or VPN being in effect. The Steam store is programmed to decline any purchases initiated while the client’s IP address is masked or spoofed.
  • The Steam servers are responsible for processing game purchases and other transactions being down.

How to get rid of the “An unexpected error has occurred” error message?

There are a number of different solutions you can use to try and get rid of this error and get your purchase on the Steam store to go through successfully, and which one ends up working for you will depend heavily on what’s causing this issue in your case.

1. Retry the purchase

You might be seeing this error message because of a temporary processing issue or some kind of a problem with the particulars of your order. In such cases, you should be able to successfully make your purchase by simply retrying it one or (a maximum of) two times. As you retry your purchase, double-check (and even triple-check!) the particulars of your purchase – especially your billing information – to make sure everything is in order and there’s no reason for Steam to prevent your transaction from going through. However, it is strongly advised that you do not retry failed purchases more than a few times in order to avoid overloading the system or sending duplicate requests to the system simultaneously.

2. Disable any VPN programs or IP proxies you have running

VPNs, IP proxies, and pretty much anything that masks or spoofs your computer’s IP address is a big no-no on the Steam store. Steam’s systems are inherently designed to prevent any purchases initiated by masked or spoofed IP addresses from going through successfully, so if you want to make a purchase on the Steam store, VPN programs and IP proxies will have to go.

  1. Launch the VPN program or IP proxy you currently have enabled on your computer.
  2. Locate the toggle or setting to enable and disable the program, and disable it.
    Disable the VPN application

If you have a VPN set up locally on your computer, you are going to have to disable it for the time being if you want to be able to make purchases on the Steam store. You will also have to make sure any other programs or utilities capable of masking your computer’s IP address are not in effect.

3. Wait for the underlying issue to be resolved

If none of the solutions listed and described above have worked for you, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing this problem because the Steam servers responsible for processing purchases and other transactions are down. If that is true, there is not really much for you to do but wait for these servers to come back up again, at which point you can retry your purchase and it should complete successfully. Be sure to keep checking in on the problem while you wait for its underlying cause to be dealt with.

4. Contact Steam Support

If you seem to be simply unable to rid yourself of this error message and successfully make a purchase on the Steam store, it might be time to call in the big guns and contact Steam Support.

  1. Make your way to the Help section of the Steam store, where you are to specify the issue you are facing and select the purchase that keeps failing.
    Specify your issue and select the failed purchase
  2. Get in touch with Steam Support to find a resolution for your problem. The folks at Steam Support are extremely helpful and professional (and are actual people, not just automated responses!), so when all else fails, they should be able to help you get out of this jam and go back to happily making purchases on the Steam store.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.