I sell Mann Co. Crates on the Steam Market, putting up 20-30 at once every now and then (I have probably 120+ on the go right now). Every now and then, Steam takes my oldest bunch of crates, removes them from the market, and re-drops them in my backpack. Why?

  • 1
    Could it be there's a maximum # of items you can have listed at any one time? ... Or a maximum duration an item can be listed for (before having to be relisted)?
    – aytimothy
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 4:24
  • 2
    If they remove your listing and put them back in your backpack, that wouldn't be called "refunding".
    – Keavon
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 4:50
  • It sounds like the title should be changed to something like "delisting", rather than "refunding" ?
    – Adam V
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 17:45
  • Yeah I've changed the title to something more representative.
    – Toomai
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 20:41

2 Answers 2


Items will expire from the Steam Market after a number of days.

While I believe the limit is 120 days (around 4 months), Steam/Valve doesn't actually document this anywhere.

Further testing by the original poster says this is actually around 180 days (6 months).

  • This seems consistent with my experience. I suspect I'll find out for sure rather shortly; my next batch is 119 days old as of this comment (19 Nov -> 18 Mar).
    – Toomai
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 16:55
  • I've had items listed for longer than 120 days. For example one item that I listed on January 3rd stayed on the market until I manually cancelled it on June 21th.
    – user86571
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 17:10
  • Okay I got crated just now (12-ish crates delisted sometime between 19 and 22 May), which is ~180 days (6 months). Looking further, the "My Market History" tab (which I've never looked at before) says the crates were "Acted On" "20 May" as "Listing expired". So this looks like the correct answer.
    – Toomai
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 2:13

I've had this happen to me all the time when Steam's servers get overloaded during the holiday sales. I put up an item for sale, a few minutes later the listing is cancelled and the item is back in my in inventory. When it's really bad, I have had to do this over and over before it sells.

I suspect you're running in the same issue I did, and my guess the underlying problem is with database transactions timing out. In order to prevent market items from being duplicated or lost accidentally the transaction has to be done atomically and this makes it rather expensive database operation. Since crates seem to be a popular item they may be subject to high degree of database contention. If a transaction can't complete fast enough because of this then it will end up getting cancelled. Apparently Valve's developers think the best thing to do when this happens is to dump the item being traded back in the inventory it came from and not relist the orders.

  • 1
    I don't think this is the case. The question sounds more like it happens weeks, if not months after putting the items up for sale.
    – DJ Pirtu
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 7:09
  • @DJPirtu That's not inconsistent with what I'm describing. It's just not happening as often because there's no event going that's overloading the servers. Also note that it would only happen when the order is matched with an another order. That's when the item and money needs to be moved between accounts atomically.
    – user86571
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 7:14
  • I see. Didn't read the answer well enough. You're saying that a purchase transaction times out, which leads to the enlisting being canceled.
    – DJ Pirtu
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 7:32
  • @DJPirtu I probably could describe it better, but I don't want to get too specific as I'm only guessing at what's going on.
    – user86571
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 7:40
  • That the OP's problem is related to your observations seems to be baseless speculation. If this was what is happening, it wouldn't be just the oldest crates and it wouldn't be in consistent chunks. Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 16:36

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