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What is the E502 L3 Steam error and how do you fix it?

Here's why you may run into the E502 L3 Steam error and how to fix it
Last Updated on April 26, 2024
What is the E502 L3 Steam error and how do you fix it
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Steam is easily the largest platform for PC gamers to get a hold of brand-new games, score some deals, and keep in touch with friends and communities, but nothing is perfect. If you’ve been frustrated by the E502 L3 Steam error, then you aren’t alone. In this guide, we’re going to tell you all there is to know about this error and what you can do to fix it.

You might run into this particular error while browsing Steam or making a game purchase, especially on a big launch day. In fact, this happened to us when trying to purchase Manor Lords as it launched, so we have some first-hand experience.

What does the E502 L3 Steam error mean?

The first thing to understand is that the E502 L3 error is generally nothing to do with your own connection, nor has your Steam account been banned. The good news is that it relates to server-side issue – in other words, something wrong at Valve’s end (the developers of Steam) and you’re probably not the only one experiencing it.

You’ll usually come across the error screen below while trying to contact Steam servers such as when buying a game or visiting it a store page. Like we mentioned in our intro, it can happen during a busy launch when servers are prone to overload. The same goes for when a Steam sale is on.

A blue cartoon character with a sad expression above the text "something went wrong" and a Steam error message "we were unable to service your request. please try again later. E502 L
“Something Went Wrong” – the E502 L3 Steam error, captured by PCGuide

How to fix E502 L3 Steam error

Fixing the E502 L3 error can be the matter of just waiting it out and allowing the stress on the server to pass by. However, there are a few things you can try to alleviate the problem as soon as possible.

Restart steam

The easiest thing you can do to simply restart your Steam client. The steps below explain how to do this in two different ways.

  • Open the Steam client
  • Click the ‘X’ in the top right
  • Right click the Steam icon in your System Tray (bottom right)
  • Click ‘Exit Steam’

Once you’ve successfully closed Steam, simply launch it again. Enter your log in details if necessary.

Cancel your pending purchase

If you’ve come across this error while buying a game like we did, then you may notice that your purchase is stuck as pending. We bypassed this error by attempting to purchase the game multiple times, cancelling the pending purchase in order to constantly refresh orders.

Check your own connection

Although this is unlikely, there couple be a problem with your own connection. Make sure your network connection is working as normal. Steam also have a useful Troubleshooting guide, covering issues related to Firewalls, malware, ports, and ISP issues.

Make sure Steam isn’t down

There’s a good chance that Steam is down in some capacity if you come across this error. You can check this in a few ways, but the Unofficial Steam Status website – steamstat.us – is a great tool that reports of services in different regions. Alternatively, you can use DownDetector to pinpoint an exact time when other users are reporting problems. In the example below, we saw a large spike at 2PM (during a new popular game release).

Screenshot of a steam platform support page showing options for Steam troubleshooting and a graph tracking server outages over time.

At PC Guide, Jack is mostly responsible for reporting on hardware deals. He also specializes in monitors, TVs, and headsets and can be found putting his findings together in a review or best-of guide.