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For example, I'm playing a game where it costs $5 to upgrade one of my weapons. Thus I have an "upgrade cost" of $5.

When I want to downgrade my weapon and I only get $3 back for it, what would be the opposite word for cost?

  • Upgrade cost of $5
  • Downgrade X of $3
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how about "reward"? – A.Ellett Mar 5 at 15:21
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@A.Ellett I think reward is something you get for successing at something, this is basically about selling something back to someone. – Markus Meskanen Mar 5 at 15:22
    
Maybe it's a trade-in allowance – Jim Mar 5 at 18:33
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Or, using verbs, upgrade costs $5, downgrade pays $3. – Jason C Mar 6 at 19:36
up vote 32 down vote accepted

I think what you are looking for is a refund.

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1  
Refund seems like the word I was looking for! Thank you very much, I'll accept as soon as I can :) – Markus Meskanen Mar 5 at 15:23

I'd say "rebate". It is defined so:

  • n. A partial refund to someone who has paid too much for tax, rent, or a utility. The scheme eases the move to the council tax by giving rebates in the first year.

  • v [with obj.] Pay back (a sum of money) as a rebate. The government rebates part of your own and your employer's National Insurance contributions into the plan.

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4  
Rebate is too entangled with the semantics and context of the action, the base of the whole thing is a refund. It's nice to have a good, concrete synonym though. – Sakatox Mar 5 at 15:19
    
Thanks for the suggestion! I personally wouldn't have had any idea what the difference between refund and rebate is, but @Sakatox seems to have known. Thanks to both of you :) – Markus Meskanen Mar 5 at 15:24
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+1 for a good word that includes the notion that not all the cost is being recaptured. – Papa Poule Mar 5 at 16:14
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Rebate means something completely different from what OP asked for. It's not money returned as part of returning/exchanging the item bought but a (often deceptive) form of discount/price-adjustment on purchases. – R.. Mar 6 at 15:55
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@R.. It’s not my answer to defend, but in spite of the problems it might have, “rebate” does have the notion of “partial” already built into it and doesn’t require prefacing with “partial” to fully capture the “less-than-full” scenario presented in the OP’s example, unlike many of the other answers given so far. – Papa Poule Mar 7 at 0:26

If you described and named the second, downgrading transaction more in terms of it being a return of the original upgrade (instead of giving it the separate name of “downgrade”), you could perhaps call it an upgrade “return allowance (upgrade cost less fixed restocking fee/depreciation).
(example usage from ‘Wiley GAAP Policies and Procedures’ by Steven M. Bragg, via ‘Google Books’)

For a single word that you could use with “downgrade” that implies that some, but not all of the upgrade cost is being returned, there’s “downgrade offset," which ‘Merriam-Webster’ defines as:
6 : something that serves to counterbalance or to compensate for something else; especially : either of two balancing ledger items

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I suggest reimbursement:

The definition of reimburse is

  1. To make repayment for expense or loss occurred,

  2. To pay back; refund; repay

According to dictionary.com

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The form of the word to answer the question is reimbursement – Nayuki Mar 6 at 3:53
    
@Nayuki Thanks; will edit – James Roberts Mar 6 at 11:18

The opposite of costs is pays. A winning lottery ticket pays $10. Downgrade payment of $3.

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In the context of video games, I would suggest simply sell or sale price.

I would not use "refund" for this situation. What you are doing, in the fiction of the video game world, is selling the item to a vendor, and the vendor will probably resell it for a profit. This has much more in common with selling or pawning a good; the item has less value than what you paid due to usage or the costs involved in reselling it. You're not just taking the original good back to where you bought it; you are participating in a market where goods are exchanged. "Refund" does not properly connote this.

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I'd use "saving". It fits the situation better where one is merely considering the options. A "refund" is what you get back after you've made a payment.

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