It’s been a long time coming, but it seems that Apple’s starting to tackle the conundrum of app refunds when it comes to mistaken in-app purchases. It’s not carte blanche on app refunds, but it is a new commitment to helping parents tackle predatory practices by developers that set their sights on conning children into making substantial in-app purchases.

Apple has begun emailing customers who have recently made in-app purchases. We won’t be attaching the entire email (you can get it here from the MacRumors team), but here’s the pertinent part we would like to point out:

Find your in-app purchase records. Check your email for iTunes receipts or use a computer to sign in to your iTunes account and view your Purchase History.

Use this link to submit your refund request to Apple.

Provide the requested information and enter “Refund for in-App Purchases made by a minor” in the Details section.

People have been asking for a refund system for years. Until now it’s been a long haul trying to get someone to refund your money. The easiest method, and the one recommend by Apple, was to contact the developer and ask for your money back. The problem with that, however, was the developer was stuck paying 100% of the refund despite only making 70% of the sale.

Is it really a surprise that developers are scamming children?
Is it really a surprise that developers are scamming children? Image Credit: Distimo

Given the theme from an earlier post about App Store tweaks, I’d love to add another update request: If Apple’s fine with people gaming search results, clogging up the system making it difficult to differentiate between the good and the crappy apps on the app store, the company should also be fine with giving people refunds. How many apps out there are blatant ripoffs that aim to confuse a user and trick them into parting with their money? I’d be willing to bet the number is quite substantial.

Today, one of the first interactions people have with Apple is when they head to the App Store to make a purchase. That first experience isn’t what it used to be, and that needs to change.