If you’ve ever tried getting a refund for an application that you hated from either Apple or Google, you probably know the frustrations that come along with getting your money back. It’s not easy, and in fact, in some cases it’s not even possible.
Taiwan on the other hand seems to disagree entirely, and instead of letting the companies, in this case Apple and Google, determine what the refund policy will entail, the government has fined Google $34,000 for not granting customers a seven-day trial period when they download applications to their cellphones. In Taiwan, all companies must provide a seven day cooling-off period for purchases made online, thereby giving consumers the right to return products up to seven days after purchase.
[quote]Taiwan’s consumer protection law stipulates that consumers are entitled to a seven-day trial period after purchasing any products via Internet, including cell phone software applications.[/quote]
How’s that for a government looking out for the best interest of their citizens? Of course, one company changed their policy to meet Taiwan’s demands, and another decided against it, instead opting to send an official from the US to Taiwan to have a conversation about the law and the fine. Can you guess who? Apple changed the policy and Google decided they knew better. Go figure.
Instead, Google is still giving their users 15 minutes to determine whether or not they want a refund. After that, they’re on their own.
What’s that mean for the rest of us?
Here’s some interesting nuggets from Apple’s Terms of Services found online. These are the only mention of refunds found in the document:[quote]
- Paid Subscriptions are non-refundable.
- If a product becomes unavailable following a transaction but prior to download, your sole remedy is a refund. If technical problems prevent or unreasonably delay delivery of your product, your exclusive and sole remedy is either replacement or refund of the price paid, as determined by Apple.
- Prices for products offered via the Services may change at any time, and the Services do not provide price protection or refunds in the event of a price reduction or promotional offering.
- Gift Certificates, iTunes Cards, Content Codes, and Allowances, in addition to unused balances, are not redeemable for cash and cannot be returned for a cash refund (except as required by law); exchanged; resold; used to purchase Gifts, Gift Certificates, or iTunes Cards; used to provide Allowances; used for purchases on the Apple Online Store; or used in Apple Retail Stores. Unused balances are not transferable.[/quote]
Apple doesn’t make it easy to get refunds for applications that are terrible, or outright suck. Previously you could use the Report a Problem tool in iTunes to request a refund, but now you just get forwarded to a support page for iTunes. More often than not Apple’s solution seems to be wandering in the vast desert of Apple’s support page. So do yourself a favor. If you’re looking for a refund, email Apple or call customer support. You’ll probably have better luck there than online.
Laws obviously vary from country to country, so we recommend looking into cooling-off periods for online purchases in your country or province/state before you make the call. You may find yourself surprised when you realize that you have a right to a refund for purchases made online. Also, don’t be surprised if the customer service representative on the phone plays dumb and tries to tell you that they don’t do refunds.