Downloads from Taiwan’s Apple App Store can now be returned for a full refund within seven days of purchase. Not yet seen in other countries, the move isn’t to implement a much-needed app testing mechanism, but rather to comply to Taiwan’s Consumer Protection Act.
In June, the Taipei City Government requested both Apple and Google to add a provision to the App Store and Android Market giving full refunds upon user request within seven days of purchase. Despite keeping an iron fist over its store, Apple complied without any objection.
Apple’s new terms and conditions reads:
“You may cancel your purchase within seven (7) days from the date of delivery and iTunes will reimburse you for the amount paid, provided you inform iTunes that you have deleted all copies of the product. Upon cancellation you will no longer be licensed to use the product. This right cannot be waived.”
On the other hand, Google refuses to go along. Kenneth Carter, an Android policy counsel, said the intent of the Consumer Protection Act was to protect consumers ordering physical goods by mail. Since apps are delivered over the air instantly, they can be tested immediately and returned within 15 minutes if they don’t meet the user’s expectations.
Users can also request for a refund after the 15-minutes window by contacting the developer directly through Google Checkout’s Purchase History page. If that doesn’t work out, Android Market Support can be reached as a last resort.
Google was fined by the city government for its noncompliance. As a result, all paid apps have been pulled from Taiwan’s Android Market. Google and Taipei have yet to reach an agreement on the matter.
For the rest of the world, there’s still no way to test iOS apps before purchasing, a privilege long enjoyed by Android users. The Android Market had been offering a generous 24 hour trial period on its paid apps, but the timeframe was shortened to just 15 minutes last year.