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Are you App’y with that App? Clarifying the return and refund policy for Android, RIM, iPhone and Windows7

Posted by admin on Mar 24, 2011 in news, opinion, technology

app-refund

People’s attitudes to apps baffles me. Like, really REALLY baffles me. The way they react to a rubbish App is completely different to their attitude towards any other purchase they make. If you buy a dress that doesn’t fit you return it. If food is off, you’d get your money back. If you bought Monopoly that was missing the money, well, that’s straight back to the shop. People don’t like faulty, rubbish goods that fail to deliver- so why does that attitude not follow through when they buy applications? It’s REAL money that you have shelled out for that app, so why not reclaim it? You have purchased a service after all, and if it’s not lived up to expectations, well you deserve a REFUND. Refunds are available as well- they just tend to be fairly well hidden.

Before you start rubbing you head and telling me that you don’t need a refund, I’d just like to draw your attention to a few events in recent years. Reclaiming Bank charges. People said it couldn’t be done, that was just the way it was, don’t challenge the status quo, but helloo- the huge excess charges banks whacked on your statement if you were late paying have been declared Unfair by the Office of Fair Trading, and the amount you have to pay has now been capped, rather than spiralling out of control. This change was due to people MAKING a fuss, and getting their voices heard, so never just give up on something because it hasn’t been done yet.

What about the whole UK politician expense charges scandal? For years politicians had got away with letting the public pay for their second houses/ flatscreen TV’s/ moats, and then it all came out, enough was enough, and many hands got more than slapped. Just because something hasn’t been done YET doesn’t mean it won’t be, and I’m sick of the lack of transparency that the various Application stores have in regards to their refund policy. I’m going to tell you just how you can get your money back when you buy an app you aren’t happy with- and what we collectively can do to stop those companies keeping us in the dark about our App purchases.

Buying an Application from an App store falls under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 and the key elements of this (the relevant ones) are that:

  • you must give consumers clear information including details of the goods or services offered, delivery arrangements and payment, the supplier’s details and the consumer’s cancellation right before they buy (known as prior information)
  • you must also provide this information in writing
  • the consumer has a cooling-off period of seven working days.

Whilst most app stores DO give part one and part two of this to purchasers, I think you’ll find that they don’t offer part three- how can a 15 minute window (Android store) be a seven day cooling off period? Whether or not they say you only have 15 minutes to choose your refund, that is illegal in the UK, so you still have the FULL seven days to make up your mind. Just to be clear I contacted the Office of Fair Trading and asked them to clarify whether the application stores were breaking the The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 policy.

Read on to find out what the Office of Fair Trading replied and for my detailed GUIDE ON HOW TO GET A REFUND FROM EACH OF THE FOUR APP STORES- Apple App store, BlackBerry App World, Windows 7 Marketplace and the Android Market.
Read more…

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