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Korean Government Orders Apple and Google to Change 'No-Refund' App Store Policies

app_store_logo Apple and Google have been ordered by South Korea's Fair Trade Commission to revise their "no-refund" app store policies in addition to a number of other provisions, reports The Korea Herald. In response to the ruling, Apple reportedly stated that it would consider applying a revised App Store policy worldwide, with Korean officials requiring that Apple send a notice users when its terms and conditions have changed.
Following the FTC orders, the Google Play webstore will design a customer refund system based on Web developers’ refund polices. Apple’s iTunes app store will have to send a notice to users when it changes the terms in its contract.

"We expect the measure, aimed at protecting consumers, will have a ripple effect on similar cases throughout the world," the Korea Fair Trade Commission said in a press release.
In 2011, the Taiwanese government also pressured Apple and Google to modify their app store policies, with Apple enabling a 7-day refund period. However, it was unclear at the time what changes were made by Apple in order to comply with the law, as the company may have simply addressed it by granting refunds upon request.

Under the current policy, Apple does not offer an automatic way to get refunds for apps. However, refunds have been made available on a case by case basis, as users are able to "Report a Problem" on their purchases to go through iTunes Support. In May, Apple began preventing updates and reinstallation of refunded App Store apps, which was also extended to the Mac App Store.

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 3 weeks ago

"We expect the measure, aimed at protecting consumers, will have a ripple effect on similar cases throughout the world," the Korea Fair Trade Commission said in a press release.


Jeez guys, a bit full of yourselves aren't you... You think this is Gangnam-Style material?


“South Korea is ahead of other countries in dealing with unfair business practices


Joke of the century coming from a country run by chaebols.
Rating: 10 Votes
Posted: 3 weeks ago
They should just set up their stores where you can trial a full app for 24 hours, after it stops working unless it's bought.
Rating: 5 Votes
Posted: 3 weeks ago

Stupid idea. Apps are dirt cheap. If I spend $0.99 or $1.99 on an App and don't like it, then I've lost nothing.

I have made more expensive purchases (over $25) that I didn't like and a quick support ticket later I was refunded. So it's already possible to get refunds. Making it so that all Apps (including the $0.99 ones) can be refunded is just a huge waste in processing (for example, charging your CC and then refunding $0.99 later on).

If they do this it should only Apply to Apps over a certain price, just like many retail stores request a minimum purchase if you use a credit or debit card.


They could just offer store credit so its applied to future purchases leaving the credit card company out of it.
Rating: 5 Votes
Posted: 3 weeks ago
I'm all for a clear refund policy (and I'm a developer). People can already get their money back, but most don't know. And I believe if they know, they'll buy more expensive quality apps with confidence and everybody benefits.

However, 7 days is way to long. That's enough to play through most games. Even 24h is too long.

2h should be enough to figure out if the app sucks.
Rating: 5 Votes
Posted: 2 weeks ago
I'm unsure why so many here are hostile to the idea of some sort of a refund period or delayed charge period unless they are the purveyor of crapps. This would benefit Apple by giving people more confidence to buy apps and also help to separate the "wheat" apps from the chaff.
The biggest problem for the App store now is that there is way too much clutter.


With Apple having "call back" capability it would be easy for Apple to initiate a system where a consumer could download an app to try out for a specific period, say 15 minutes, in which time the consumer can cancel the purchase w/o being charged. The app is then de-authorized. After the 15 minutes the charge is completed. A try-out would be limited to one time per app per Apple ID.
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 3 weeks ago

I mean really? Are people really sweating .99 purchases this much these days? I'm not saying this isn't a good thing for consumers, but app prices have become so dirt cheap these days that do you really feel that burned spending less than a dollar on an app?


It's not a matter of money, it's a matter of principles. All purchases should be refundable if you didn't try what you are buying beforehand, which in the case of Apps and purchases via Internet in general is almost always the case. How much did you pay doesn't matter.
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 3 weeks ago

Stupid idea. Apps are dirt cheap. If I spend $0.99 or $1.99 on an App and don't like it, then I've lost nothing.


Doesn't matter if it is dirt cheap, it's about consumer protection... there are way too many garbage apps or untested apps on the app store.

An example is Shadow Run; while it is compatible with the Galaxy S4, it is entirely unplayable due tot he small screen size. Recently wanted to refund an Apple App Store game I bought my kid because I found out it had a gazillion IAPs that needed to be bought even tho I paid for the base game.
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 3 weeks ago

They could just offer store credit so its applied to future purchases leaving the credit card company out of it.


Definitely simpler, but probably won't satisfy the Korean Fair Trade Commission.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 3 weeks ago

Making it so that all Apps (including the $0.99 ones) can be refunded is just a huge waste in processing (for example, charging your CC and then refunding $0.99 later on).


They can authorize the card and settle it only after the refund window passes, if the refund window is small duration of time. I know Google play has a 15 minute refund window but they'll also refund you after that window has passed if you ask.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 3 weeks ago
This is a horrible idea. Apps that don't save any persistent data or aren't going to be used for long will keep getting bought and refunded. Need to use this paid utility for a week? It's free, even if the dev is asking for $30. Even if they prevent multiple purchases/returns, you can just use another account if you ever want to do that again.

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Good news for consumers.


No. Expect "free" apps with in-app purchases and loads of ads to increase in number.
Rating: 2 Votes

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