Apple has taken steps to ensure that consumers can’t abuse its 14-day refund policy in the EU, following the discovery of a loophole which lets users keep paid-for apps.
Reports have spread online that some users have downloaded apps from the App Store and then asked for a refund, on the grounds that the app wasn’t quite to their taste. However, upon receiving their refund, users found that the offending app was still installed on their device and even still appearing in their ‘My Apps’ list.
As you’d probably expect, Apple wasn’t particularly happy about this situation and the company is now sending out notifications to users who claim too many refunds in a short space of time – effectively snuffing out their ability to game the system.
The guidelines that Apple has put in place to scupper refund exploiters isn’t clear, but one user reported that their eligibility for a no-quibble refund had been rescinded last week after they had been effectively caught downloading a bunch of apps and then asking for refunds.
A message was sent to the offender’s device when they tried to purchase more content, stating: “I acknowledge that if I download this app within fourteen days of tapping ‘Buy’, I will no longer be eligible to cancel this purchase.”
It seems like Apple was well prepared for the likelihood that some unscrupulous people might look to exploit its policy too, as clarification for the revocation of users’ privileges is clearly set out in the company’s UK return policy.
Apple’s decision to act swiftly and curb unfair abuse of its policies seems more than fair. The company has a right to protect its own interests and – more importantly – it has an obligation to protect the interests of developers who depend on the App Store to make a living.
For regular, non-sneaky users, the 14-day refund policy is still open, of course, ensuring that you needn’t take a risk when buying content from the App Store – so long as you don’t go too crazy with the cancellations.