back to article Google extends app refund window to two hours

Google has extended the period during which it will permit you to “return” apps to its Play store and receive a refund. As this archive.org link shows, as recently as September 3rd the “Return paid apps & apps” page offered a 15 minute refund window. Today's version of the page says you now have two hours before the …

  1. Nigel Brown

    Refund?

    I only ever opt for the free apps anyway. If there's a feature I want that's only in the paid for version then I usually seek out another freebie that gives me that feature. Guess I'm just ludicrously tight, or is it too many years of freetarderyness© :)

    1. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Refund?

      @Nigel Brown - I really hope that's sarcasm you're going for there.

    2. Phil Endecott Silver badge

      Re: Refund?

      > I only ever opt for the free apps anyway. If there's a

      > feature I want that's only in the paid for version

      > then I usually seek out another freebie that gives

      > me that feature. Guess I'm just ludicrously tight,

      > or is it too many years of freetarderyness© :)

      Thank you for reminding me why writing Android apps is still low on my to-do list, despite the large number of devices now in circulation.

      1. DropBear
        Big Brother

        Re: Refund?

        I really hope that's sarcasm you're going for there.

        ...because anybody who refuses to be a good little consumer as a matter of principles is clearly a dirty commie, and we don't take kindly to those types around here. Clearly.

        1. RyokuMas Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Refund?

          @Dropbear - do you love your job so much that you would take on a project knowing that there's a high chance that you won't get paid anything for it?

          Because this is exactly what that sort of attitude is saying to indie devs: "make me the best game you can, but don't expect anything in return for your efforts, and if you ask, I'll go elsewhere." This is why the fremium and in-app-add models have risen to the point where they are now abused so thoroughly.

          Developers are starting to realise that highest market share does not equate to best platform to target. As I've said before, while Android has about 85% market share, once you factor in that 90% of apps installed are pirate copies (search for "Android Piracy" and apply the median value), it becomes obvious that only 8.5% of the smartphone market can be designated "return-making Android" - less than that of iOS, and only about three and a half times that of Windows Phone. Add to this a huge maintenance overhead (thanks to the massive number of combinations of device, OS version and screen resolution) and low chance of discoverability due to a flooded app store (brought about by a low joining fee and no pre-publishing security/quality checking), and it becomes very unappealing. And this is before the slap in the face of "yeah, your app is good, but I'm not paying for it, go back to your day job".

          Yes, I know this is going to attract a load of downvotes - but then the truth hurts. I'm also not advocating Apple's app store process as perfect - in fact by my reckoning, it goes way too far the other way, and I'm waiting for them to require a retinal scan before allowing you to publish.

          But I thought that the whole point of Android being "open" was to make it easy and attractive to developers... too bad that this "ain't gonna pay for your hard work" is now starting to drive us away.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Refund?

            One of the Games developers was quoting 95% piracy on Android for his game but also 50% piracy on it for Apple!

            It's not all roses in the Apple Garden.

  2. silent_count

    Good

    This will solve the problem of apps (mostly games) which need to download a large amount of extra data before you get a chance to test if it works... by which stage the 15 refund window has already expired so you're SOL if it doesn't work.

  3. Cliff

    Not IAP's?

    Out of interest I checked out 'buy gems' on a 5M downloaded game, the warning was that IAP purchases were irrevocable and instant.

    I think it likely applies more to extra download apps and the fact you don't always have 15 minutes to test something at the extract same time as your credit card to front the cost. Or that a 15 min window relies on an awesome internet connection and no problems, calls, texts, emails interrupting your time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not IAP's?

      Of course not IAP. Image the scenario, you were having difficulty finishing a level, you buy some guns, finish the level (which is then saved), you would be able to refund the purchase.

      I would people would use their brains before typing.

      1. VinceH

        Re: Not IAP's?

        "Of course not IAP. Image the scenario [snip]

        I would people would use their brains before typing.

        Perhaps it would also help if people read the article before replying to a comment that appears to be responding to something in said article. It seems fairly obvious to me that Cliff read the article, and saw this bit:

        Why the change? Perhaps Google is mindful of the refunds it has been forced to dish out for in-app purchases, and likes the idea of giving parents the chance to cancel their offspring’s unauthorised app purchases.

        And he then decided to test it - seemingly doing a little more legwork than the writer.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About time.

    I ordered torque, by the time i had gone downstairs, plugged the OBDII adapter in, paired it, ran torque my 15 mins had already expired. Fortunately Torque is good software but WHY does software so flagrantly fall outside normal consumer goods law!!!!

    You get 28 days for most physical goods.

    1. MojoJojo

      Re: About time.

      One of the problems in the early days of google play was it had a 24 hour refund window. Which would be fine if it wasn't for people playing for a day, claiming the refund and then doing exactly the same thing the next day.

      Cutting it to 15 minutes seemed like an over reaction. 2 hours is better.

      1. DaLo

        Re: About time.

        What would be better is to allow each developer to choose how long to offer a refund from a set list. This would avoid needing trial ware and you could choose a purchase based upon the refund window.

        Some apps might be happy for you to use it for a week or even a month before allowing a refund (lots of PC software has a thirty day trial). Others, like simple games with no data download might require 30 minutes. It would also give a good indication of the expected playing life of a game.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Parents are still letting their kids use their phone loaded with a credit card, or not password protecting it?

  6. Tsung
    Angel

    Preloaders...

    All developers will have to do to get around this is have pre-loaders and in app purchase for the game. You get the pre-loader for Free.. (It could even be a trial version of the game, if the developer is feeling generous). To unlock the game you have to make an IAP, which I guess does not have a 2 hour refund window on it.

    Problem solved..

    1. DaLo

      Re: Preloaders...

      Why would a developer want to "get around this". If you had to do an in app purchase to even play the game their ratings would take a hammering. If the app is good enough people will keep it and they'll make much more money than trying to have in app purchases just to use it..

      1. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Preloaders...

        "If the app is good enough people will keep it and they'll make much more money than trying to have in app purchases just to use it.."

        @DaLo - wishful thinking, I'm afraid. Don't believe me - check Nigel Brown and Dropbear's comments above: if a feature turns out to require payment, it's time to find another similar app that offers it for free, because it's okay to expect app developers to work for nothing, despite a lot of them giving up their spare time to do so.

  7. kevjs

    Finally! When I first got android the window was larger and I was willing to give paid apps a chance to see if they did what I wanted (invariably they did) with the safety net of a refund if they didn't - since the reduction to 15 minutes I've been less willing to try (especially when that 15 minutes seems to consist of downloading and installing the app) - now it's been extended again it will encourage me to try some of these paid apps again.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CRAPPS

    Credit Refund APPS

  9. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    That 15 mins was always a bugger, some games are well over 400MB, so on a portable wifi connection it can take 10 mins to get the game, 30 seconds to start, 60 seconds to get through the company logo animations and 2 mins to watch the intro trailers not a lot of time left to decide!

  10. ElNumbre
    Thumb Up

    Useful

    I bought the Slingbox software and found that it wouldn't talk to my ancient slingbox. I used the refund service to get under the 15 minutes, but therefore didn't have any time to debug why it wasn't working, just that it wasn't. A 2hr window is better, but there should be a number of options for the developers (with a set minimum) so they can choose what they want.

  11. Richard 33
    Megaphone

    Distance Selling Regulations

    I purchased a copy of GTA for Android. After a lot of trying to get it to work at all, it couldn't download its data files, so it was useless. I couldn't even start the game. I asked for a refund, and was refused. Reopened the case, mentioning the Distance Selling Regulations, and was given an immediate refund.

    Know your rights.

    1. Aslan

      Re: Distance Selling Regulations

      What country?

  12. Steve Mills

    Genuine question

    Does apple have anything like this? I've paid for apps in the past but couldn't work out how to refund ones that were sub par. Generally considered my time to work it out was worth more than the £1.50 or so the app cost, but as a matter of principle i would love to know for next time.

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: Genuine question

      Yes they do. I've had a refund from Apple after two and a half weeks. I bought a translation app as I was leaving the UK for a Spanish holiday. I realised that it was like a schoolboy joke when I got to Spain and never used it again. I explained how primitive it was to the App Store when I got home and had a refund within minutes. Try a search for "Apple Help - Returns and Refund".

  13. Aslan

    I much preferred the 24 hour return window

    I appreciate the 2 hour return window over the previous 15 minute one, but I'd rather see a return to the original 24 hours. I owned an original Nexus One and now have a OnePlus 1. In between I owned a HTC HD7 a friend gave me after my Nexus One was stolen. The HTC HD7 was a lovely phone with one issue, Windows Phone. The hardware was great the Windows Phone OS made me hate, hate, hate it. I purchased more than 100 apps for my Nexus One. I only got a refund on one and that was because it insisted on root access when it had no business doing so and this wasn't disclosed in the description. On Windows Phone I only bought 1 app, Garmin Navigator / Garmin StreetPilot which at the time was the best mapping app that only required a network connection at the start. I'd rather have had one that didn't require a connection at all, but those were ridiculously expensive (as it was this one cost $30-50, I forget now, but in the absence of Google maps was totally worth it). In the two weeks I've had my OnePlus 1 I've probably bought a dozen apps for this and that. Some of my old standby's are going strong, others have been abandoned by their creators and I've had to replace them. Disappointing, but expected. I just don't feel that all apps can be evaluated properly in two hours. I'd rather see a refund ratio. Unlimited refunds within 24 hours if you keep 90% of what you buy, or even 80%, with human approval required if you need to return more purchases than that.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too late now. I bought an app that causes web page timeouts across my network any time I used the app to upload files to Dropbox or Google Drive. The thing was the cloud feature was a paid feature and couldn't be tested beforehand.

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