Google's fifteen minute window for people to seek refunds on unwanted apps turns out to be a major inconvenience for many users.
Android marketplace last month took a big step towards changing its refund policy for paid applications, and many people dislike the new policy. The new refund policy, as stated by Google, lays out a simple principal: that if you do not like an application then you get your money back. The only difficulty is that in order to get a refund on the paid application the user must return the app within fifteen minutes of having downloaded it.
So users will have to install and try out an app, and then if they find they don't like it then they will need to ask for a refund within fifteen minutes.
The effects of this change in policy have already started showing amongst users and now people who download paid applications are actually spending more time reading about the application before they download it.
In Taiwan Google recently stopped showcasing paid applications in its marketplace owing to the continuing fight that arose merely because of the change in the return policy, when it was dramatically reduced to just fifteen minutes from 24 hours.
Now the government in Taiwan is hell bent on making Google modify its application policy for that country and apparently the country has a cyber law that states that anything bought online comes with a seven day refund. Google did not comply with the law and neither has it shown any interest in changing the policy, because of which it was fined $1 million and now only free applications are available to Android users in Taiwan.
The reasons for which Google changed its policy are still unknown but are totally senseless as an average person would definitely take more than just fifteen minutes to test the features of an application before filing for a refund, and Google's is the only store with such a refund policy. Take iTunes Store for example, where all sales are considered final. But whenever users have provided genuine reasons for seeking a refund, Apple has responded positively and we have never heard of the company fighting over an application refund issue.
The Amazon App Store uses something totally dynamic and useful in the case of applications as it allows users to try the app on a virtual Android handset before deciding to make the purchase. Hence, the chances of users being dissatisfied with a purchased app reduce greatly.
There will probably be many appeals to Google that it change its refund policy. The company will meet officials in Singapore on Thursday to discuss the issue, but based on how things have developed so far, Google is unlikely to step back.
If it happens it will be for the first time Google will foray into the smartphone hardware space without any handset partner.
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