The iTunes App Store was borne amidst controversy, albeit of the nerdy variety. Some apps were inexplicably banned while others were hypocritically allowed entry. Apple was sometimes doing too much policing of the iTunes app store and sometimes it wasn’t doing enough. Over the past few years, however, an equilibrium was reached and now it’s not too often we here of some app store snafu.
One problem, if you can call it that, that has also seemingly faded away centers on app store returns – specifically the fact that Apple doesn’t allow them. And let’s be honest, who hasn’t fallen victim to an intriguing $0.99 app only to find out we’ve been duped? But with the pricepoints for mobile apps so low and the ability to thoroughly research an app before purchase via a multitude of options, app store returns aren’t so much a problem anymore.
But Taiwan takes an opposing stance.
Earlier this month, the City Government of Tapei ordered Apple to adjust its App Store guidelines, at least as it pertains to their country, to afford consumers 7 days to return purchased apps. The order is rooted in the country’s Consumer Protection Act and aims to give consumers who download faulty apps an opportunity to be made whole.
WantChinaTimes summarizes what categorized these series of events:
The brouhaha started when local users complained that an iPhone app called Super Cell Phone Tracker, which they bought online from the Apple’s App Store for US$1.99, did not work at all and there was no way they could ask for a refund.
According to the App Store description, the tracker program is a joke and intended only for fun. However, not all buyers read the description before downloading the software.
And now Apple, which typically doesn’t take too kindly to orders, has decided to abide by the order. It remains unclear, though, just how app store returns will be implemented for iTunes users in Taiwan. While some initially thought Apple will roll out a new return mechanism via iTunes, some are now speculating that Apple may handle such returns on a case by case basis in which case users would have to go through official Apple channels to request a refund. We imagine this would work to prevent users from abusing the system and trying new apps en masse before returning them within the 7-day window.
And not to worry, the order was not specific to Apple as the order also applies to Google. The search giant, however, was somewhat slow in agreeing to the order and was subsequently fined approximately $34,000 by the city of Tapei.