Android Market Refund Policy Redux: 48 Hours to Get Your Money Back?

UPDATE: According to one developer responding to Android Central‘s initial report, the 48 hour refund window may have been misinterpreted. The text of the distribution agreement still maintains the 15 minute time frame for a user to request a refund. The 48-hour period apparently refers to the amount of time Google has to actually replace the funds in the buyer’s account.

The Android Market’s original refund policy of 24 hours was more than a generous amount of time for users to decide whether or not an app was worth their cash. Then it was reduced to a mere 15 minutes, barely enough time for users to explore their purchases fully. Despite outcry from many Android Users against the changed policy, Google seemed set in their ways. Today a new version of the Android Market’s Developer Distribution Agreement has been pushed out, and a stipulation laid out in Section 3.4 tells the whole tale:

“Products that cannot be previewed by the buyer (such as applications): You authorize Google to give the buyer a full refund of the Product price if the buyer requests the refund within 48 hours after purchase.”

Yep, looks like we are now getting a full two days to toy around with app and game purchases before deciding if the money is better spent elsewhere. While some developers could argue that the window for refunds is now a bit on the long side, it’s hard to imagine any Android smartphone owners complaining about the change.

[via AndroidCentral]

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  • Thomas Riley

    The agreement has always stated 48 hours.

    It has been previously explained by Google that what they implement and what’s in the agreement does not necessarily have to match.

    I doubt Google will be changing the 15 minute window anytime soon, however customers could still always email the developer asking for a refund?

  • Tomato88

    So people need 48 hours to figure out whether or not the program they just bought is what they wanted? 

    Kids these days…

    • ahomad hosin

      I agree that 48 hours sounds quite long. but 15mins is too short to explore game or app completely. I remember once I bought an app, but it couldn’t complete the download process, don’t know whether it was my internet or the app itself, so I asked for a refund without even trying the app. that why they have to extended for couple of hours at least.

  • Jeff

    So as long as they put out a lite version for free there won’t be a 48 hour refund window? Or did I read that wrong?

    • toomuchgame441

      That’s how I read it actually. I think that would be more acceptable for both sides

  • bob

    I think this could hurt the quality of apps in pretty short order. There are way to many thieves and dishonest people out there for this to work in the overall consumers favor. People will be buying games and playing them for 2 days then returning them cause they’re bored not because the app was defective or low quality. People will automatically thing “its no big deal, its only a buck or two.” Multiply that couple bucks by the millions of returns this is sure to stimulate. Not such a little deal now is it? Developers will get discouraged and annoyed and stop focusing on Android product as much. A few hour window is plenty for someone to preview or make sure an app runs properly on their phone. Anything else is just begging fraud to knock on the door.

    • http://seventy8Productions.com/ Steve Steiner

      Yes and no Ian. Apps like Copilot require downloading maps before use, which might be done in 15 min to half an hour for some, but could take hours for others. That doesn’t even include having time to try it on the road. If you are already feeling like your taking a risk when you smack down $20 or sometimes even much more for apps like this, then don’t have time to test it before you decide you don’t want it, it can certainly leave users to feel slighted. There definitely isn’t a once size fits all solution to this, because all apps are different, but I can’t think of any apps which users can’t pick apart pretty well within 2 days, even if it is something like one of these GPS Apps.

  • pierrekid

    I think this is a great move by google. Its unfair that us customers have to pay full price for apps without the ability to at least demo that application. Half the games in the market take more than 15 minutes to download the extra material necessary to even run the game for testing. Now this forces developers who dont take the time to make a demo applpication to their product to open up a 48 hour window. Now we can actually feel assured that the money we are putting into these products are well spent.

  • http://www.xrks.com/ intangible

    48Hr max sounds great, however I think it should be up to each App as to the refund timeframe, and have that listed clearly in the market listing…
    24 Hr was slightly long, 15 Min was way too short… a few hours would be about right.

  • http://twitter.com/PhaseBurn PhaseBurn

    Some developers are above and beyond, offering refunds months after the app was purchased. I tweeted that I felt jewed by HD versions of apps coming out after I paid for the SD version (I’m not talking tablet apps, but that’s another peeve of mine – tablet specific versions that are separate costs), and a game developer (makers of Radiant, my favorite game, and EVAC) offered me a refund for all the SD versions of their apps if I provided them the confirmation purchase code for them and their SD counterparts. I didn’t even accept, but I was amazed to find the developer was willing to do so. So I think it’s all on the developers to keep people happy, and that people who legitimately are screwed by the 15 minute policy are going to be likely to spend more money since they won’t be screwed as much. 

  • Peter Hewitt

    sweet!  i’m assuming this will allow paid apps to be bought in taiwan, which had issue with the 15min refund window.  perhaps i didn’t translate my app to chinese for nothing after all ;)

  • Guest

    As someone who has an app on the market right now, this is getting ridiculous. People can and have ripped our apks in under 15 minutes, but 48 hours is way too long.

  • Unorthodox

    At last! Although I must admit 1 or two hours would be more than enough.

  • Jdog25

    I paid $8.99 for the full version of DoubleTwist’s music player through their app this week and when I tried to get a refund in 10 MINUTES I couldn’t find it on the market. I sent them an email at the 12 minute mark but they have yet to respond!!!!!!

  • Itchy_Robot

    Thank you Google! This was my main complaint about the Market.

  • paxmos

    Now that I sold my Android phone, they decided to change this…phuck you google.
    Also, I had bought 2 apps totalling $12.99 which google pulled from the market, when
    I inquired, they were willing to refund the .99 one and not the most expensive one. So,
    I told the google rep to go buy a jar of peanut butter and spread it on google’s executive
    faces…Phuck you google.

  • cherubdawg

    Why doesn’t Google just let the developer decide on the timeframe for returning an app? That’ll be win-win for everybody. If a dev sets it too short, then they’re a jerk and you don’t buy their app. If they’re really great people and stand behind their product, then they can set a very lengthy return time, and everyone loves them. Honestly, this is the best way to go, and it’ll render all these lame discussions about appropriate return times moot.