Google Won’t Back Down on Unlawful 15-Minute App Return Window in Taiwan


No one really likes Google’s 15-minute return policy for apps purchased from the Android Market, especially the Taiwanese government. You see, there exists a law in Taiwan that states any goods purchased over the internet are required to come with at least a week-long window in which to return said goods for a refund. The company has pointed to the law and demanded that Google reconsider their return policy or face a $1 million dollar fine. Considering that the amount equates to mere chump change in Google’s pockets, its no surprise that the purveyors of the Android Market have stubbornly refused to refine their return window, stating that the law has no legal bearing on app markets. They cite a buyer’s ability to instantly try out paid apps after purchase. In the mean time, Google has pulled all paid apps from the Android Market until an agreement can be reach between the two parties.

Oh, if you were wondering, Apple was hit with a similar ultimatum. Their reaction? They complied with government requests and altered their return policy in Taiwan. Here is one situation where we’d be more than happy to see Google copy the actions of their biggest rival.

[Taipei Times via AndroidPolice]

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  1. 15mins is really a joke. 

    1. yeah, I don’t think they should offer any refunds at all.  Im sick of all the whiners including u and the rest here.

      1. ummm….. No, it takes 15 minutes just to download some apps let alone use them.

      2. Why? So Android’s biggest weakness in comparison to Apple, a weaker app ecosystem due to fragmentation, will be made worse? I own an Incredible and I’ve downloaded applications that my phone isn’t capable of running but luckily I have a chance to refund them so I don’t lose my money. 

        Quite frankly your opinion sucks.

      3. AHA…so its you who has been publishing apps and games with no Lite version for us whiners to try out. And then after we attempted to download it like 10 times we found out its not running well on our device because you forgot to test it on more than one device but it was too late to refund because 15 minutes already passed. Great tactic you’re using sir to earn some quick buck.
        Btw I think that if an app or game won’t keep our attention for more than an hour it should only be distributed with a price tag called “FREE”.

      4. and i’m sick of people saying there shouldn’t be refunds

      5. yeah, so what if most apps are crappy! Where can I send them our money?

    2. 1 week to try an app? come on, that is overreaching…

    3. Yeah, I’m wondering why they got rid of the 24-hour return window…  Several apps I’d like to try, but the 15 minute window just aint cutting it.

      So, I go and find a cracked one, check it out, and if it works, I buy it.

  2. I wish they would make it 24 hours at least.  Fifteen minutes is way too short when you consider all of the games that have enormous extra downloads associated.  There’s no way that you can get it all downloaded and see if it’ll run on your phone within fifteen minutes.

    1. That’s a problem that needs to be fixed, but after you have downloaded an application, 15 minutes is more than enough time to tell if you like the app or not. The problem is you have people who will download apps, use them, then return them because they only needed them for a short while. Think about all the people who would purchase games and then return them once they were bored. It’s not realistic or fair to the app creators to have a long return window.

      1. Then make games 15 minutes and productivity apps that have a longer work flow implementation a day.

        1. Or you could just download the free versions and see how those fit your needs and then get the paid version once you have decided? ThinkFree, Documents To Go, Office Sweet pro Trial. The more expensive apps generally have free versions. The cheap apps, if you really can’t be bothered to read the reviews and watch the videos… the 99 cents must not be that important to you.

          1. Wow Matt, you know me so well.  I love when idiots make sweeping generalizations based on…nothing.

      2. Any application that can’t hold someones attention for longer than a day probably shouldn’t be a paid app anyways.  I know that if I paid money for something that was that short, I would be very unhappy as it is.  A whole day was probably a tad long, but 15 minutes is a horribly short time period to base your in theory micro-payment on.

        1. What an asinine comment. Most computer games being sold for $60 cannot hold a persons attention for more than 12 hours and cannot be returned if they are open. How do you make sure you will like a computer game before you buy it?

          1. “Most computer games being sold for $60 cannot hold a persons attention for more than 12 hours”

            What is this based on?  Quit making stupid comments you can’t back up.

      3. Seriously? 15 minutes is not enough time for most apps. Say I download a paid version of an exercise app. Am I supposed to know everything about that app in the 15 minute warm up period? This is the reason that I haven’t bought an app since this policy has taken place. I have a low to mid range device (MTS3G) and not all apps function on it well. There’s no way to tell this in 15 minutes. Especially with something that pushes my phones processor by using gps or heavy data.

        1. Who are you trying to fool? I have purchased at least 30 apps and I have never felt like I was ripped off because I couldn’t try out the app long enough. The 15 minute window is there so that you can return the app if it doesn’t work, not so that you can judge whether or not the content is worth the amount you spent. It’s not Google’s fault that you can’t be bothered to do your homework before making a purchase. How about taking some personal responsibility instead of whining like a child.

  3. Copying an application (if you know what you’re doing) should take milliseconds. Trying out an application should take minutes or hours. Reducing the return window to 15 minutes as an anti-piracy measure simply makes no sense.

    24 hours was a reasonable policy. One hour is an absolute minimum.

  4. Any app that you can determine in just 15 mins if it’s suitable shouldn’t be even a paid app.

    15 mins is beyond being a joke… it should be illegal in the USA too.

    1. I don’t like the 15 minutes either, and think Google should go back to the 24 hour system, but to say it should be illegal in the USA is over the top.  Almost no other company in the USA will allow you to return an opened package simply because you didn’t like it or it wasn’t exactly what you expected.  Most companies only take returns if it’s broken or unopened.

      You buy an app, you have 15 minutes to return it after metaphorically opening it and seeing how you like it.  That’s far better than Walmart.

      Plus, we believe in a free capitalistic society where companies can make terms for purchasing their stuff, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy it. 


      1. The exception being Wal-Mart.  You can return anything to a Wal-Mart.  They never ask questions.

      2. Dude you obviously never worked at a retail store before. 

      3. you have no clue what you’re talking about!  Any item at ANY retail store can be returned (open or otherwise) as long as you have your receipt.  And many places will exchange the item with another like item WITHOUT a receipt.  you just got schooled son.

  5. I’m a developer and I agree that 15 minutes is waay to short.
    I thought that 24 hours was too long, though.
    Best would be to allow the developer to set the refund-period, but that may be too complex for the Android Market.

    A refund-period of a few hours would be best, in my opinion.

  6. At the end of the day it only hurts the developer community.  Now if the app isn’t “perfect” and brain-dead easy to use, I return it.  Before I would take a few hours “learning” how to properly use the app and implement it into my work flow before making a decision.

  7. I under some paid apps are just pure crap and people would like to return them, but I’m surprised there is even a 15 minute return window.  Go to any retailer and purchase some software (aka Applications, aka apps) from a store, open them, try them out, and see how easy it is to return.  In other words, you can’t do it.  Why should it be any different for phone applications?

    1. They could offer no refunds at all, like iPhone does in the US and everywhere except for Taiwan.  What that would do is encourage piracy.  People would not want to pay for an app they are not sure is going to work.  In the end of the day it hurts Google more than Apple.

  8. Its garbage. Half these games have like an extra 200 mb download after you install the initial app from the market before you can even start the thing.

  9. It’s easy google, just let the developers decide if they want to opt in for longer refund windows. Everybody’s happy in the end!

  10. Even the 24 hour return was WAY too short. The 1 week is only a descent compromise.
    Your not going to test a map application or a calendar app or any of a dozen other types of apps in 15 minutes or even 24 hours and be able to determine if it works well and doesn’t crash.
    It really does only hurt the developers, I simply will not buy 99.9999% of paid apps simply for this reason. Getting ripped off no matter how small the cost is still getting ripped off by a POS app you cant return.

  11. 15 min is way too short. 

    Yes some people may download it and return after use, but  you wouldn’t be able to return it on the 2nd time around anyways. Plus many apps would take longer than 15 mins just to download & install.  I often miss and get stuck with an unwanted app. 

    It makes me frustrated and wanting to try less apps and buy less apps. 

  12. That 15 minute return window sucks so bad.  Google treat us better! 

  13. In Denmark all internet purchases come with a two week full refund by law. No one has questioned the Android Market though. Probably because danish laws don’t extend to foreign stores, as the Android Market is (I’m guessing it’s US based).

    1. The Market in Denmark isn’t any more foreign  than the Market in Taiwan. Possible the Danish laws are based on the EU Distance selling directive and apply EU wide if any governments want to make a fuss about it.

  14. I have an issue with the headline – stating that Google won’t back down.  Google has already backed down – pulling paid apps from the market in Taiwan.

  15. Google has to obey the law of the land. You don’t just ignore the law simply because the fine is too small. If you don’t like the law in Taiwan then simply don’t operate there.

  16. honestly i give Google a lot of respect for this. they can’t budge an inch on a decision they spent how long deciding… Google is a user friendly company who has had a history of always thinking of the customer. i find it humorous really that the one time they ‘mess up’ by standing by their word they get mud flung all across their doors. what is that? sure 15min is short but i’m sure there was a lot of research that had to do with that number. Kudos, Google; for making a decision and standing by it.

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