One thing that has always bothered me about Apple’s app stores is the fact that all sales are final. While Apple has sometimes made exceptions – as in the case of its own Final Cut X – you can’t test an app for a few hours and then return it if it doesn’t live up to your expectations. Now, however, it looks like Apple could be slowly changing this policy. As MacRumors notes, the company’s Taiwanese Mac App Store, App Store, and iBookstore now allow for returns within a seven-day window after a user has purchased an app or book.
“YOU MAY CANCEL YOUR PURCHASE WITHIN SEVEN (7) DAYS FROM THE DATE OF DELIVERY AND ITUNES WILL REIMBURSE YOU FOR THE AMOUNT PAID, PROVIDED YOU INFORM ITUNES THAT YOU HAVE DELETED ALL COPIES OF THE PRODUCT. UPON CANCELLATION YOU WILL NO LONGER BE LICENSED TO USE THE PRODUCT. THIS RIGHT CANNOT BE WAIVED.”
Apple’s policy change isn’t just due to the company’s drive to help out users, though, but is necessitated by the fact that Taiwan’s consumer protection law requires that any product bought over the Internet to feature a “trial period” of at least 7 days. Google ran into similar issues with its Android store in Taiwan and was fined because of its violation of Taiwanese law. Indeed, Google and Taiwan are still at odds over this issue.
Is this Policy Coming to the U.S., Too? Probably Not
It’s unlikely that we’ll see a similar policy in the U.S., where Google offers a 15-minute return window and Apple only handles these things on a case-by-case basis. Still, I know that I’ve often shied away from making a purchase in Apple’s Mac App Store (where prices are generally higher than the $0.99 we’ve become accustomed to in the iOS app store) because I couldn’t try an app before buying it. It would be smart of Apple to allow for at least a 1-day return window everywhere – and this would likely benefit developers as well – but somehow I don’t see that happening anytime soon.