Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Android Market's Refund Period

Android Market used to be a wonderful place where you have a plethora of free apps for your phone and quite a big selection of paid apps starting from under 1 GBP to 20GBP and more. Something that I really liked about this market was that you could download and install an app, try it out and if it turned out that it was not suitable for you, you could uninstall it and get a full refund quite easily right from your phone. Within 24 hours.

Today I downloaded an app from the Android Market, noted the time as just after 10 AM and proceeded to check the app out. This was a lock screen app so I locked/unlocked my phone quite a few times to test it, and then suddenly realized that it was letting me unlock the phone without actually using the unlock slider. That's not what I wanted! So, I tested it a couple more times, confirmed that it didn't work and decided to return it.

Oh, I was in for a rude awakening! I uninstall the app but didn't get the "Uninstall & Refund" button, just "Uninstall". I didn't think much about it. But then, I checked my email and the "refund confirmation" email didn't arrive. Hmmm, curious!

I checked the email that was sent to me when I bought the app and in there was a link for the Refund Policy. I clicked that and suddenly was confronted with this text:

"You have 15 minutes from the time of download to return an application purchased through Android Market for a full refund."

15 minutes?!! Now that's what I call absolutely ridiculous! The 24-hour window for refund was reasonable, you could try out all kinds of apps in that time, even complex ones. 15 minutes is not nearly enough for anything like that. Of course, there are enraged Android users all over the world!

Much as I love Android and Google in general this is absolute bullshit!

Needless to say, I wouldn't be buying any more paid apps from the Android Market unless they have a trial version I can use first.

Rant over!

About the same time as when I wrote this post I sent the app developer an email stating the facts and saying that I am aware of the new refund period but I want a refund. I asked for their policy on the matter.

In response, a few hours later I got two emails. One from the Android Market telling me that my app purchase order had been cancelled. Second also, from the Market informing me that I was refunded in full for that purchase.

So, despite the 15-minute policy I got a no-quibble refund from the app developer company which makes me happy. It was not a big amount of money, it was just the principle of the thing. And I am happy to see that developers have good ethics and cooperative policies.

However, this doesn't change my decision to not buy any paid apps from the Android Market as long as the 15-minute refund period is not changed to something more reasonable. 


Bikramjit said...

hmmm well it depends on the people who are selling what policy they want .. and upto us to take a look and then decide if we want or not.

But glad you got the refund back and yeah good idea not to buy till things are changed ..


p00ja said...

Well at least you have a refund policy in the west, in India most of the times, Im talking about general sales policies, they are least concerned about the after sales effect.
Like when I had purchased a Nokia cell phone, it came with some software issues, they told me they could not do anything about is as the seal of the box was broken. When i asked them how was I supposed to know without opening the box i was told that is the company's policy!

Sunil Goswami said...

@Bikramjit, yes, the company's policy matters, but I actually liked Google's policy of "Don't be evil" ...until now! I am definitely not happy about this one.

@Pooja, we can't even talk about the customer care and things like that in the Indian context, because we all have stories that would shock anyone who doesn't know the Indian way of life. Believe me, I have got so many stories of this kind. That's why I don't buy things from Indian shopping sites including Ebay and Rediff.

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