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Apple's new EU refund scheme has a massive great flaw

Just before New Year's, Apple quietly changed its terms of services to allow iOS users in the European Union to get an easy refund on iTunes and App Store purchases, as long as you make the claim within a fortnight of buying the content.

But, as discovered by 9 to 5 Mac, there's a fundamental flaw with the new scheme.

Story

It is just so annoying that those who control the app stores can more or less screw as they want, effecting those who publish. But you try getting past them with the smallest bug in your game!

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Comments

  • ArmellineArmelline Member, PRO Posts: 4,862

    Those who want free apps will get free apps. Assuming Apple put at least vague abuse controls in place, this won't even be the easiest way.

  • MarcMySaladMarcMySalad Member Posts: 158
    edited January 2015

    "For now, Apple is basically making piracy effortless - I'm sure developers aren't too happy about that. "

    Crazy indeed...
    I wonder how Apple handles the situation with IAP...
    Just for the sake of it.. let's say that the user bought a 999 USD non-consumable item via IAP and then they contact Apple to cancel the purchase. Apple would be bound by law to refund the user in full. The user would not be able to restore purchases since the purchase would no longer be active on the Apple IAP-server but the purchase in the app in question would still be fully unlocked forever / as long as the app is on the device [thinking about this further - we could probably handle that situation by doing extra checks in our apps requesting purchase data and control rules based on the result and not just relying on a boolean... ].

    Then there's the question about how Apple handles the refund in relation to the developer. Apple has already taken its cut from the IAP [or for the game if it was a game that the developer charged for], would that cut be refunded to the developer directly - guess so but if not the situation is even worse.

  • jigglybeanjigglybean Member Posts: 1,584
    edited January 2015

    What stuns me, is that I just hate the EU. Conjuring up stupid laws designed for the stupid. Essentially, if you purchase an app for £0.79(remember these prices have also increased!), you have 14 days to get your money back.

    If you purchase a crap game from Steam, like Rome 2 for example as I did at launch, for £40, you're screwed! You can't get a refund. Sometimes, the EU beggar belief.

    2015 was supposed to be the year where more and more apps become paid, instead of free offerings. Yet another slap in the face for the indie developer is how I see this, because the major players can absorb this.

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  • ArmellineArmelline Member, PRO Posts: 4,862
    edited January 2015

    This is far from a stupid law, it's essential consumer protection. And Apple are between a rock and a hard place really. There's only so much they can do without annoying even more people. If they started reaching onto people's devices and deleting apps, there'd be even more of an uproar, even if their reason for doing so was legitimate. I suspect that's what they'll be doing in the future, but there will almost certainly be code required that isn't in iOS currently - to notify the user at least.

    This is a lot of fuss over a non-issue brought up by laws that, believe me, you want to be there.

    Until this tech is integrated (look out for it in the next version of iOS 8), Apple can avoid paying a fine by letting customers get refunds on whatever they want. And as there's no system in place to remove apps from your device, you keep the games forever.

    Apple are doing what they can for now, but will almost certainly put better measures in place once they've had a chance to update their store and iOS.

  • MarcMySaladMarcMySalad Member Posts: 158

    @jigglybean said:
    What stuns me, is that I just hate the EU. Conjuring up stupid laws designed for the stupid.

    That my friend, is a really stupid statement!
    Now let's keep the discussion on point instead shall we ;)

  • jigglybeanjigglybean Member Posts: 1,584
    edited January 2015

    @MarcMySalad said:
    Now let's keep the discussion on point instead shall we ;)

    Not really. Who needs 14 days to get a refund for an App? You pay, download, play it for a few levels and if you do not like it, you get a refund after 30 mins like on Google/Amazon.

    14 days is beyond belief. However, the issue with this story, is that when people request a refund, they get it, but the app remains on their device. It isn't removing it.

    Like Balls? Then click here! We've 100 coming soon

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Member Posts: 12,822
    edited January 2015

    @jigglybean said:
    Not really. Who needs 14 days to get a refund for an App? You pay, download, play it for a few levels and if you do not like it, you get a refund after 30 mins like on Google/Amazon.

    I can think of numerous reasons why you might need time return a game.

    You download the game and don't have time to immediately play it, maybe if you are like me you go on an app buying spree and grab 6 or 7 at once, you might not get around to playing games 5,6 and 7 until a few days later . . . Or the issue with the app only makes itself apparent after having played the game for an extended period, for example high scores are lost at the end of each level (where a level might take a couple of days to finish) . . . . in-App purchases are deleted when you start the app up, something you will only notice after having played the game long enough to want to buy in-App consumables . . . the app crashes when you get to the final boss level and you can never complete the game . . . Or you leave a large MB game downloading as you head off to work and completely forget about it until you next pick up your iPad later that week (happened to me more than once) . . . Or your internet connection goes down and are unable to immediately apply for a refund . . . You buy and download a bunch of apps as a gift for a little kid (exactly what I did this Christmas) that they will later play (when they unwrap their iPad on Christmas morning) . . . and so on, I could imagine numerous other reasons.

  • LovejoyLovejoy Member Posts: 2,078

    @jigglybean said:
    What stuns me, is that I just hate the EU. Conjuring up stupid laws designed for the stupid.

    All hail the USA.

    @jigglybean said:
    14 days is beyond belief. However, the issue with this story, is that when people request a refund, they get it, but the app remains on their device. It isn't removing it.

    This is definitely a cause for concern. Im sure apple is on top of it.

    Fortuna Infortuna Forti Una

  • unbeatenpixelunbeatenpixel Game Developer Member, PRO Posts: 534
    edited January 2015

    @Socks said:

    You may be right for some situations but 14 days? this is too long for app industry. they're killing the paid applications.

    I know one person on Twitter, this guy purchase application (usually games), he plays all game and after he wants refund. after all, share it on twitter and proud of it.

    If you give such a right to community, community full of shameless people, these people use this situation.

    and one last thing, if this can be popular on social media, some people are buying because they don't know how can download it as free. they don't show respect for labor. the only thing that compels them to be legal because of they don't know any other way.

    Check out my games on the App Store!

    Startup Grave / Wordgraphy / Polycolor / 20 Seconds / Minimal Maze / Lokum

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Member Posts: 12,822

    @onelasttime said:
    You may be right for some situations but 14 days? this is too long for app industry.

    The argument is really whether refunds should be allowed or not . . to the person who is going to steal your game (buy + refund + continuing using the game) the grace period is irrelevant.

    If you were to make the grace period just 1 day, then the person who wants to steal a game will simply download it and make their refund application within that first day.

    The other option is that users cannot claim a refund even on a game that is faulty or has been miss-sold (a game that does none of things shown in the preview images / description).

    @onelasttime said:
    You're killing the paid applications.

    Let's make it personal ! :smile:

    Yes, I am killing paid applications, I am evil like that, I want to see app development as an industry fail.

  • jigglybeanjigglybean Member Posts: 1,584
    edited January 2015

    People can already claim refunds, within a set time frame - which is more than enough. 14 days is just insane, regardless if you go on a shopping spree. Just seems so odd why the EU muppets are targeting apps and not computer games like in my example.

    Lets not forget, if you get your refund, as of today, the customer still KEEPS your app, so essentially it is free. Glad Apple quality control tested that out. They are probably too busy chasing down small indies over icon images with guns

    Like Balls? Then click here! We've 100 coming soon

  • unbeatenpixelunbeatenpixel Game Developer Member, PRO Posts: 534

    @Socks said:

    Sorry for the grammer mistake. English isn't my native language.

    They're killing the paid applications.

    Check out my games on the App Store!

    Startup Grave / Wordgraphy / Polycolor / 20 Seconds / Minimal Maze / Lokum

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Member Posts: 12,822

    @onelasttime said:
    Sorry for the grammer mistake. English isn't my native language.
    They're killing the paid applications.

    No problem :smile:

  • JSprojectJSproject Member Posts: 730
    edited January 2015

    @MarcMySalad you've got some interesting points there. Yup, would likely be possible to use info retrieved by the iap behaviors to reset a non consumable if its no longer valid (must only perform such a reset when the device is online of course). Regarding Apples refund they can't (I believe ;)) steal from you so if a user bought your app or iap and then requested a refund then Apple would refund their own part of the cut also.

    Good points by @Socks and @Armelline

    @jigglybean from your reasoning I suspect you are one of the younger guys and obviously uneducated in regards to the EU law so we must forgive your ignorance.
    Go read up on "The (new) Consumer Rights Directive" if you feel like it and FYI, computer games can be refunded too.

    I do however agree that it's strange that Apple currently allows the cookie to be both eaten and kept at the same time. They could have made iTunes detect the app as "no longer valid" to at least fail to sync it to device again and they could have made sure the app was deleted from the device. There are of course ways where this can be bypassed but that would be illegal. This current thing is something else, it's kind of a loophole that can be abused legally (since the cookie in this particular case is kept, something which was never the intention of the directive). Will be interesting to see which future measures Apple takes.

  • jigglybeanjigglybean Member Posts: 1,584

    jigglybean from your reasoning I suspect you are one of the younger guys and obviously uneducated in regards to the EU law so we must forgive your ignorance.
    Go read up on "" if you feel like it and FYI, computer games can be refunded too.

    You go and try getting a refund from Steam and see how far you get.

    Like Balls? Then click here! We've 100 coming soon

  • RPRP Member Posts: 1,990
    edited January 2015

    Yeah, that *EU comment went beyond the face-palm stratosphere. Study it up dude. Travel if you can. Worldliness is a good thing.

    • Man, I typed UN the first go lol. Sigh..I'm going to bed long dayyyyyzzzzzz
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