Google sued over Play Store’s 15-minute return policy

March 17, 2012
44
52
4 43 5

Google Play

OK, we don’t know if it’s something in the water, but those class action lawsuits against Google just keep popping up like mushrooms in the rainy season. The latest such suite concerns the Google Play Store, previously called Android Market. It’s a classic example of buyer’s remorse (taken to a whole new, crazy, level) — two unsatisfied Android app customers, Dodd J. Harriss and Stephen Sabatino, are suing Google over the company’s 15-minute return policy and alleged misleading information on apps.

The two apps in question are “Learn Chinese Mandarin Pro” and “aBTC”, an Android BitTorrent client. Upon purchasing the apps for $4.83 and $4.99, respectively, the two gents soon realized that they didn’t particularly like them. But of course, the 15-minute policy prevented the two from getting refunds. As for the misleading bit, apparently, it’s Google’s fault for failing to make sure that apps are functioning properly and are compatible with all Android phones.

The two are seeking compensation for the damages they suffered, plus the legal fees and cost of hiring attorneys. Hmm, whatever happened to sending abusive polite e-mails to the developers and asking for refunds?

For your information, Google changed the return window policy for apps bought from the Play Store from 24 hours to 15 minutes,  back in December 2010. At the time, Google justified the move  by saying that the majority of users did their refunds within minutes, anyway. Yes, they got away with this excuse.

Google has some other class-action suits to worry about.  In February, the company found itself in hot water over the alleged circumvention of Safari browser’s privacy features, which forced the browser to accept tracking cookies. And the company is now facing a class-action lawsuit initiated by privacy groups that argue Google has violated several user privacy laws. In case you are worried about yours, check out this awesome guide on Android privacy, right here.

Do you think the 15-minute return policy of the Google Play Store is too short? What would you’ve done in a similar situation?

Comments

  • Dannyborst

    Suing over 5$? Not even worth it

  • Clell

    15 minutes is way too short to review some apps though.

  • Whatever

    Serves em right for being dumb enough to actually pay for apps

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZKDTU5JGNVLQUFXVAYK572LLRM Jeffrey

      Those “dumb” people who pay for things allow you to be a leech. If everyone was like you there’d only be crappy apps that hardly work, because who wants to polish something or struggle to make it easy to understand when you’re working for free? Well, there’d still be some people who put care into their apps in order to get popular enough to sell books, etc. but everyone can’t do that obviously.

  • AppleFUD

    Google dropped the 24hr return policy to 15 minutes because that’s what developers wanted and Google wants developers to produce more apps for Android. Therefore, the whole reason we have this stupid 15 minute police is Google trying to keep up with apple and crappy app developers wanting to rip people off–throw out enough cheap craptastic apps and people will buy a few of them before the reviews kill it and the dev will get paid because it’s near impossible to figure out just how craptastic many of these apps are within 15 minutes.

    Google! We don’t need more apps. We need better apps and having a good return time will ensure that the craptastic app developers go back to apple’s app store and proliferate it with fart and mirror apps.

  • TechGuy21

    how is it too short ?
    you dont get refund on IOS at all.
    i dont get people

    • Medicci

      Just because Apple gets away with it doesn’t make it right.

    • IJJ

      Yeah but you have to understand apple only have iphone and all the apps in apples app store are 100% running and compatible …. But androids has tons of shit phone that is not compatible with all the apps. That is the reason…..

      • Demetri

        only apps that will work on your phone show up in the app store. get your facts straight. for example, HBO GO app cannot be found in the google market for android 4.0 devices yet but its there for devices running 2.2-3.0

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZKDTU5JGNVLQUFXVAYK572LLRM Jeffrey

          True. The myth of fragmentation is totally overblown on Android. People who think fragmentation is bad on Android should try making a website someday, their heads would explode. Of course they’ll never try to program or build anything, they’re tech journalists.

        • Rastax616

          you so smart but you some what wrong… my fone doesnt support flash… but in my market theres flash shit all over the place… now go eat a dick nigga

          • http://www.facebook.com/Leo.Ascendent Andy Mulligan

            How very eloquent of you.

      • DroidMe
    • braindad

      you _can_ get refunds on iOS.

  • http://twitter.com/weisheatan Calvin Tan Wei Shea

    totally too short

  • cpc464freak

    Better than Apples!

  • Rekha

    15 mns is short to decide whether I like an app or not… still its enough to see whether that app runs perfectly on my droid or not..

    • John

      15 mins is still not enough. A lot of apps require an additional download of the actual game file after you download it from android market. Some games are a gig large and by the time you finish downloading it, it already past the 15 mins return time. For example, captain American took me 20 mins to finish downloading the game, after that I realize the game just isn’t work for nexus s… Until now still not working!!! So where and who should i get the money back? Lucky I only pay 10 cents…. If this game charge me for 5 bucks I would fxxking sue their ass as well… I think Google needs to learn a lesson on how they should maintain the quality of their apps and keep their customer getting rip off by some developer…..

      • nik gare

        This game is faulty – you are entitled to your money back. Contact the manufacturer for a refund, if that doesn’t work, then contact google for a refund.

        • http://www.facebook.com/zaim.de.noisy Zaim De Noisy

          not necessarily it could just take time to download that’s all

  • http://twitter.com/Justinflynn Justinflynn

    I don’t think it’s too short i just wish it was from when you actually open the app for the first time

  • nik gare

    The 15 minute return policy is for when you don’t like the app and want to return it.
    If the app doesn’t work on your phone then google is obliged to refund your money – they sold you faulty goods.
    Why do people fail to understand this?
    If you buy an app and it doesn’t work, 1st contact the manufacturer for a refund. If you have no luck there, contact google, they will give you a refund.
    I know this because I did this.

  • Vcmagana

    15 mins is not enough especially for those that need addition files to download

  • Faowkon

    its a 15 min window because any longer and its easier for people to abuse the system and copy tons of paid apps, and just return them and get both the app, and the money

    • Vincent lol

      Riiighhttt. And everyone’s Internet speed is fast enough to download a 1 gig game in 15 minutes. Use your fucking brain please

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/108837104756408823233/posts Tom Gray

    15 Minutes is more than enough time for try something out and return it. Prevents people form playing for an app and using it til they get board and returning it, essentially not paying for the entertainment.

    I do however think if the game requires additional downloadable data, the return period should be bumped to 1 hour. Large games often are not returnable due to the time it takes to download the games additional files.

    In the world of business, if people can find a way to grab some extra cash without working for it, they will. Thus lawsuits such as this are born.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t want to jump to any conclusions here, saying they didn’t try to obtain a refund from the developer or Google before suing; but the author of this article left that to speculation.
    But seriously $5 bucks, they must really have no lives, to be on a sue first if all fails ask for refund as a settlement strategy.

    Second of all it’s not Google’s fault, they don’t develop the Apps; They just make it easy for people to make their own App’s and upload it to the Android Market (Aka Play Store).

    Third before spending Roughly $5 blindly on an App do a little research to figure out if it’s compatible with your phone or not.
    How can you even complain when it clearly says that there is a 15 Minute Refund Policy.

    Do the world a favor people and stop suing for every little thing.

    Oh gosh Google collects non-personal information so I don’t have to see Penis Enlargement and Viagra advertisements, I know lets sue!
    Come on people their in the business of making money! Not holding hands.

  • Aussiebass

    When you’re a dumbass like me, it takes 15 minutes just to figure out how to use most (simple) apps. Maybe it doesn’t need to be 24 hours, but at least 6 -12 hours would be a bit more reasonable.

  • Sdfd

    its a part of a bigger problem google is trying to hide
    http://www.cbronline.com/news/security-hole-means-google-wallet-suspended-13.2.12
    hiding the flaw of the system huh

  • Michael Weaver

    How about those apps that you buy, download and then have to wait while it download “additional data downloads” of 20 or 50MB.
    That time is time taken out of my ability to get a refund!
    it took me three days to get to a WIFI area to download all that crap just so I could START the app.
    But my review was well over by that stage.
    If they want to make it fair, it should be 15 minutes (if they must) from the time I actually RUN the app for the first time, that would be fair and equitable.

  • http://digg.com/users/OmegaWolf Silver Fang

    I wish Google would compromise by having a two-hour return window.

  • jw915

    I think 60 minutes is a reasonable number. 15 minutes is too short.

  • http://This1That1Whatever.com/ David Wong

    I will be launching an app for both Android and iOS, and in addition to screenshots, I want to do a video that would allow the potential customer to get a better view of the app before buying. I’m thinking that will help with customer satisfication leading to less demand for refund requests.

  • Rich

    I am considering paying the $30 for the Sling Box App. I have no idea what the performance will be like in my area (3G). I don’t think it’s right that I could lose $30 after only 15 minutes of using the product, since my satisfaction cannot be determined after using it in only one location for 15 minutes!!!!

  • batman

    If they want to make more money from the store they can make sure you have access to paid apps from every country! It’s completely ridiculous you need to root the phone and install a market enabler to trick Google into accepting your money if you don’t live in the right location! It’s bad for app users and developers both.

    This 15 minutes return policy is also ridiculous, especially as they do not explicitly tell the customer about this short window of opportunity when the “refund” window first shows up. Obviously you wont ask for a refund at that exact point in time, but only after you have tested the app.
    I was caught by this myself as I bought a game that did not work, but spent more than 15 minutes to ask for a refund since I did not know about this rule, then I had to go through all kinds of hassle to ask the developer directly for a refund.
    Seems like a dishonest way of making additional money…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Whothehell-Cares/100002602711664 Whothehell Cares

    you don’t get a refund either when you’ve chosen the wrong version of an app [for keyboard instead of tablet] even though the Play Store mentions it’s compatible and the developer never answers your emails on this. Re: Swiftkey 3 app for nexus 7

  • Jakob

    I can argue both ways, I have made some apps where im providing a gaming guide, a guy refunded at the 14min mark and when I mailed him to ask if there was a problem he said “nope I read it quickly and was done” now is that fair for a developer? Get people who can go through my app quickly then hurry and refund it, no that is whats retarded. I can see if the app doesnt work and there are problems but come on people abuse it badly.

  • Ronce

    Does anyone know how easy it is to steal an application or game off the Play Store?

  • Ronce

    Does anyone know how easy it is to steal paid applications and games off the Play Store ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/zaim.de.noisy Zaim De Noisy

    faaaar to short that is a shame

  • dylanmk2

    Biggest flaw is games, some are up to 700mb and will not be eligible for a refund once the download is complete and running (or not). Bottom line is if this is the case or you needed time to test it the dev will more than likely give you a refund if you ask, i haven’t been let down by google yet.

  • TheBoss72

    At least you Android guys have a return policy. Apple gives ZERO. NOT EVEN 5 minutes to return a crappy App. Be greatfull.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Leo.Ascendent Andy Mulligan

    I love it, they don’t have to offer a refund at all. Very awesome of them to do this, only ever returned a few apps but still awesome.

  • Billybobjoe13245

    Too short? How! On iOS you don’t even get a refund! And Google does have a refund policy for when you need to get a refund after the 15 min. I’ve gotten 3 refunds like this.