News by Luke Jones on Monday July 07, 2014.
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Getting a refund for an app on either the iOS App Store or Google Play Store is like pulling teeth, but now in South Korea there is some relief in sight. The country's Fair Trade Commission has laid down the law on Apple and Google and is making the companies revise their refund policies to make them more consumer friendly.Anyone who has bought an app and found it either didn't work or was not exactly what it said on the tin will know how difficult it can be to get a refund. Indeed, for some reason app purchases have become a little like the Wild West and most consumers know to not even bother chasing a refund. It is arguable that companies know that most consumers will not fight over a few dollars and so the app world has become sort of unregulated, or at least that's the feeling for disgruntled customers. In Korea, the commission has laid down specific rules to Apple and Google, with each having to act depending on the unique models of iOS and Android. For example, Apple controls its whole ecosystem, so Cupertino has been ordered to make refund claims a lot easier, whether that is for receiving a dysfunctional app or when a kid splurges on in-app purchases. As for Google, Mountain View has to put pressure on individual developers to set their own clear refund policies. That is not all though. Apple will also have to keep customers notified when it changes any terms of service, while Google must stop apps that automatically charge at the end of a trial period. At the moment these rules are all limited to South Korea, but perhaps a precedent is being set here and we would love to see this become a wider thing. Apple is already warming to the idea and has said it may roll out these new features on a global level, although Google is standing firm and has no such plans. The FTC in South Korea is hoping its stance will cause a "ripple effect" that urges other such trade bodies around the world to implement similar rules. As for the us, the consumer, we can only welcome these changes as a very good thing. source: Korea Herald