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Google sued over Play Store’s return policy

Posted: , by Charlene S.

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Google sued over Play Store’s return policy
It has been over a year since Google adjusted its return policy, on the then Android Market, from 24 hours down to 15 minutes. While Google claims that most returns occurred within minutes under the old policy, there are many that say 15 minutes is far too small of a window.

Two of those users in particular are Dodd J. Harris and Stephen Sabatino. Harris and Sabatino are suing Google for “breach of the implied warranty of merchantability” and “violation of business and profession code for unfair and fraudulent business practices.” This all stems from apps that were purchased that did not function properly and by the time they realized the issue was with the app, they were outside the 15-minute return period.

Back in December, Harris bought “Learn Chinese Mandarin Pro” for $4.83. He claims that it took him 20 minutes to figure out that the app did not function as advertised. Sabatino, on the other hand, purchased a BitTorrent client, aBTC, for $4.99 in January. He also claims that after using the app for an hour, he was unable to download a torrent. Both found themselves outside Google's 15 minute return window and ineligible for a refund.

Both users claim that Android users are being misled into thinking apps in the Play Store are in working order, compatible with all Android phones, and will function how they are advertised in the description. The suit cites that both Apple and Amazon do not allow apps into their respective app stores without testing them first. They are claiming that Google’s neglect to do the same, while still collecting a 30% commission on sales, is negligent. Finally, they state that while Google is aware that many applications do not function or do not function as they are represented in the Google Play Store, Google makes it “almost impossible to return the application for a refund.”

The pair is seeking damages for every resident in California who has purchased a defective Android app as well as attorney and legal fees.

source: PaidContent via AndroidAuthority

31 Comments
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posted on 17 Mar 2012, 23:10 13

1. darktranquillity (Posts: 284; Member since: 28 Feb 2012)


This is the only suit where i want android to fail. No one needs a day to see how an app works, just give us 30-60 minutes, 15 minutes is freaking unjustifiable.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 13:23 1

20. sprockkets (Posts: 944; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


You do know you can still get a refund via the developer or seller of the app right? It isn't as if after 15 min all hope of a refund is done?

Yes, I know it won't be as easy or you may get no response, but it isn't as if Google is uh, so fraudulent here.

Sue first, ask questions never. I bet neither of them tried to contact the developer first before suing.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 14:45

25. danwatson (Posts: 102; Member since: 03 Jan 2012)


Especially with apps that need configuration like launchers. Or apps that have frequent crashes...most of that would not be seen in 15min

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 19:55

27. cybervlad81 (Posts: 83; Member since: 04 Apr 2011)


The reason I see that this needs to be amended is, they upped the max size of an app to the point that on 3g connections it could take more than 15 minutes just to download the thing, and even if they waited until install to count, which I don't believe they do, I will probably had sat my phone down waiting for it to finish. and not be available to use it right away. Just my opinion though.

posted on 19 Mar 2012, 01:28 1

29. xtremesv (Posts: 180; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)


At least Android users have refunds. Last week I bought a $5 app for my iPad that didn't work the way I was expecting, I wish I had got those 15 minutes. I wrote Apple about my problem and they said I had to contact the developer directly. I feel stolen.

posted on 17 Mar 2012, 23:16 10

2. clevername (Posts: 1407; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


Most suits like this get a BS call from me but I gotta say I'm inclined to agree with these guys. Sometimes it does take more than 15 minutes to find out a feature isn't working properly or that the bug is in the code and not a user mistake. There are even sometimes when I download an app on my way outta the house, Won't have time to check it until later on. Google should be more flexible if they aren't going to guarantee device compatibility or app reliability.

posted on 17 Mar 2012, 23:38 6

3. theBankRobber (Posts: 642; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


Heres one of the most examples, GAMES....... games that require you to download additional data to play the game can take a long time. Way longer then 15mins.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 02:53

10. pimpollofelice123 (Posts: 30; Member since: 02 Jul 2011)


your 15 mins dont start until the additional data finishes downloading. They just change that like a week ago or so.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 10:31 3

16. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


i don't think so.. the return policy is in effect right after you purchase the app itself, regardless whether it is game or other app..

and yeah, sometimes even the pop up says it will take more than two hours to download, the recent example being Real Racing 2 for me.. and MW3 took almost 3 hours.. waaaaaayyyy more than 15 mins..

the best is for games like these to have preview app, so that we can test before buying, and the return period to be extended to at least an hour (preferably 3 hours) for the sake of other apps (non games)..

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 22:18

28. pimpollofelice123 (Posts: 30; Member since: 02 Jul 2011)


"As a further benefit, the refund period won't initiate until the entire download completes"

http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/05/android-market-4gb-app-limit/

posted on 17 Mar 2012, 23:43 3

4. Sniggly (Posts: 6496; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


While i did think the reduction in the refund period was silly, and i would like Google to change it, i hope there's no huge settlement over such a minor issue.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 03:01 4

11. CM_Punk (banned) (Posts: 173; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


Yup, nothing minor about getting only 15 minutes to try an app considering it takes longer to get an actual feel out of some apps. Plus the misleading info is just icing on the cake.

posted on 17 Mar 2012, 23:43

5. drahmad (Posts: 478; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)


why is every one suing Google? has Google sued any one ever?

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 00:20 6

7. Lucas777 (Posts: 2121; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


that is such an illogical argument… thats like saying oh this guy never buys items from my store so i better not buy items from his… also just cause one guy never does anything wrong doesnt mean he wont in the future…

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 08:53

15. drahmad (Posts: 478; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)


except that you do not understand what i want to say

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 03:01 2

12. CM_Punk (banned) (Posts: 173; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


Because Google deserves it. Everything they change, it gets worse.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 10:37 7

18. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


at least there is still change.. unlike the 5 years old UI..

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 14:11

22. CM_Punk (banned) (Posts: 173; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


You mean like how Android is still the same thing it was when it first launched?

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 19:38

26. protozeloz (Posts: 5328; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


LOL thats a nice joke

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 10:32 7

17. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


because Google is not a cry baby.. and they don't find fault in others..

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 00:02 7

6. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 616; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


Why did they change it from 24 hours to 15 minutes? Mr. Schmidt get on this right now and fix it, this is a stupid change. Sometimes I download an app and I won't run it right away because of I don't know, my battery dies, lol. 24 hours is enough time to check the program and choose whether or not I want to keep or rid myself of it.

A lot of crap in the suit, claiming that Google misleads you to think that all apps work, not sure about that one. Apps will work on the phone that is up to date with OS updates, if your phone can't see the app on the store then you can't download it. Anyway usually before you purchase an app you can read what others have said about the app, I take it the plaintiffs in this case didn't do that. Shoot before I spend cash I will get info on what i am about to spend the cash on.

Anyway this policy needs to be returned to it's former, 24 hours is enough time to make up your mind. 15 minutes get serious, no one really gets their head around any app that fast.

posted on 19 Mar 2012, 13:57

31. shimmyx20 (Posts: 280; Member since: 03 Mar 2009)


24 hours is too long, IMO. Too many developers were getting screwed. Last thing they want to do is scare developers away from the platform and send them to Apple.

Best option I think would be to change it to one hour.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 00:40 8

8. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


3hours minimum, sometimes when playing big games, you come to a level it just crashed.
Dang! Your Money went away...
However when you think about it, many people download apps on the go then try it later when they are free, even 3hours wouldn't be enough. 12hours is probably right. Because in 24hours you might already finished a game.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 01:51 11

9. Whateverman (Posts: 3162; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Change it back Google! All this will do is send us all to Amazon and GetJar for paid apps.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 03:02 3

13. CM_Punk (banned) (Posts: 173; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


The market is the place to go for bottom of the barrel apps.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 03:31 13

14. frydaexiii (Posts: 1157; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


And the apps store is a place you go for top of the range fart apps...

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 14:12

23. CM_Punk (banned) (Posts: 173; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


At least I want have to worry about catching a virus on that fart app.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 12:06

19. jsoliz1985 (Posts: 23; Member since: 08 Dec 2011)


15 Minutes is more than enough to download the "app" but a lot of games and some apps require further files be downloaded in order to actually use the app itself. In that case the files could be up to 1.3Gb (example of the full maps of the U.S on the app CoPilot Live USA). With downloads of that size even over wifi it could take well over fifteen minutes and by that time you might come to find that the app doesn't function as advertised or just doesn't work on your device. I also believe that the window of return should be longer. Although I don't necessarily think that we need 24hrs, we should at least get a bit more time.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 13:32

21. xmusicianguy (Posts: 96; Member since: 13 Jul 2011)


Why can't Google get sued for using the "Play" name in their store. So they'd be forced to revert to the Andoid Market!

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 14:13 1

24. CM_Punk (banned) (Posts: 173; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


Because Google is trying to "play" with the big boys, but looks like they're failing pretty hard at it.

posted on 19 Mar 2012, 05:01

30. jacko1977 (Posts: 377; Member since: 11 Feb 2012)


lol not what the courts are saying

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