Google fined after refusing to change its app refund policy

Google fined after refusing to change its app refund policy
The app refund policies of application stores might not differ much around the world, but Taiwan's capital city Taipei is on its way to set the precedent as it fined Google nearly $35,000 (TW $1,000,000) after the search giant refused to grant a seven-day trial period for paid apps in the country. Taiwan has a strict consumer protection law granting users a 7-day trial for the purchase of goods on the Internet. But it's not just Google which was asked to change its policy – Apple has reportedly already changed its refund policy for the region.

Currently, users of Google's Android Market agree to terms of service limiting them to only 15 minutes to decide whether they will use the app or prefer to get a refund. "Google refused to change its rules," city government's head of consumer protection Betty Chen stressed. The company responded brusquely by suspending all sales of paid apps to customers in Taiwan, the city government's official noted. And while the $35,000 fine doesn't seem like a giant sum for the search behemoth, it sets a precedent, which could repeat itself in other countries. Google hasn't issued an official response, but is planning on sending US officials to Taiwan. Another, similar fine might follow if the company doesn't change its policy by July 1st. 


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34 Comments

1. TKFox007

Posts: 303; Member since: Nov 02, 2010

Even though I went through the correct process to get a refund, I never got refunded when I bought apps from the Android Market.

2. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Oh, Taiwan, screw you. An app is not like any other good from the internet. In the realm of games, most games- even paid ones, can be beaten in far less than seven days. Google is trying to protect its developers with the 15 minute policy. Granted, 15 minutes is a little short, but 7 days?!

21. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

So you don't feel google should honor the consumer laws for that country? Also this 7 day period benefits you as a consumer so why would you be against it? I'm sure you'd have a different opinion if it was Apples store that was being fined? You're such a fanboy lol.

24. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Well, actually, no. In this case I would still support Apple if it stood against this law. I as a consumer don't need 7to days to figure out if I want an app. I'm not fond of the current refund term, but it's there to protect Google's revenue and the revenue of its app developers.

32. SigT unregistered

Hi Sniggly and America, f**k you! I don't care who you are. You come to Taiwan to do business, you respect the culture, the law and the people here or you are not welcome. Am I making myself ABSOLUTELY clear? Trust me, you America has WAY MORE stupid law and regulations than Taiwan. Just look around yourself and see how your governemnt interferes yours and other people lives in the very WRONG way 24/7. You know what others think about world police ..... You can admire Google as much as you like from the aspect of being an American, but tell you want, if you were Google, you defintely wouldn't want to tune into the local TV or newspaper in Taiwan. You are not very popular in Taiwan now... What's up with Google anyway? It seems always having this lack of commitment to comply local laws and regulations. And the way it handles crisis and conflicts with the local government is no better than a three year old. Didn't Google just get kick out of China, too?

34. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Lol. For someone who hates America so much, you sound a lot like an American with your "Don't like it, don't come here!" attitude. And lulz at you assuming that I have a problem with a stupid law in Taiwan, but would support a stupid law in America. Your government is NOT RIGHT in this case, SigT.

3. messiah

Posts: 438; Member since: Feb 19, 2010

That's why apps should be free.... You don't have to worry about refund issues..... Learn the lessons of angry birds and words with friends success: banner ads. Generates amazing revenue, higher download potential as customers like "free" better, and there are no possibilities of upsetting customers that flip flop back and forth about having the application on their phone...

17. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Oh yes, because the people who developed them don't need to be compensated for their efforts. Wake up, this isn't a free society. Pay or leave.

4. Hallucinator

Posts: 390; Member since: May 24, 2010

7 days is ridiculously excessive!!! So apparently all app in the android market should just be free because alot of people would buy a game and just return it after 6 days. The developers would lose big time with this kind of standard. I'm not always the biggest android supporter but come on!!!

5. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I love Android & Google. I have to agree with Taiwan here to an extent. 7 day trail for an app is just way too long. The 15 minute return policy is bogus also. How can you fully make a decision on using the app for 15 minutes? I am in favor of having a hour or 2 to play with the app. In that time frame you can make an educated decision on whether you want to keep the app or not. 15 minutes is simply just not enough time. To make an informed decision on a purchased app 1 to 2 hours of playing with the app is needed. If you can't tell the app is for you in a hour or 2 then the app might not suit you.

6. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Even an hour can be too long for some games. But I would accept that as a reasonable refund period. I was annoyed with the jump down to 15 minutes, but it's way better than 7 days.

27. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

amen to that, 15 minutes to short, some apps take 15 minutes just to download, how can you try it if you spend all your time downloading?

7. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

15 minutes its not a lot either Google should change it :/

8. RORYREVOLUTION

Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

I think the 24 hour refund policy was fair enough.

9. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I think It could vary, 48 hours for apps and 45 minutes for games and other stuff

10. cybervlad81

Posts: 89; Member since: Apr 04, 2011

Most good android apps out there, have either a trial version or free ad based version out there. But, I do agree that 15 min is a ridiculously short amount of time to evaluate the one that don't. 7 days is way too long though. I would agree more along Super's idea of 1-2 hours... Only problem is, this is a more a mater of a poorly written law that was most likely never meant to be used as it is. So determining what is reasonable is easy, getting it put in the law... good luck.

11. Ching-Yuan Yeh unregistered

I am the Solicitor General of Taipei City. Taiwan's Consumer Protection Law specifically requires all sellers via mailing services (including Internet sellers) give consumers a 7-day trial period. Yahoo! has complied with our law; Apple has agreed as well. Can anyone let me know why Google should have privelege of noncompliance? If U.S. has similar regulation and SAMSUNG or LG refuse to comply with such law by makling their own standard contract terms to mitigate their contract responsibility. How would you feel asbout it?

16. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

First, you're probably a liar. How does a public official get the free time necessary to post a comment on an American phone site? Second, I think the law is stupid overall. It allows for zero flexibility depending on the good or service being sold. For instance, if it were possible to order a car through the internet (oh wait, I forgot about ebay motors) would you really give the consumer only 7 days in order to evaluate its performance and reliability? On the other hand, many of the paid apps in question are games, short ones at that. If I cared to, I could beat the longer game campaigns on my phone inside of 24 hours or less. This allows people to buy an app, use it to its limits, then simply return it and result in zero money for the developer or Google. I don't care if other companies have complied with your ridiculous law. I admire Google more for standing up to a law that needs to be modified to accommodate a market you seemingly do not understand. Have I made myself ABUNDANTLY clear?

19. AndroidOS

Posts: 100; Member since: Jun 21, 2011

You have :-)

25. Browser unregistered

I am not sure where you are from -- if you are from US; obviously, you don't get educated well -- you don't call other country's law related to consumer protection 'ridiculous'.

26. AndroidOS

Posts: 100; Member since: Jun 21, 2011

And you don't say just because someone is from a certain part of the world that they don't get educated well. I'm sure some people in Taiwan also think this is ridiculous.

28. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

I'm intelligent enough to know that the proper phrase is "You are not well educated." As in, "You are not well educated enough to know that businesses and merchants deserve to protect themselves too-from the predations of a system of force, and from those who would game the system in order to avoid paying anything for the fruits of another's labor. If I were in charge of Google, I might make nice with Taipei and let the law stand, and instead track users' download habits, introducing consequences for those who constantly and almost without fail download and return apps within the refund period. But that's just my idea. The law is unjust and ridiculous, and not being from the country in question doesn't disqualify me from having a valid opinion about its laws. So poo on you.

12. Garth unregistered

Why should Google be able to disregard the laws in the land where it plans to maintain business activity? Does personal opinion matter in terms of the law that a government has established?

13. TreyTreyTaylor

Posts: 728; Member since: Dec 21, 2010

7 days? I'm wishin google would just change it to a hour because 30 minues after a purchase you SHOULD KNOW by that time whether your keeping it or not.You dont purchase video games and say in 15 minutes hmmm i think i want all my money back. 7 days is blatantly cheating the industry. How could they even be serious on such terms.

14. DroogV59

Posts: 37; Member since: Jun 02, 2011

Pulling all paid apps in Taiwan denies the apps industry even more revenue - they are currently making exactly $0 out of the Taiwan market. The price of yet another Google hissy fit.

15. Mike unregistered

Ching-Yuan Yeh, Stupid official such as you are making the whole Taipei city a joke for the whole world to laugh about. I'm your citizen here in Taipei City. And I think officials like you should be fired immediately for not educating yourself to adapt new economic systems of IT industry fast enough. Your mind is only stuck with the laws written on this island, which no other places around the world agree! According to your stupid law, everybody can buy all books and movies online, view them for seven days and then hit the refund button to get all the money back! This will eventually hurt the creative business community as the laws grant the pirate action perfectly legal in this way. Can't you get it? No places in the world agrees with the outdated laws you're using on this new economy system. And this shows one problem to correct: there are too many stupid city officials like you taking all the raises and overpaid salaries sitting in the cool rooms with your minds stuck in the rotten outdated laws and thinking you're the city hero. Go with the flow of the world and start making some reasonable and sensible comments. "Solicitor General of Taipei City" ? You are the living testament of Taipei City Official quality reaching a new low!

30. Enrique unregistered

Mike, Are you working for Google or by any chance have any investment in Google? All the negative comments you made against (all) city officials are presumably stereotypes based off your experience in the united states, which corruption, low efficiency in operation and high pay aren't anything new to the rest of the world. But, how in the world can you make these comments if 1. you ain't a Taipei city official 2. you aren't even living in Taiwan or possibly never been to Taiwan? I agree with the most of people here though. Neither 7 days nor 15 minutes makes any sense. From what I've heard here locally, the Taipei city had been reportedly asking Google to at least work out a different refund policy by the mean of "categorizing" apps on Android market and allowing extended trial period for apps in certain categories. Though, the city was actually stunned by the official response from Google Taiwan on the deadline, which refuses to cooperate in any way, and thus the City was left no choice, but to fine Google. Apple, PCHome and all three major carries with online app markets all have worked with the city and refined their refund policies. Doesn't look like Google was ever interested in the app market in Taiwan in the first place. Since the market is actually small, it's a pretty nice way for Google to pull itself out and re-direct all the blames from Android fanboys to Taipei City.... First Round: Google 1: Taipei CIty: 0 Second Round: ...

18. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Well the Market is filled with 95% garbage apps, why would anyone bother buying them in the first place lol.

20. ibap

Posts: 867; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

15 minutes is ridiculously short for anything. 7 is too long for games and fart apps. How about a sliding return period tied to the cost of the app?

22. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Interesting with all the fandroids saying google should be able to disregard the laws of the country.

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