Google sued over Play Store’s return policy

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



1. darktranquillity

Posts: 285; Member since: Feb 28, 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.

20. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 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.

25. danwatson

Posts: 117; Member since: Jan 03, 2012

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

27. cybervlad81

Posts: 89; Member since: Apr 04, 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.

29. xtremesv

Posts: 299; Member since: Oct 21, 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.

2. clevername

Posts: 1436; Member since: Jul 11, 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.

3. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 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.

10. pimpollofelice123

Posts: 30; Member since: Jul 02, 2011

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

16. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 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)..

28. pimpollofelice123

Posts: 30; Member since: Jul 02, 2011

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

4. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 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.

11. CM_Punk

Posts: 173; Member since: Mar 13, 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.

5. drahmad

Posts: 480; Member since: Aug 20, 2011

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

7. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 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…

15. drahmad

Posts: 480; Member since: Aug 20, 2011

except that you do not understand what i want to say

12. CM_Punk

Posts: 173; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

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

18. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

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

22. CM_Punk

Posts: 173; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

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

26. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

LOL thats a nice joke

17. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

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

6. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 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.

31. shimmyx20

Posts: 280; Member since: Mar 03, 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.

8. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 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.

9. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

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

13. CM_Punk

Posts: 173; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

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

14. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

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

23. CM_Punk

Posts: 173; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

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

19. jsoliz1985

Posts: 24; Member since: Dec 08, 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.

21. xmusicianguy

Posts: 96; Member since: Jul 13, 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!

24. CM_Punk

Posts: 173; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

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

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