About a year ago Google decided to reduce the time in which you could get a refund for an App to just 15 minutes. At the time I thought it was a crazy move and in fact it has pretty much stopped me paying for Apps in the Android Market since. Why you might ask? Well there is such a huge selection of Android Handsets out there that it is impossible for an App developer to test their new App on every device. When they create a new App they make it compatible with the different versions of Android and in most cases they then publish it. Bigger developers can afford to do Beta testing, but in most cases the smaller developers can’t afford the time taken to complete this so me and you become the Beta testers when we download it. If you are experiencing issues you will leave a bad review, email the developer, etc etc. The developer can then see what issues are occurring and update the App accordingly. Now I know that doesn’t sound very professional but that is what happens.
My first experience of the 15 minute deadline to apply for a refund was when I tired to install SPB’s Mobile Shell launcher replacement. It is a €10 App which is pretty expensive compared to most Apps in the Market. I downloaded and installed it, set it as the default Launcher and my phone froze! Completely! The phone was dead and a hard reset was the only way I could get it to respond. Now keep in mind the 15 minute timer is ticking all this time. I had the hard reset completed and the phone set up again in about 14 minutes. I quickly launched the market app and in a panic hit the refund button. In fairness I’d say it took about 16 minutes but I did get the refund.
For me this was farcical. I would have been quiet happy to try and get the App to work but the 15 minutes left me no choice. Try and get a non working app to function as expected or loose my money. I have never tried to install the App again, even though I wanted to. Why be the Beta tester when you have to pay €10 for an App that should work at that price?
So today when I saw the press release from Google stating they have extended the time to 48 hours, I thought finally, they are protecting the consumer rather than the developer.
Then we saw a lot of Developers respond saying in fact nothing has changed, Google are just extending the time allowed for them to refund to 48 hours.
What ever the case this is becoming a mess for Google and I hope we see some clarification soon.
Before I felt the 15 minutes was a pretty underhanded way of ensuring the majority of people ended up paying for an App even if it was not functioning. It left so little time for most people to even figure out an App wasn’t working that the time would have expired. My experience with the SPB App was pretty obvious when determining there was something wrong but what if it took a few days to figure out some part of it wasn’t working?
Now I’m sure some developers will be going nuts if it has been extended to 48 hours but if you produce quality Apps which have been properly tested then what have you to worry about?
Let us know what you think below.