I’m feeling a little like I’ve gotten a one!-two! punch to the head this week. Not only has Netflix split its streaming, plus one-DVD-at-a-time service into two separate (and more expensive) subscriptions, but now there’s word a major smartphone applications store is doing something uncharacteristic — like giving users a seven-day money-back guarantee on apps.
Wait, but isn’t that a good thing? You try out an application, and if it doesn’t work as you expect, you get a full refund. Dare I say it? It even sounds sublime. And it is — except that it’s only available in Taiwan and only for iOS.
Apple changed its App Store policy there as a response to demands made by the city government in Taipei last month. Officials urged the company to follow local consumer protection laws, recommending a one-week trial period for mobile apps. The alternative was being fined up to NT $1.5 million for breaking the law. In other words, Cupertino dodged a whopping $51,988 in U.S. dollars.
Okay, well, that amount isn’t exactly bank-breaking to the tech giant, but it acquiesced nonetheless, amending its terms to include that users are eligible for reimbursements within seven days, as long as all copies of the apps are deleted.
The city also went after Google and its Android Market over the same issue. (The company’s current policy is to give users 15 minutes after downloading to change their minds and get a refund.) This time, Taipei went ahead and levied a fine of NT $1 million ($34,658), giving two weeks for the company to comply. Google responded by issuing a statement that it doesn’t agree with how Taipei interprets the law, and is appealing the fine through the local legal process.
End result: If you live in Taiwan and use an iOS product, you’re golden. As for the everyone else, it seems it’s still a digital Wild, Wild West, where the apps are hit-or-miss, and you have little recourse.
[via PC World]