App Store users in Europe shouldn’t be too upset at Apple’s recent price hike for apps. The company’s new 14-day return window on digital goods has an interesting feature that makes those price hikes meaningless, according to 9to5Mac.
At least for now, apps that are returned in the European Union (EU) still work, even after a refund is made. The key is to keep the app installed on your iPhone/iPod touch and/or iPad.
What happens is the app gets removed from your ‘Purchased’ account history, so it’s not possible to re-download the app from the store. However, as long the app is already downloaded to a device, the file never gets deleted and never stops working. This means the app is still accessible from the Home Screen and is fully-functioning.
This “feature” is obviously a mistake and one that Apple will have to correct, although that might not be easy.
As 9to5Mac right notes:
I would expect Apple to track abuse of this feature, but right now I don’t think there’s anything they can do about it, for the time being. They can’t stop people from using the feature — it’s now EU law — and it doesn’t seem like they could change the functionality without a software update (i.e. actually having the app deleted when a refund is processed).
Late last month, Apple updated the terms and conditions governing purchases made by European Union users in the Mac App Store, iOS App Store, iBooks Store, and iTunes Store. The change, which was required due to a new policy for apps and digital games made in the EU, added a 14-day return policy on digital downloads.
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