A group of App Store sellers spoke to the Korea Times about Apple’s black hole of return policy.
Apple’s app return policy is opaque, at best, and may in fact be harming developers as unscrupulous App Store gamers purchase games, then return them after playing through. Some users may do this several times, essentially getting a game or app for free.
“By analyzing all payment data and logs, we have tracked down about 300 users who are suspected of abusing Appstore’s refund policy.”- Flint CEO Kim Young-mo
According to the Korea Times, other studios, including Nexon, Longtu Korea, and Next Floor, are similarly engaged in rooting out abuse due to the loophole in Apple’s return policy.
When users purchase a game, then request a refund from Apple, the developer is not notified by Apple, who claims this is a privacy issue. The onus is left on developers, who must manually track users to see if they are using the content they’ve gotten refunds for.
Next Floor told the Times that they are working to regulate the abuse, which only occurs in the Apple-branded App Store.
“We are regulating those who abuse the payment process and damage other users under our management policy. Unlike other application stores, Apple does not provide refund information to the game companies and we are having difficulties in promptly counteracting the problem.”- Next Floor
Apple’s return policy is laid out in its Terms of Service, which basically says that while all sales are final, it may issue a refund if there are technical problems or a delay in delivery of the app content.
In other words, Apple is the final arbiter of who gets a refund or not.
In contrast, Google allows refunds only once and only within two hours of paying for an app, which makes it so users cannot play a game fully, then return it for a full refund.