Was the change to the Android Market refund policy just a money grab, or is there some other benefit that disgruntled users are currently ignoring?
Android Market Updates Refund Rules
In December 2010 Google updated the Android Market for all devices running version 1.6 or later, an improvement to the Market app that resulted in some new features and an improved user interface; so far, so good.
However, what Google also included with the update was a new rule on refunds. Previously if you purchased an app and found that it was unsuitable for use, either because it wouldn’t run satisfactorily on your Android phone or was simply below standard, you had 24 hours to claim a refund for the app and remove it from your handset.
The new rule states that refunds must be claimed within 15 minutes of the app being purchased, a considerably shorter time frame. But what are the implications of this, and what alternatives are available to anyone who wishes to test an app before installing?
Indeed, what could be the impact on other mobile platforms?
Advantages of the 24 Hour App Refund Rule
Prior to the reduction of the app refund window, it was possible to fully assess an app before deciding whether or not it was suitable for your needs. Additionally Android users were able to address any conflicts a new app might have with any existing software and if necessary perform a factory reset – tasks that might take longer than 15 minutes.
While there are some that thought the 24 hour rule was too long it is fair to say that it was a public relations triumph for the Android Market, something that the reduction to 15 minutes has not been.
Advantages of the New 15 Minute App Return Policy
From a consumer point of view, there is no advantage to the 15 minute rule. Google have yet to claim app piracy is the cause so the only reasonable explanation is that Android app refund claims have been reduced from 24 hours to 15 minutes after the purchase of the software in order to reduce the number of claims that are made and thus increase revenue.
This is clearly a disappointing development which could conceivably contribute to non-Market activity.
Alternatives: Non-Market Apps
There are various non-Market libraries of Android apps that can be accessed in order to find and download alternative software and it is expected that these will see increased use following the introduction of the 15 minute app refund.
Avoiding problems with purchased software might also see Android users trying the trial or lite versions of many apps, or even expanding their knowledge of the platform and installing the development emulator and the Market app in order to get a quick test of the app to decide whether they like it or not.
The Impact on other Mobile Platforms
As things stand, no refunds are available for software purchased on iPhone or Windows Phone 7; Google were in fact offering Android users a service that simply doesn’t exist on other platforms
The only possible impact the reduction of the Android app refund time might have is that those other platforms forget any idea they might have had about introducing a refund system as it does look as though the Android Market is heading in the “no refund" direction.
In order to make sure that you make purchases of safe and secure Android apps, remember to check the ratings, specified compatibility with your device and read as many reviews for the app as you can find before making your decision.
Source: author experience
Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6e/Android_Market.png