Apple has rolled out a 14-day, no-questions-asked refund policy for buyers of digital goods in European Union member countries. Specifically, the policy covers all App Store, iBooks and iTunes purchases with the exception of gift cards once the redemption code has been used.
Those wishing to apply for a refund can do so through the “Report a Problem” website or via written statement. Apple says it could take up to two weeks to process refunds.
Up to this point, Apple’s terms and conditions have dictated that customers have the right to pull out of a transaction only up until delivery of a product has been initiated. Or in other words, it pretty much meant that all sales were final upon purchase.
The changes are no doubt in response to the Consumer Rights Directive that initially passed in 2011 and was fully initiated in June of this year. Said initiative mandates that all sales come with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
It’s worth pointing out, however, that it’s just a guideline and not an actual law. Either way, it seems as though Apple is complying.
In the US, Canada and most other markets, for comparison, virtually all sales are final. Those looking for a refund are required to contact Apple for consideration of a refund in the event of technical problems like failed content delivery.
One has to wonder how Apple plans to deal with those that will no doubt look to game the system. For example, what’s to stop someone from renting a movie, watching it then applying for a refund? The same can be said for games, books, music and so on.
I suspect Apple will have some sort of system in place to prevent abuse. Perhaps being able to determine if the content has been consumed or placing limitations on the number of returns accepted in a given span of time are plausible options but I digress.