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Cellphones Businesses The Almighty Buck Apple

iPhone App Refund Policies Could Cost Devs 230

CBRcrash writes "Apparently, if iPhone users decide that they want a refund for an app (users can get a refund within 90 days, according to Apple policy), Apple requires that developers give back the money they received from the sale. But, here's the kicker: Apple will refund the full amount to the user and says that it has the right to keep its commission. So, the developer not only has to return the money for the sale, but also has to reimburse Apple for its commission."
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iPhone App Refund Policies Could Cost Devs

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  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@gm a i l . com> on Saturday March 28, 2009 @08:20AM (#27369369)
    But either way, Apple is still providing a service here that both the developers and the consumers are using. Just because the consumer requires a refund doesn't make the cost of providing that service magically disappear.
  • by Nakor BlueRider ( 1504491 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @08:23AM (#27369379)
    ...my opinion of them drops more and more. I think my opinion of them can't get worse, but they always manage to come up with some way. :\

    I only hope that the devs are all quickly made aware of this and decide to do something to fix it, be that changing platforms, harassing Apple for a change, or whatever else works for them. There's no cause at all for devs to risk a loss of 30% of their initial charge per sale.
  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@gm a i l . com> on Saturday March 28, 2009 @08:58AM (#27369541)
    When the Infinite SMS debacle struck (Inner Fence made an app for 99c which used Googles API to send SMSes cost free, Google then removed the API and people are *still* moaning about it on the Google Groups SMS Labs page), Inner Fence said this:

    Apple does not give app developers any way to perform refunds. Hopefully, at 99Â people will feel like our app paid for itself after only a few messages.


    So, apparently Inner Fence are wrong? Lying? Or just plain incompetent?

  • You people! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by danwesnor ( 896499 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @09:24AM (#27369659)
    If people are returning 7 out of 10 purchases, you still break even. If your software is getting 7 of 10 returns, it's either horribly broken or doesn't do what you say it does, so you shouldn't be getting paid, anyway.
  • by Teppy ( 105859 ) * on Saturday March 28, 2009 @09:38AM (#27369725) Homepage

    It would hold up in court because I agreed to this by contract, as do any merchants that accept Visa/Mastercard. Discover Card is totally fair though - they reverse the charge, but don't tack on fees, or have a punitive policy when the merchant contests the chargeback.

    Actually, I should do my small part to use market pressure to combat this - give an extra in-game perk, or a token discount amount to anyone that pays by Discover Card. (Or Amex; not sure about the rules for that card.) With a game as small as ours it would be nothing more than a statement, but statements are important. Hmmm...

  • by geoff2 ( 579628 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @09:43AM (#27369747)

    Every time I see an article about Apple which gets basic facts about the company's policies wrong, I get just a little more annoyed.

    Seriously. There is no "90-day" refund policy. Read the iTunes Store terms and conditions [apple.com] -- no mention of a 90-day period. In fact, the only mention of refunds is that you can get a refund if they can't deliver the purchase to you; otherwise, as it clearly states, "no refunds are available."

    Moreover, there are thousands of app store applications and developers. Is there a single one who has complained about this refund policy screwing them over?

    Methinks overheated rhetoric like the one in this post and tomhudson's below about how developing for the iPhone used to be fun but is now "about money and control and refunds and chargebacks" is farcical.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 28, 2009 @09:50AM (#27369761)
    Um, yes? Isn't that the risk that any publisher takes when they take on someone hence why they don't take on every man and his dog? In return they get the rights to sell the stuff.
  • by lastchance_000 ( 847415 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @09:53AM (#27369777)
    Yet, they put the language in there. "But we promise we won't use it!"

    Most likely they won't, but then they should have written the agreement to reflect that, instead of making developers dependent on their benevolence.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 28, 2009 @09:57AM (#27369793)

    ...my opinion of them drops more and more. I think my opinion of them can't get worse, but they always manage to come up with some way. :\

    Yep. This happens to me too. My opinion of forum geeks drops every time I see some knee-jerk reaction about some company (whether Apple, MS, SUN, etc...) in forum comments...

  • by GooberToo ( 74388 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @10:09AM (#27369847)

    Which makes it sound a bit more reasonable.

    How is holding developers to a standard above what is required of NASA, "more reasonable"?

  • by the_raptor ( 652941 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @10:21AM (#27369899)

    And then no CC company ever does business with you again. This is also why CC security is so shit; they aren't using their own money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 28, 2009 @10:33AM (#27369985)
    apple wants fewer, better apps. This is an effective way to do it.
  • by greg_barton ( 5551 ) * <greg_barton@nOsPAM.yahoo.com> on Saturday March 28, 2009 @12:00PM (#27370449) Homepage Journal

    This has apparently been debunked, so the story summary on the front page is not true. The editors need to update the summary.

  • by whiledo ( 1515553 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @12:25PM (#27370577)

    Your post just shows how much of a reality-denying fanboy you are. Try some intellectual honesty here. Can you name any other mass-market product that is sold that works the same way? I buy a shirt from target, then take it back because it's defective. They do not then charge the manufacturer full retail for the defective product.

    I'm not surprised that the story would be proven false, because it would be total insanity if it were true.

  • by torkus ( 1133985 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @12:35PM (#27370647)

    idk why this is modded funny. The biggest problem with open platforms is the huge quantity of junk. By setting a bar (which, honestly, is fairly low) they help eliminate some of the crap. This just refines the process.

    Better that they don't have the good apps buried and not making enough sales.

    I don't really like apple much at all but they built the platform. If you want to develop for it AND use their app store AND use their billing/payment system to earn yourself money...well you play by their rules or go to another platform. It still kinda sucks, but it's their game so their rules.

  • by jo42 ( 227475 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @12:45PM (#27370709) Homepage

    Why should Apple eat that cost?

    Because they are an evil corporation with billions of dollars in revenue derived from over-priced products.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Saturday March 28, 2009 @01:39PM (#27371025)

    apple wants fewer, better apps. This is an effective way to do it.

    No, they just want fewer apps, not necessarily better.

    If returns are allowed, Good apps will get returned almost as often as poor apps.

    The pivotal factor is a lot of people won't bother to demand a refund if they take some small issue with even a poor app, as long as it does something they want.

    What's more likely is some people buy an app, 'back it up', return it for a refund, and find some hack or backdoor that permits them to still use the app.

  • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee@@@ringofsaturn...com> on Saturday March 28, 2009 @04:04PM (#27372467) Homepage

    I'd say that's backwards. Apple's conditions are a given...your choice is whether you want to do business with them or not.

    (anyhow, the AND operator is commutative, so order is irrelevant. Must satisfy all criteria for TRUE)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 28, 2009 @04:27PM (#27372627)

    Sure, but there's no natural law at the bottom of your preference.

    The retailer buys wholesale, but presenting & delivering incur costs regardless of ultimate success of a sale. Apple decided not to take a bath on returns, and invoices the developer. This can drive away developers, but only developers who don't have confidence that their code won't be returned by customers.

    It may not be a method you 'like', or are familiar with, but it's not idiotic. And attitudes change -- refunds on consumer goods is a relatively recent innovation in the history of marketing. Since this kind of store is new, it may be allow a shift of attitude that makes this the defacto standard method in a few years.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern