Apple’s terms and conditions for the stores previously stated users had the right to withdraw from a transaction “without charge and without giving any reason until delivery of the product has started.” That meant purchases were all but final apart from some exceptions handled by Apple support.
Now, Apple has updated its terms to include a specific no questions asked 14-day return window that includes all purchases apart from gift cards:
Right of cancellation: If you choose to cancel your order, you may do so within 14 days from when you received your receipt without giving any reason, except iTunes Gifts which cannot be refunded once you have redeemed the code.
Apple states it will refund users within two weeks of receiving notice of cancellation either through its Report a Problem feature (pictured above) or a written statement.
Refunds for exceptions like failed delivery of content or technical problems were previously handled on a case by case basis through Apple support, which is how Apple continues to handle refunds for software and iTunes content in the US, Canada and most other countries outside the EU. In these locations, Apple states that “all sales and rentals of products are final” and only approves refunds at its discretion for exceptions like those mentioned above.
The changes appear to be related to a new consumer rights directive in the EU that introduced a required 14 calendar day right of cancellation or return period for both goods and services purchased in EAA countries.
In comparison, Google’s Play Store offers a two hour return window for apps, but Google’s support document doesn’t mention the new 14-day return window. It does, however, offer EU customers a longer 14-day cancellation period for music subscriptions compared to just 7 days elsewhere.
The guidelines from the European Commission have been in place since June, but Apple just this month updated most of its terms and conditions documents online. That 14 day period is extended to a year if a business fails to properly inform consumers of the return period, according to the directive.