Games developers say they have detected significant abuse of Apple’s refund policy on apps, and are being forced to take their own steps to hit back after Apple refused to help.
At least four developers cited in The Korea Times say that the problem is that people are repeatedly purchasing games and in-app content, asking Apple for a refund – which is normally granted without question – and then continuing to use the content. It is not easy for developers to block access to the content because Apple refuses to reveal the identities of those who have been refunded …
Apple holds full control in paying refunds on paid for mobile content such as games. It determines whether to give refunds to consumers.
But the content developer cannot take part in the process under Apple’s refund policy. Apple does not even provide information about the users who have requested and received the refund, claiming it is to protect consumer rights. For this reason, the developers have no other choice but to manually track down the users and check if they continue to use the charged content they have already received refunds for.
Some companies are reportedly even turning this into a business – offering a service to gamers where they will obtain refunds from Apple on their behalf.
Three of the four developers named – Flint, Nexon and Longtu Korea – say that they are now being forced to make their own manual checks in order to block access to those who continue to use games and content after obtaining refunds from Apple.
The piece contrasts Apple’s policy with Google, which allows a single refund on an app if requested within two hours of purchase. However, while developers may prefer Google’s approach, it seems unlikely that Apple will change a policy designed to keep its own customers happy – allowing app purchases to be made confident in the knowledge that they can easily obtain a refund if it fails to live up to expectations.