iOS 7 (App Store teaser 004)

Apple typically handles refunds of digital purchases on a case-by-case basis and with an “All Sales Final” provision. But now, Apple’s reportedly switched to a 14-day return policy for movies, TV shows, music, books and apps in most European markets, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and France, German blog iFun.de [Google Translate] reported Monday.

Apple’s updated policy in these countries states that customers can now cancel their digital purchase within fourteen days from when they received their receipt “without giving any reason,” with the exception of iTunes Match, Season Pass, Multi-Pass and iTunes Gift Cards and Allowances that can’t be refunded once you have redeemed the code or activated the service.

Previously, all digital sales and rentals were final unless you withdrew from a transaction before delivery of the product has started, just like in the United States. Speaking of which, Apple’s terms of service in the U.S. remain unchanged.

The new no-questions-asked refund policy could be viewed in light of a new consumer rights directive [PDF document] in the European Union which requires that merchants provide a 14-day return period for both goods and services purchased in EU member states.

“To cancel your order, you must inform us of your decision,” as per Apple’s amended terms of service. People in the aforementioned European markets can ask for a refund by using Apple’s Report a Problem feature available at reportaproblem.apple.com.

You’ll need your Apple ID and password used to initiate the purchase of the item. Find it by right-clicking the purchased app in desktop iTunes and then choose Get Info. The Purchased By section under the Info tab shows an Apple ID used to purchase the item.

As shown below, after describing your reason for a refund using the web tool, just click Submit and Apple will review your case.

iTunes Report Problem web screenshot

“You also have the right to inform us using the model cancellation form or by making any other clear statement,” the amended TOS state. “If you use Report a Problem we will communicate acknowledgement of receipt of your cancellation to you without delay,” adds the document.

The model cancellation form should contain the following:

– To iTunes S.à r.l., 31-33, rue Sainte Zithe, L-2763 Luxembourg:

– I hereby give notice that I withdraw from my contract for the following: [INSERT ORDER ID, ITEM, ARTIST AND TYPE]

– Ordered on [INSERT DATE] / received on [INSERT DATE]

– Name of consumer

– Address of consumer

– Date

Customers must send their communication of cancellation before the 14-day window has closed. The company will reimburse customers asking for a refund no later than 14 days from the day on which it receives the cancellation notice.

“We will use the same means of payment as you used for the transaction, and you will not incur any fees for such reimbursement,” reads the document.

The new policy certainly won’t be music to the ears of developers because some customers might take advantage of the new rules by downloading a game only to finish it within two weeks and then innocently asking for a refund.

On the other hand, there’s likely some limit on refunds imposed to prevent just that. Besides, Apple has your whole purchasing history on file so it’s not like it lacks the means to determine whether you’re trying to game the system by filing bogus refund claims on a regular basis.

[iFun.de]