Korean watchdog orders Apple to change App Store refund policy

iOS 7 (App Store teaser 002)

It used to be that in the past you could get updates for an iOS or Mac app after asking for a refund. However, Apple’s relaxed policy concerning refunds and app updates has recently been tightened after the company updated the App Store’s Terms of Service to prevent this.

Turns out this may not be the only change in store as South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has now ordered both Apple and Google to take action and revert their unfair no-refund app store policies…

Although it’s possible to get a refund on a purchased iOS or Mac app, the manual process involves contacting Apple via email and clearly stating your reasons for a refund. Apple’s support team then acts on refund requests on a case-by-case basis.

The Fair Trade Commission in South Korea thinks the process should be more automated. According to the Korea Herald newspaper, Apple responded by promising to implement proposed changes to its App Store policies in all countries where the store operates.

The antitrust body demands that Apple send a notice to users when the App Store terms change. As for Google’s Play store, the search company has promised to design a customer refund system based on web developers’ refund polices.

“We expect the measure, aimed at protecting consumers, will have a ripple effect on similar cases throughout the world,” the Korea Fair Trade Commission said in a press release.

The Fair Trade Commission acted on behalf of a consumer group called the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice. The same group also plans to file a complaint regarding iPhone repair policies over Apple’s practice to replace faulty phones rather than fix them.

Eagle-eyed readers could also point out that the Taiwanese government back in 2011 forced Apple and Google to implement a 7-day refund period in their respective stores.

Have you ever asked for a refund on your iOS or Mac app purchase? If so, what was your experience like?