App Store refund policy under fire from Korean game publishers

App Store RED 2016 promotion iPhone screenshot 001

Apple’s app refund policy on the App Store has come under fire from South Korean game developers who are complaining about a loophole that permits ill-minded users to purchase charged content multiple times, request refunds and continue to consume the content without actually paying for it.

The Korea Times is reporting that the issue stems from Apple’s policy of withholding information about those who have been issued a refund.

Apple’s refund policy has forced some Korean game developers to take matters in their own hands, manually tracking and identifying users who are still using the content they’ve already received the refunds for.

Some of the abusers “have organized profitable businesses” to operate the refund process on others’ behalf, says the report. Some of the affected game developers have taken their own measures to counteract Apple.

According to a Korean mobile game development studio Flint:

By analyzing all payment data and logs, we have tracked down about 300 users who are suspected of abusing Appstore’s refund policy. We pledge to root out the abusers by requesting the judicial authorities for an investigation.

Another Korean developer, called Next Floor, says it is now “regulating” people who abuse the App Store’s refund loophole.

“Unlike other app stores, Apple does not provide refund info to the game companies and we’re having difficulties in promptly counteracting the problem,” said the firm.

Game developers have started to block the accounts of abusers.

A source from a mobile game company said:

The company has asked Apple for the lists of users who requested refunds several times already. But Apple did not respond. I cannot understand Apple’s policy in that it does not provide the list of people who abuse the system even when it is already causing problems in the market.

In addition to game, app and media downloads, Apple’s been refunding unwanted In-App Purchases on the App Store since at least March 2014.

TUTORIAL: How to request App Store refund from iPhone

The Cupertino firm has always refrained from sharing information about users who download apps, games and media from its content stores with developers, record labels, book publishers and Hollywood studios. In other words, the company exclusively determines whether to give refunds to consumers.

Google’s Play Store, on the other hand, issues refunds on bought content only once if a user has requested it within two hours after payment.

Source: The Korea Times