Apple is to offer a seven day refund window for all paid app sales in Taiwan following an order by the Taipei Government.

The unprecedented move by Apple will allow users to claim back the full amount that they paid for any app in the App Store if they are not happy, in order to comply with Taiwan's consumer protection laws.

Refunds are currently not available from Apple unless iTunes customer support agree to provide a refund, and there is no automatic mechanism built into the App Store to process refunds. However, it is unclear how this will work; will Apple implement this directly into the App Store, or will customer services simply provide a refund immediately after the request for one is submitted? It is also unclear if this policy is to work its way into the App Stores of other countries.

On the other hand, rival Google with their Android OS refused to meet the demands of the Taipei Government and have been handed down a $1million NT fine (approximately $34,500 US), and upon learning of this entirely removed paid apps from the country's Android Marketplace, as opposed to complying with the law. This could cause a large decrease in sales for Android based handsets in Taiwan - users may turn to Apple to provide their paid app content and feel safe with the knowledge that their rights as a consumer will be honoured.

Some have suggested that processing refunds for a few Taiwan dollars is not worth the hassle, but it cannot be denied that there are many unsatisfactory apps out there - and the principle of obtaining a refund for an unwise purchase is often more important than the actual money.

Division Chief Chen Hung-hsing said on the matter "If Apple can [comply], there is no reason that Google cannot". Google currently provide a 15 minute window for a refund and they clearly have no immediate plans to change that.

What are your own thoughts on this matter? Discuss this in the comments, would you like to see a similar refund policy in your own country, and would it be effective?


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