Apple’s defense against excessive refunds

Late last year, Apple made a change to its EU-based App Store/iTunes terms and conditions. Here are two excerpts from the UK terms agreement:

Right of cancellation: If you choose to cancel your order, you may do so within 14 days from when you received your receipt without giving any reason, except iTunes Gifts which cannot be refunded once you have redeemed the code.


Exception to the right of cancellation: You cannot cancel your order for the supply of digital content if the delivery has started upon your request and acknowledgement that you thereby lose your cancellation right.

This last bit turns out to be critical. It gives Apple the right to defend against people who might abuse the no-questions-asked refund policy. Here’s one report, showing this clause at work:

One reader explains that when Apple introduced the new 14-day return policy, he started treating this policy as a trial period of some sort. After spending about $40 in various apps to trial, he was able to get $25 refunded, but Apple took notice of his behavior and a message popping up in the App Store now warns him that he will no longer be eligible for refunds on new purchases.

Here’s the language in the new alert:

I acknowledge that if I download this app within fourteen days of tapping ‘Buy’, I will no longer be eligible to cancel this purchase.

Seems fair.