Apple brings new digital return policies to EU shoppers
Returning a smartphone or tablet is one thing: whether you’re dealing with a retailer or the manufacturer directly, you’ve often got a couple weeks (if not months or longer) to bring the issue to their attention, and these companies are often pretty good about making things right (assuming, of course, that you didn’t accidentally damage your new phone and are just trying to game the system – shame!). But the situation has been far less pleasant when it comes to digital items, and regardless of if we’re talking about movies, music, or even apps, getting any money back can be like pulling teeth. For instance, with Google and its Play Store, we only just saw the return window stretch to two hours – and even that was considered generous. That’s why we’re so shocked to learn about the new Apple policy going into effect in many EU nations, giving users a comfortable 14-day refund window for many digital purchases.
In the affected nations, which include the UK, Germany, Italy, and France (among others), users can request a refund within two weeks of their purchase. While this should work quite automatically for apps and most media, there are some exceptions: things like season passes or iTunes Match subscriptions will require special handling from Apple support.
One big warning: this only appears to apply to items you’ve purchased, but haven’t yet downloaded. So it may protect you from inadvertently buying apps without thinking twice, but it’s not a license to get some two-week-long free demos of everything on iTunes.
Why would Apple be so generous? Well, it’s not like it has much of a choice, and this change of policy appears to be in response to EU consumer protections laws and the 14-day “right of withdrawal” shoppers in those EU nations are guaranteed. That is to say: don’t expect a similar arrangement to come to the US or other countries without legislative intervention.