We received several reports of occurrence that user who purchased our app tries to cancel/refund the app, it shows as “cancelled” on our end but the user didn’t get the refund. I told them to contact Google directly as we have no control over the situation but to be frank, I don’t know what Google phone number or email they should use and how the issue will be resolved.

The 24 hours refund policy on Android Market has been very controversial among android app developers. I noticed two problems with it. First is the abuse of the policy and piracy. People might abuse the policy, especially for the games. They can play a paid game for a whole day and return it, get full refund. Other people who have root access might copy the apk file from the phone, refund it, install the apk manually then they will get the app for free. I tried to think people are good. Most apps are 99 cent after all. Why bother pirating such cheap apps? The second problem is this policy promotes returning without thinking about it. Some users know they can refund but don’t know how soon they could do it or afraid they might forget to do it if they didn’t do it immediately. So they just try the app in a rush before even trying to understand the app. If  having a tiny doubt of the app when trying, they click on the “refund/uninstall” button because they are afraid that the button will become “uninstall” only in the next second. I noticed this as I randomly picked some users who returned our app and try to engage a conversation with them. Many of them didn’t understand what the app is doing. Other even said they didn’t have time to try it so return it. After I briefly show them how to use it, they like the app.

I totally understand the philosophy behind Google’s 24 hour return policy. Google’s slogan is “don’t be evil”. As businessmen, we all know customers are god. But I think this returning policy is still badly executed. Android market should let the app developer choosing the refunding policy, not by Google. For example, if I am making a game that can be finished within 2 hours, I certainly don’t want it to be refundable as long as they do have two hours of fun. If I am making an app that is useful all the time (such as the Advanced Ruler Pro we make), I will allow a longer than 24 hours refund period so that user has enough time to try it. Users will look at the refund policy and the price of each app and decide if they will purchase the app. If an app developer made a lousy app and refuse to refund, users can post bad comments or trigger chargeback  through their credit card company. With a hefty $25 chargeback fee, I think no app developer will even refuse to refund. Eventually, app developers will make their app better and the users still have their choices.