Taipei Orders Google & Apple To Offer 7-Day Free Trials Of All Apps Offered Via App Markets

from the liability-confusion dept

Apparently some regulators in Taiwan's capital city of Taipei have extended some consumer protection laws such that they've ordered Google and Apple to start providing 7-day free trials of every app, in either the Apple App Store or the Google Android Marketplace, or face large fines. The issue is that the consumer protection laws require a grace period for returns, which neither of these services provide to the extent that Taipei regulators would like. Apple and Google, quite reasonably, point out that they should not be liable as third parties, suggesting (implicitly) that it should be developers themselves who are responsible for obeying any sort of consumer protection regulations. However, Taipei regulators aren't buying it:
"Such a claim is an irresponsible business practice," Yeh said.
The two companies have been given 15 days to comply with the law, and if they are unable to do so, they could be facing significant fines. It does make me wonder if either company even has the functionality to offer such things across the board, and how various developers would feel about that.

Filed Under: apps, free, taipei
Companies: apple, google

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  1. icon
    Mark Murphy (profile), 7 Jun 2011 @ 11:10am

    Android Market: Definitely Possible

    The Android Market used to have a 48-hour refund period. They changed that policy to be a 15-minute refund period. The complaints were from developers creating apps whose value might be consumed in that 48-hour window (e.g., games with only a few levels). Hence, technically, Google could require a 7-day refund period, across the board, or perhaps only for app sold in Taiwan (though probably not only Taipei).

    Google has no ability to enforce these terms on any other distribution channel, and developers in the Android Market itself have limited ability to offer longer refund periods themselves (per Google's apparent argument).

    However, Taipei's 15-day demand means that paid apps will probably be pulled from Taiwan, at least for a while, as these sorts of changes aren't going to be implemented quite that quickly.

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