Earlier this month, we reported on Google’s fight with Tapei City over the prescribed refund period in Android Market. Taiwanese law gives consumers a seven-day, no questions asked return period, while Android Market has a window of just 15 minutes within which to claim a refund.
Both Apple’s App Store (which has no built-in refund mechanic) and Android Market were ordered to comply with Taiwanese law and while Apple has complied, Google simply withdrew all paid-for apps from the Taiwanese version of the market.
Google issued the following statement: “Android Market already provides a 15-minute refund window for all paid apps – which reflects the fact that apps are delivered over-the-air instantly and most users who request a refund do so within minutes of their purchase. We believe this policy helps consumers make educated decisions about the apps they buy while enabling Taiwanese developers to manage their business effectively.”
Tapei City government, however, was not amused, calling the move ‘a clear attempt to hold Taiwan’s consumers hostage in exchange for the privilege of refusing to follow Taiwanese law’, followed swiftly by a T$1m ($35000 approx) fine.
Our friends at the FT tell us that Taiwan is gearing up for an election, so it’s likely Tapei City thought it could score some quick ‘consumer champion’ points at the expense of Apple and Google.
Whatever the final resolution, $35k is pocket change for Google and we await its next move with interest…