May 11 AT 3:40 PM Anthony Domanico 110 Comments

Is the 15-minute application refund window bad for Android?

Overall, Google I/O has been a wonderful conference that reminds Android and ChromeOS users about the many reasons they’ve gone Google. From the announcement of Ice Cream Sandwich, to the launch of Google Music, to ChromeOS for Business and Academia, Google has really hit this one out of the ballpark.

But I/O is not all roses and unicorns. During the Android Market session, Google announced that it has no plans to change the 15-minute window it gives users to test out applications and refund those that they don’t get a good first impression of.

In my opinion (and I’m sure in many of yours as well), 15 minutes is simply too short a time to get a feel for how well you’re going to like an application. Heck, many of the newer, larger applications may take more than 15 minutes just to download and set up, let alone test out for how likely you’re going to enjoy the app. Back in the glory days, Google offered a 24-hour refund window which was a great amount of time to really get a feel for whether or not this application was worthy of the $1-30+ you were going to shell out for it.

Keeping the refund window at a measly 15 minutes is bad for developers and bad for Android in general. Android users are going to think twice before purchasing applications that I classify as “luxuries” (i.e., those that are unnecessary but cool to have) for fear of wasting money on applications that sounded like a good idea, but after trying them out for a while, realize they have little use for them.

I believe that we need at least a few hours to really test out applications before committing to spending hard-earned money on them. In the end, applications that are well put-together and serve either an essential or a nice-to-have function will sell more with a larger refund window, and those that aren’t, won’t. Yes, it’s great that sites provide hands-on reviews of applications to provide guidance as to which applications we should buy and which we should avoid, but most people want to experience it for themselves.

To that end, a couple of us from the Android and Me crew discussed this issue, and we came up with three potential solutions:

  1. Google could increase the refund window to somewhere in the 4–24-hour timeframe.
  2. Google could put the refund window in the hands of developers by offering a few timing windows (15 mins, 30 mins, 1 hour, 12 hours, 24 hours, etc.), and let them choose for themselves.
  3. Google could take a page from Amazon’s playbook and offer “test-driving” of applications on their fancy new web-front for the Android Market.

As always, I’m curious to hear from you, our readers.

  1. Am I completely crazy/off-base on this?
  2. Anyone think the 15-minute refund window is a good idea?
  3. What is the sweet spot for a refund window?
  4. Would the ability to test-drive applications while maintaining the 15-minute window be a good middle-ground?
  5. Is it a good idea to put the refund window in the hands of the developers themselves?

Sound off to these (and more) questions in the comments below!

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • Nickedynick

    Yes. And it’ll be worse when the first 4gb apps hit.

    • http://Website ChaosKiller

      The 15 minutes start AFTER the download completes.

      • http://Website st4xor

        Many large apps have small “downloader” applications that are available in the market, and then when the user opens the app for the first time, it will go through a secondary, much larger download. I’ve gone through this many times… +1 for needing a longer window.

        • daveloft

          But they won’t need to use their own downloads anymore. Google will store up to two achieves at 2GB each per app that will be used to download the extra data. Since all the data will be on Google’s servers it should be easy for them to tell when you have the whole app downloaded and then start the 15 minute countdown.

          • Anthony Domanico

            This may fix the fact that some apps can’t be fully downloaded in 15 minutes, but 15 minutes is in no way enough time to test out many applications.

      • http://Website M0nk

        The problem are games, where you download a small apk from the market and then from the game itself you need to download hundred of MBs that are hosted outside the market. That download process over wifi or 3G takes longer than 15 minutes to complete so you do not have the possibility to test the game in the 15 minutes window…

      • http://Website Trey

        And what about apps that require downloading large amounts of game data within the app?

    • Aspeds2989

      You can never please everybody. Pleasing the developers is the priority here so they can develop for the platform, which I think everyone here supports. I highly support it and gladly accept the 15 minute window as a trade-off for attracting more developers to bring quality apps to the Android platform. This is what people do not seem to understand — it’s called making a compromise, and it had to be done.

      Still, I think 30 minutes would be best. If you’re asking for any more time than that, then let’s be honest about the reason — you want your apps free and don’t intend on paying anyway. Stop hiding your “cheapo” statuses behind “Oh, the short return period is keeping me from buying the app.” Psst. Yea right.

      • Aspeds2989

        It’s ok, I know I’ll be voted down.. because I speak the truth!

      • Noice

        Dev here. You speak the truth for people who produce cheap apps and don’t really make useful/complex apps. You speak for the fart sound board devs.

        I want my users to experience the app, and then decide to keep it for the long haul by paying for it. And having a “Demo” vs “Paid” version is a failed mechanism correcting a flaw in the distribution system.

        The 15 minute window is not a cure to the ailment, it’s a symptom.

        I’d vote for 48 hour refund window, with my wallet – and my payroll.

        • Aspeds2989

          Hmm.. I kind of see your point, but I’ve bought a TON of quality apps after trying them for just a few minutes and knowing immediately it’s what I was looking for..

          A few examples are, Read It Later, App Protector Pro, Documents to Go, Beautiful Widgets, Wolfram Alpha, Titanium Backup, Root Explorer and a couple of others.. I only needed a few minutes with all of these paid QUALITY apps before deciding they were keepers.

          • Noice

            In any of those examples, if you found that you liked it in that period of time by testing the basic functionality with a few test cases… but then 2 hours later you get home and attempted to do something that you thought it should do – based upon the description or obvious thing about it that you thought you effectively tested for in your first few minutes – then found that it only worked properly under certain circumstances – you’d probably want a refund.

            eg… Lets go with the idea of a Zip/Unzip application one with a high rating and good reviews, but only a few ratings.

            You install it.
            - you have a zip file on your phone already. You unzip the file and it works. Yay!
            - you grab a few other files on your phone and zip them up. It works. Yay!
            - you unzip that new zip file… it works. Yay!

            You decide – this app is worth my 5 bucks.

            You get home.
            - You zip up a file on your Windows computer with some files you want on your phone.
            - You transfer the zip file over USB/BT3/Wifi/Whatever…
            - You go to unzip the file… it fails/ WTF?!?
            - You try again… it still fails.
            - You make a different zip. It fails.

            You go online and start trying to figure out whats up. You find that in the last few hours, only a few users started asking about it not unzipping files created on windows. WTF?!?!

            The dev admits he didn’t test it on Windows created files, just his Mac. He promises he’ll post a fix.

            You wait… and wait… and wait…

            Aren’t you glad you couldn’t get a refund? Anecdotal example that is exactly the kind of stuff that happens all the time.

          • http://Website Futureboy

            I agree with Noice and, better than an anecdotal example, I’ll give you a real example. Let’s take a look at Quickoffice Pro. It took me 35 minutes to discover the bugs that make the app completely useless for me. To top it all off, I purchased it to replace Spreadsheet which is buggy and is no longer supported by the developers. So between the two, I’m now I’m out $12 and still don’t have a working spreadsheet app. Now, I am very hesitant to put out good money for any app over .99 if I don’t think I can fully evaluate it in 15 minutes. This is horrible for the market because you now have x number of people in my same situation who are hesitant to buy more apps from the market if we can’t be sure they’ll work or will be supported.

            For the developers to make any money, the users have to be able to trust the market. A 15 minute window makes it difficult to trust the market when the market not only carries, but promotes buggy apps all over their front page. I cringed when they were promoting Spreadsheet and now it’s the same with Quickoffice.

            Bottom line is, some apps simply take longer to evaluate. If it has to be a blanket refund window across the entire market, the return window should be extended to an hour. Best solution though is to let the developers decide. They know their apps best and should be the ones to determine a proper evaluation period. If yo’re a developer and want to make a simple game that’s easy to beat, then 15 minutes is the right window. If you’re a developer that has a solid but more complex app, you can give your users time to evaluate. You will build trust and loyalty which will be rewarded with great reviews, repeat business and referrals which translates into more money for the developers, which translates into more and better apps in the market.

          • Anthony Domanico

            Exactly…imagine buying something like a documents to go (or OfficeProHD for Honeycomb) for $10-30, then realizing it screws up formatting within a word document. Now imagine this is somethign you do fairly often for work and bought the whole damn application for work pruposes. You find out days later that the office suite doesn’t do what you need it to do and you’re out 30 bucks.

            PC Software has a 14-30 day refund window, I think applications over $10 should as well.

    • http://Website Mister Magoogle

      To put it simple GOOGLE HAS FU**ED IT UP.

      15minutes is not enough to test an app or even getting used to. It DIScourages the purchase.
      Im ANGRY. Come on, Google give us at least 1-2 hours.

      GOOD apps wont suffer from this.

    • http://Website Ripping you off, Sir

      I’m a fart sound app developer, and i believe 15-minutes are perfectly fine!

  • Clark Wimberly

    How long does the iOS refund window last?

    • Sean Riley

      You have right up until you click the “Buy” button.

      • http://Website Distortedloop

        I don’t believe that’s correct. I’ve received refunds on iOS apps in the past, well after buying them. It’s a bit of a hoop-jumping, but basically you file a complaint about the app and request a refund…it’s not automatic, but the couple of times I’ve asked for one, I got it.

        • Anthony Domanico

          Yeah, like 6 months later you get a refund and think “wtf is this for”

  • http://Website aquariumdrinker

    The 24 hour window gave me enough time to get a feel for whether I would like or use an app or not. The 15 minute window gives me enough time to determine whether it is what I thought it was when I downloaded it.

    To put it another way, I once was able to return a jar of peanuts because I ate a few and decided I didn’t really like them. Now I can only return it if I open it and the jar turns out to contain rice.

    If you’re going to ask “what’s the right return window”, you first need to decide what goals you’re trying to address. Right for what purpose?

  • http://Website JesterOC

    I think the current system needs some some tweeks.

    I checked out Deathworm when it first came out, and it locked up in the first 5 minutes or so. I refunded it quickly because I knew I was on a timer. Then the developer updated it and described the fixes saying it fixed several lockup issues on “certain” phones. I was going to buy it again and try it out, when I got a message that said since I already purchased and returned it, I can’t return it for a refund again. Well they lost a sale, I am not sure if they fixed it for my phone, and I’m not tossing 5 bucks away in the hope that they did.

    If I had a larger return window I would have held on to it and perhaps had it long enough for them to fix it for me, but the 15 minutes windows encourages me and I’m sure others to cut and run at the first sign of trouble.


  • acupunc

    15 minutes certainly is NOT in the favor of the end user. It seems clear that Google is supporting developers here. 24 hours was claimed by many developers to be far to long. The time starts once the download is complete, thus the user needs enough time to ensure that the app works and is what they were looking for, at least a couple hours imo.

  • http://Website Michael

    In the old days I would install a paid app fairly often and get a refund if it didn’t work out for me. I kept quite a few. Now I don’t even consider paid apps unless I have run a free version for a while and concluded that the additional features in the paid version are something I really want.

    Overall I am personally probably better off with the 15-minute window because it causes me to spend less on paid apps, but I think the 15-minute window hurts developers.

    • Anthony Domanico

      It hurts you too. You could very well be missing out on something really rad.

  • http://Website DroidDev

    adb pull never took me more than 15 minutes. :) That being said, 24 hours was a much more appropriate return window. 15 minutes is simply too short.

    • Clark Wimberly

      I’ll assume you are joking but DAMN should you know better!

      • http://Website Usman Ansari

        Just like one would be joking if he said he downloaded and installed cracked apps in order to properly evaluate it prior to buying?

  • Sean Riley

    Nice try, here is your policy direct from Apple.

    With the iTunes Store, all sales are final. As soon as you click the Buy button (using either 1-Click or the Shopping Cart) your purchases are charged to the credit card on your Apple Account. You cannot cancel a purchase or receive a refund for a purchase. See the iTunes Terms of Sale for additional information.

    • http://Website penelope78

      Jailbroken iPhones will do, douchebag.

      • http://Website @neidlinger

        there is only one Douchebag here penelope78.

        /just saying.

  • uzunoff

    Definitely not enough. I also doubt that the 15 minute window starts when the download finishes. i think it starts when you buy the app. Which is BS.
    I would say at least an hour.
    One time I had to e-mail the developer for refund since the Android Market refused the refund. The developer gave me my 5$ back,
    That was nice of him.

  • http://Website Freddayyy

    I honestly think the window is perfect. 24 hours gives TOO much time for people to play the game & refund or just use the app for a while & return it. Apple doesn’t even give refund so why do people complain. Buy an app you want….not one you THINK you like. Become decisive & then come complaining about the 15 minutes window.

    • Anthony Domanico

      “Becoming decisive” would likely mean fewer paid apps being purchased, which would cause severe damage to Android. If devs see no monetary potential in android, they’re going to dev for apple. Period.

    • http://Website Syteman

      Apps that can stand the test of time are the ones that deserve to be in the marketplace. The window should be longer. The only developers the shortened window benefits are the ones who make crappy apps.

  • http://Website David

    I think 4 hours would be more appropriate. I like the idea of giving developers a few options for the length of the return period, which different ones make sense based on the type of application. Some can be evaluated in 15 minutes, some may need longer.

  • http://Website DistortedLoop

    I’ve never worried about eating the price on an app that’s a buck or two; if it’s bad, it’s no big deal in the long run. More expensive apps, though, the 15 minute window has kept me from purchasing an app.

    Most recent example was SPB Shell. It looks awesome, so I purchased it. It’s such a paradigm shift, and has so many features that it was impossible to get any feel for whether I would like it or not, and $15 is too much to gamble on something I might end up hating two hours later, so I refunded the app and won’t try it again.

    The developer lost a potential sale there for sure, I might very well have kept it if I’d had a full day to play with it.

    I like the dusggestion that the developer can set a window, or how about a fourth: the window to refund increases as the price of the app increases. Under $3 = 15 mins. $3-$6 = 60 mins, $6-$10 120….etc. A 15 to $20 app should get at least 8-12 hours (preferably 24) to try before you buy.

    Of course, this whole discussion ignores the free trial app or demo version method, which works well most of the time.

    • Lane

      While it would add a layer of confusion, I support this idea.

  • http://Website Thorpeland

    The 15 minute window has been a nightmare for me. I sometimes can’t get certain apps to do what i want or get them setup within 15min. Let alone know if i really like them! I’ll admit, more than once ive seen the price of an app, thought about the 15 minute window and just found the .apk from “another resource”. I have no interest in paying for a $5 app to find out it doesn’t do what i need and now i missed the return window by one minute.

  • http://Website Nick

    Decision should be left to devs to decide. Up to 1 hour is plenty good enough for everyone. 15 minutes it just plain stupid.

    Personally, I’d like to see them implement a window every time you try the app. Say up to 1 hour the first time. Then only 10-15 minutes to try again. (Example above me, where someone downloaded the app. Had a problem, so they refunded it, dev says they fixed it, but now customer is stuck in a rock and a hard place. Do I buy it now in hopes they did or just say, screw it!)

    Again, leaving it all up to the devs to decide which route or routes they want to go. Choice is good.

  • http://Website Tiger

    I think 30 minutes would be ideal.

    If developers are allowed to choose then it’ll just result in confusion.

  • http://Website Anish

    For some apps 15 minutes is certainly fine, but for most it is NOT. Google should at least extend it to 1-2 hours if not more.

  • Lane

    The recent addition of Gameloft games is a perfect example of what is wrong with a 15-minute window. I’ve been complaining about this on twitter (14n3) all day when not celebrating the new ChromeOS news.

    After downloading Modern Combat 2, I had to download an additional 300MB+ over wifi. Many people wont be on wifi when they buy that game, and even if you are that is guarantee you can download the huge amount of additional data and test on your device within 15 minutes.

    Changing when the timer starts will only help when developers can make larger apks and IF they choose to stop the practice of forcing a data
    download post-install.

    Developers actually have an incentive to keep small apks and large post-install downloads to run users over the 15-minute return window.

    I think 2 hours would strike a much more acceptable balance.

  • http://Website Vince

    Thanks Google for giving us more reasons to pirate the fuck out of your market. What a joke…

    • http://Website Thorpeland

      Unfortunately thats very true. Id prefer to pay a developer for their hard work on a good app. But that short of a window creates a hassle and hassle drives people to find easier ways to get the apps they want. Even if that means pirate sites.

      Although, on a couple apps I had gone the pirate route just so i could use the app for a few days. I ended up really liking the app. I un-installed the pirate version and grabbed the legit one from Market so i could pay.

      Either way, 15min is for the dogs.

      • Clark Wimberly

        Saying pirating apps is “easier” is a definite stretch. “Cheaper” is probably the word you want.

        • Noice

          Not easier. Not cheaper. “More justifiable” would be the way I would put it.

          User: I want to try out this $10 app that will take me a week of use to know if I’m going to use it all the time.

          System: No refunds after 15 minutes

          User: *Googles app* -> Oh I can try it before I buy here.

          A week later…

          User: Maybe I should buy this app now. I Love it! *Loads Market* Oooh, shiny new app to try. Maybe I can try this $2 app that will keep me occupied for 20 minutes…

          System: No refunds after 15 minutes

          User: *Googles app* -> This is so awesome!

          I understand the buy, use to the extent of the app and get a refund problem… it’s a problem with the product. If I’m bored with a product in 15min it wasn’t a good product. That’s the reality. Sure there’s abuse – there is in any retail transaction system that is even remotely fair to both parties. Right now it’s unfair to all parties except the people who make trivial products.

          • Clark Wimberly

            I like the scenario you’ve described but there’s no way that’s the way it plays out for the average downloader. How many people downloading music go back later and purchase the album?

            I’m sure there’s a hearty community of try-before-you-buy folk out there, but I bet if we had hard stats to look at (which of course we don’t), I’d bet the ratio to pirates is abysmal.

          • Noice

            @ Clark

            I’d posit that with anecdotal examples… this is pretty common. For instance:

            My non-techy, facebook loving cousin who is a 14 hour a day registered nurse doesn’t ever buy apps from the market – because she can get all the apps she learned in a facebook wall post how to get any app she wants for free – whenever she wants.

            Why did she start doing this, because the 8 or 9 apps she bought from the market didn’t work adequately and she “couldn’t” get a refund. Why should she pay for the unknown when she can get it all for free – and maybe pay for something someday later.

            Her brother – who doesn’t run in the same facebook circles and is a High School Dropout who works as a bartender and has never owned a computer. He goes over to his geeky friend’s house every once in a while and has a bunch of pirated apps/games installed by the friend. He knows it’s theft – but he seriously doesn’t have the pennies to ‘waste’… but does have the pennies to ‘buy’ things he actually will use.

            A handful of people I work with also just bypass the market – because again… no risk/no loss. Everyone knows a geek or 6, and many ‘simple’ users are capable of simple google queries.

            The “all in” nature of this no returns gambling (erm selling) is very much making less people buy and develop. People can argue all day that “Apple is doing fine with no refunds… rabble rabble rabble” but it’s not a sensible model for the long-term health as a growth market.

            Google needs to innovate and ensure that consumer and developer protections genuinely benefit a long-term supply/demand symbiosis.

      • http://Website Vince

        Half of the time, I’m not near a wi-fi connection so I have to wait till I get home before I can do after market download. That’s way past 15 mins. Even if you’re near a wi-fi connection, before the after market download is done, 15 mins is up either way. How you cut a refund time from 24 hours to 15 mins is beyond me…

        • daveloft

          Simple solution is to not buy big apps like 3D games till you have access to WiFi.

  • http://Website Jay

    Well as long as you don’t abuse the power and rip off devs, root users can back up the apk and reinstall after a refund. There would be very very rare instances where I would consider doing that as I fall under the category of 15 minutes being plenty of time. With great power comes great responsibility, if you like the app you should really purchase the app again or at least donate via paypal.

    • daveloft

      There is a simple block of code available to devs to implement in their apps that will have it periodically check to see if the gmail user running the app owns it and if it sees it was refunded it will not run anymore. Not all apps have this implemented, but it is available to block theives from this sort of shenanigans.

  • http://Website cesar

    Yes the 15min window is insane. I think 24 hrs is a much better window. That should be enough time to decide whether an app is good for you or not

  • http://Website dbareis

    As if one time could ever suit all apps… Many developers know you need much longer and 7, 14 DAYS are common (outside the Android Market), for “FREE” apps that expire in that time. Let the developers choose the expiry period.

    I will try the products from longest to shortest expiry time.

  • http://Website shaneaus

    I think you are right on target. The 15 minute window is ridiculous! I think they should take a two fold approach. 1) let the dev”s pick from some times as you stated. 2) offer “test-driving” of applications on their fancy new web-front for the Android Market.

    The first point is VERY important. One app may not need very long for a user to evaluate. Zuma (if it were a paid app) would be very easy to evaluate in 15 minutes. However, an Office type application might take several days – and, for 15.00 or so – a user should be afforded that time to test it out.

    Recently, I tried out a certain launcher that cost quite a few pennies… After testing it out for an hour or so I decided it just wasn’t for me. I wanted more features like ADW Ex and it just didn’t have them. Luckily, they were a conscientious dev group and after I sent them an email they promptly issued a refund. But, what if they hadn’t? That would have sucked!

    Allowing the dev’s to choose refund times would also allow the devs to adjust the refund times according to the complexity of the application.

  • John Drinkwater

    A day was a good time period, it allowed you to open, play with, download extra content, really assess the app you’d just bought. I was quite vocal about the reduction to 15 minutes…
    If they were to increase it, I would be content with a 6/12 hour window.

  • http://Website Toha

    I totally agree with!

  • http://Website Kevin McHale

    15 minutes IS A JOKE,
    come on i often spent 15 minutes on the rim alone, trying to dump!

    Make it 99 hours

  • http://Website WTH


  • http://Website Charlotte

    The market went from one extreme to the other. I think a refund window of 1-2 hours is fair to the developer and the purchaser.

    Having said that, If I burn a buck or two on a shitty app, I’ll be okay. It’s the more expensive ones that give me pause with this ridiculous 15 minute window.

    • daveloft

      I wouldn’t call a return policy that went from change length going from ‘one extreme to the other’ Dropping returns all together would be what I call going from one extreme to the other.

  • http://Website Lox

    My experience: since the 15mn, I haven’t tried many paid apps I wanted to. And thus the developer didn’t get a single chance that I buy and keep it.

  • http://Website LMO

    Like Many Others, if there is no trial version I’ll get the app elsewhere (duh..) and after I’m satisfied that it is what I’m looking for (usually within 1-2 hours max) I’ll remove it, and buy the app. Otherwise, I remove it and move on with no financial loss. I strongly support the Developers, but am offended by the 15 minute limitation.

  • http://Website Miguel

    15 minutes is fine. Many developers already post notices that they will refund users who email them asking for one after the deadline. And before you say “What if they don’t?”… well that’s why you should only buy from merchants whom you you agree with their return policy. This is no different than going to the mall.

    • Clark Wimberly

      Except that it’s completely different. Merchants in the mall set their own return policies….

      • http://Website Miguel

        Which is what they do in the market, and which is exactly what I said. Many developers have a policy, as in the mall, to refund items past the automated refund window. They clearly state this policy in the app description.


    If it where not for that small window i may have bought alot more apps.. but in makes me think twice alot and that is the number one NO NO IN BUSINESS. Never let the customer think twice

  • Ken

    Regardless of Google’s return policy, your credit card may guarantee better terms. Amex requires that all purchases, including software, be refundable for at least 90 days. And if I’m unhappy with any charge, for any reason, they’ll order a chargeback and under Google’s current software, that seems to result in me keeping the app I’m not happy with either way.

    I think a 30 day window is reasonable. 24 hours is OK for smaller apps, but not for something like, say, a keyboard. 15 minutes is an insult.

    FWIW, you can also usually email the developer directly and ask for a manual refund. Reasonable ones will offer it. Unreasonable ones will face an Amex chargeback in my case.

    • Clark Wimberly

      I’ve never quite understood the process of a chargeback. If you agree to purchase something with a 15 minute return policy, what right does Amex have months later to take money back? I know things have always been that way and for years now I’ve been confused as to how chargebacks are even legal.

      Lots of times I see them used in the proper manner but just as often I see them used to settle online beefs where both sides are probably in the wrong.

    • Clark Wimberly

      For instance, I’d understand issuing a chargeback if the market/dev actually failed to provide a refund in the agreed upon 15 minutes. However, if you download the app and just fail to refund in time, that blame falls squarely on your shoulders. The dev and market both held up their part of the agreement, but the consumer is allowed to back out at a later date.

      To me, an unjust chargeback is basically fraud.

      • Clark Wimberly

        Also I guess I am speaking in ideal terms, where apps function as expected. If in the future an app fails to perform as sold, I guess a chargeback would be in order. I just don’t think it should ever be used to circumvent terms that you willingly agreed to.

        I’ll stop talking to myself now, haha.

  • http://Website Vagif

    I think that 2-3 hours will be good enough to test an application.

  • http://Website Taylor

    Lite/free and full version will solve all problem. As simple as that.

    • Clark Wimberly

      I’m not trying to pick on you, as lots of users are making that point, but what happens when one of the pay features is specifically what you want to test drive?

  • jupiik

    And what about us, I am from Slovakia and we still can’t even buy any apps :/ Not even from Amazon market …not even a free app of a day :’( Believe me, this sucks and our only option would be to ….find it on web..

  • Name (required)

    If developers got to choose the refund window then we’d just receive more low ratings because we chose 15 minutes. If there is going to be a refund window at all it should probably be an hiurhour. I’m actually not in favor of any refund window. Any app worth buying has a demo/lite version. No other platform offers any refund windows so 15 is therefore better. Google is also changing when the 15th minutes starts.

  • http://Website ozzzy3z

    The 15 minute window has saved me money. With the 24 hour window I took a chance on, and purchased, a lot of apps (over $100 worth) knowing if the app was substandard I could get a refund. Now, I never buy an app unless I can try a lite version or test drive the app on a friend’s phone first.

  • http://Website zack

    Easy, just peg the refund time to the price of the app.

    So if the app is lesser than $1.99, 15 mins.
    2.00 – 4.99 – 30 mins
    5 – 9.99 – 1 hr
    10 ++ 2hrs

    That sort of thing.

    More expensive app would usually mean that the app has more features, usability and such (else why pay more?), and therefore, requires a longer period of time for testing.

    Those $2 game whereby usually, you can complete in 1 day should not have such a long refund period as people can just finish the game within the refund window.

  • Rajesh

    I think they need to come up with a solution that can vary depending on the:
    1) Complexity of the app – it’s hard to draw a line in this without apps being moderated.
    2) Size of the app download
    3) Size of additional data download

    15 minutes is too miserly if you ask me. Somewhere between 2 hours to 4 hours would be great!

  • http://Website 56_kruiser

    I’m not sure why having a longer window means a person wouldn’t pay for it, based on an earlier poster.

    The 15 minute window has stopped me from purchasing apps for the most part. Got burned a time or two (albeit the apps typically aren’t that expensive).

    ONe of the problems is (besides all the already posted comments), if you have a short window, then you need to plan a focused time (albeit short in this case) to download, install, test, decide, uninstall.

    If having a longer windows allows somehow for people to steal the app, I understand. But if not, then why the big deal about having 24 hours?

    Frankly, maybe I am wrong. but I suspect if a person is intent on stealing an app, there is a way to do that anyway.

  • http://Website Radu

    You can always email the developer and ask for a refund.
    I am a developer and I would always refund the money, if the user feels that the app doesn’t fulfill his requirements. You can’t please everyone !
    Plus is better to refund him, than get a negative vote.

  • http://Website Bryan

    As a developer I think we should be able to choose how long of a refund period is issued on each application.

    As iOS has seen a refund is NOT needed, I think it is nice but it’s not like we are buying a new car her its usually $0.99, less than the price of a soda.

    If you can spend $200+ on a phone and $60+ a month for service on that phone whats $5+ a month on apps…

  • Justin Shapcott

    Just so everyone knows, this is one of the most starred issues on the Android Issue Tracker. If you feel strongly about it, go star it and leave a comment. Perhaps it won’t amount to anything but it certainly won’t hurt.

  • http://Website ronabong

    Why not let Market decide for us. A second source determine if the app is fully install and begins the timer. And when the time is up a message is sent informing whether you would like to complete the purchase or add a little more time (up to a certain limit before app is self uninstalled or becomes a demo).

  • http://Website Ueon

    I agree.

    15 min is ridiculous!

    24 hours is generous!!

  • http://Website Owain

    While such a short refund window exists without prior vetting of Apps (like with iOS) Android will be home of the cheap, nasty and fake $1 apps that piss us all off… The refund window adds a level of accountability to developers that is lacking in the Market.

  • http://Website Paul Atreides

    There should be different refund windows depending on the app category. None should be less than an hour. Google should have never fell from 24 hours to 15 minutes.

  • http://Website TaintedShirt

    I tweeted this to All About Android yesterday. I think you are totally right, in that it is bad for consumers and developers.

    People will only risk trying apps til they get burned with something that they don’t need out doesn’t run well on their phone. After that they’ll be more reticent about posting with cash.

    A combination of a test drive (to check out the app) and a short refund window say 4 hours (to see how it actually runs on your phone) would be the best option I feel.

  • http://Website guardianali

    1. Apple doesn’t even have one. 15 min or 15 hours be glad there is one.

    2. 15 min is ok. If u need more, that’s what lite/trial apps are for.

  • http://Website Russ

    I really like the idea of letting the devs choose, but the min. time should be at least an hour.

  • http://Website ihatefanboys

    No disrespect to the DEVs in the room, but lets just be honest here. I have 180 to 200 apps on my G2, most are free, but some, mostly games are paid for, and I still forget why i downloaded a particular app when i rediscover it in the crowd. To say that anyone that has that many apps actually uses them all and finds them useful as a reason to buy it, or justify buying it is just silly. Its the same as someone that has an MP3 player and has 5000 songs on it, he or she obviously dont, cant, or wont listen to all 5000, regardless of the fact that they paid .99ct for each one(still dont get paying for music, but thats besides the point)

    So its an issue of marketing something someone wants “right now” and not something they want for “later” You developers whine about wanting users to experience your apps, and lets be honest, you want to make money, bottom line. Otherwise you would just give the app away for free download, so dont get all big and noble about it. Every time someone buys an app id be hoping they just miss that 15 min window, and id make my $5, sorry dude.

    You cant be a serious developer selling paid apps, then complain that you want consumers to be able to take back the money they just gave you. its bad business. the 15 min window is for the developers benefit and thats why google will never ever, ever, change it.

    As for the rest of you, take a goddamn chance, its still 15 more minutes than apple gives you.

  • McLovin

    I don’t like the 15 minute window. It’s worthless in my opinion. I definitely don’t buy apps as casually as I used to. I have one app that I paid over $10 for (vim) that doensn’t run at all on my T-Mobile G-2

    • McLovin

      Android has the serious fragmentation problem that the competition doesn’t have. If Google would police the store and make sure everything works I wouldn’t care if the grace period was zero and all sales are final.

      If developers really stood behind their products and were not out for the quick sale I might buy more, knowing that it will work or not.

      I never buy anything from BestBuy. They treat you like a criminal if you ever have to return anything. I always buy from Costco or Sams because if I need to return they have no questions asked. They understand the value of customer satisfaction. That’s something the software app store market is sorely lacking.

      • http://Website welcome to android fragmentation

        this is fragmentation

  • http://Website 5n4r35

    15 minutes IS 15 minutes longer than the competition. I think we should all keep in mind that it could be worse. On the other hand I think that there needs to be ample time for the end user to download setup and try the app. In many cases it does take 24 hours to test everything else. But other cases it takes 20 minutes for you to get your fill. Whilst giving it to teh devs to decide may do more harm than good. There needs to be one standard amount of time. Otherwise there will be lots of confusion for customers. This will frustrate them and be worse for android. I see both sides of the arguement you can’t make everyone happy but I’d on a bigger return window becuase apps are only gonna get bigger and more complex as time goes on. Thus end users will need more and more time to get all the settiings set and files downloaded to really get a feel for the app. Test drive is a very good idea but as developers know simulators aren’t always a perfect analog. Hopfully this will change with Ice Cream Sandwich but for now I’d say increasing the return window to 12hr is good. Gives most people a day to test it in there lives to see if it makes things easier or harder.

  • http://Website barfuss

    hmm… I’m not for a refund period at all! app store doesn’t have refund period and it’s much more attractive to developers. when the refund period was 24 hours, many developers didn’t want to make apps for android market.. so, google changed it because they wanted some better apps..

    on the other side, if some developers want some trial period for their app, they will make trial version of app.. just like trial period PC apps…

    and everything’s fine and everybody is happy (except those who wants free apps for 24 hours)… if you want to try some app, you’ll download a trial version.. if that app doesn’t have trial version, you’ll not download it at all or you’ll maybe give developer 1-2 USD to buy it even if you’ll don’t like it after 24 hours or more…

    in the end, it’s not the end of the world if you not like the app after 24 hours (and you bought it for $1 or $2)… you had fun for few hours with that app… where else you can have fun for few hours for dollar or two?
    and last but not least, developer who made that app probably didn’t made it in few hours… and probably not in a few days… more likely he made it in a few weeks or month or more…

    so, think, people, think… if you want a better market (and better apps and better developers on market) refund period has to vanish completely..

    just my two cents…

  • http://Website barfuss

    hmm… I’m not for a refund period at all! app store doesn’t have refund period and it’s much more attractive to developers. when the refund period was 24 hours, many developers didn’t want to make apps for android market.. so, google changed it because they wanted some better apps..

    on the other side, if some developers want some trial period for their app, they will make trial version of app.. just like trial period PC apps…

    and everything’s fine and everybody is happy (except those who wants free apps for 24 hours)… if you want to try some app, you’ll download a trial version.. if that app doesn’t have trial version, you’ll not download it at all or you’ll maybe give developer 1-2 USD to buy it even if you’ll don’t like it after 24 hours or more…

    in the end, it’s not the end of the world if you not like the app after 24 hours (and you bought it for $1 or $2)… you had fun for few hours with that app… where else you can have fun for few hours for dollar or two?
    and last but not least, developer who made that app probably didn’t made it in few hours… and probably not in a few days… more likely he made it in a few weeks or month or more…

    so, think, people, think… if you want a better market (and better apps and better developers on market) refund period has to vanish completely..

    just my two cents…

  • http://Website /

    90 minutes

  • http://Website JayMonster

    I think the 15 minute window is good if it brings in developers scared off by larger window.

    That being said I agree with the idea of letting the developers decide by providing a selection of options this way those that are ok with a larger window could provide it.

  • http://Website Sidharth Dassani

    I agree that 15 minutes is too short a time span. Sometimes the apps do not install within 15 minutes and even if they it may take you more time than that to check out whether the app is worth or not. What I feel is that Google should allow developers the option to choose the refund window which should be within 60 minutes to 4 hours. If the developer thinks his product is good enough or has many bells and whistles that the users need to check he / she may offer a higher refund window. My advice to Google is to leave it completely to developer.

  • Rob Fawcett

    15 minutes is absurdly short for professional apps which require configuration both at installation and prior to productive use.

    Take as an example sophisticated apps which interact with Hosted Exchange servers. You have to:
    * Get the app properly configured to communicate with the server
    * Sync data with the server
    * Confirm data fields are not getting corrupted during transactions in either direction
    * Confirm that you can set up filters/views in the GUI which meet your business requirements
    * Then spend at least a few minutes actually using the app to see if it’s intuitive, buggy, resource-hungry, whether it remembers key configs on restart/reboot etc.

    You can’t complete the essential basic prerequired tasks neccessary to begin evaluating such an app within 15 minutes, let alone progress to learning even whether it’s 100% useless or not. An hour would be tough but conceivable, 15 minutes is simply ludicrous, still more so when only a single trial is allowed, so if you have trouble setting up an app and run out of time you can’t even take a second better-informed run at it.

  • http://Website zee112

    Should be 30 mins. I’ve already been stuck with an app that wasn’t fully functional on my phone. I discovered the problem around minute 18. Now I have to depend on the dev to release a fix.

  • Steven Smith

    I think that it should be 1 hour. 15 mins is too short to make sure that everything works with the app. And half the time (if you have sprint like me…) their 3G sucks and the app doesnt even download before the 15 mins is up…

  • http://Website Bob B.

    I, not owning an android device (yet), can honestly not think of a reason why there should be a refund window this short. Here’s my thinking:
    If the app is horrible, its usually obvious, so 15 minutes is enough.
    If it is a story game, and it takes 20 minutes to finish, its too late.

    If it’s a great game, great.

    A good plan…..

    Have NO WINDOW (an infinite time frame) and have devs have “checkpoints” in their apps, where if the user gets past X levels, they can no longer refund it. It’s win-win. Users can’t abuse content any more than that specific dev allows, and devs set their own parameters.

    The above solution is mostly for games. For other things, like office tools, calendars, text messaging apps, chats, and anything else, allow another dev-set checkpoint system.

    For productivity, allow X amount of documents created, etc.
    For calendars, allow a week, or whatever fits that app.
    Texting apps – 50 texts sent?
    Chats (video, voice, and text) – 1 hour of communication
    And everything else specific to that app.

    The only problem with this system is devs abusing their checkpoints, ex. 1 text sent, 10 words in a doccument, etc.
    A fix for this is Google setting certain terms and conditions that the user can contact Google about for that specific app. Ex. Dev has unfair checkpoint that is unconstitutional (constitution being Google’s T&C), user reports it to Google, Google agent verify’s user’s concern, Google refunds and alters app or makes dev alter app.

    I’m making this up as I go, so please comment with any ideas. This might be patent-worthy! …maybe…

  • http://Website Mike F.

    15 minutes very small time interval, but this application help me here with it, all time see what is the time remains.

    • http://Website Boris

      I also use this app to track remain time. Now I always uninstall programs in time.

  • Uknown

    As a Developer, I have found people sometimes may buy your app use it for what they want and then get a refund.. they may have only needed to use your app once… say for video conversion or encoding and now no longer need it..

    Does that mean they shouldnt have paid for it? no but thats a flaw within its self… 15minutes is good, if you dont known within 10mins of using it… then thats your fault

  • Anthony Goodley

    I often won’t buy an app because of this crazy 15 minute return window. I don’t expect everything to be free and I’m more than willing to pay a fair price for my apps.

    What makes me think twice is what if after downloading everything I find out the app really isn’t compatiable with my device when it says it is. Or doesn’t work as I expected it to? Then I’m out X dollars with no recourse. Currently I’m shopping around for a reliable GPS app that works offline since my Nexus 10 is WiFi only. These GPS apps range from $8 up to over $30. I’d have no problem paying $50 or even $100 for one IF it works good and has the functionality I need on a daily basis.

    By the time I download 2 GB of map files that 15 minute window is long closed. So I’ve only tried out ones that either offer a demo or are free.

    Google Play really needs to address this issue by also letting the devs decide how big the refund window should be for THEIR APPS!