Jun 27 AT 1:36 PM Edgar Cervantes 26 Comments

Google pulls paid apps from Taiwan Android users after being fined for 15-minute return window

The 15-minute return window for paid apps is something that we have been complaining about for a very long time. While most of us are asking for a couple of hours, or a day for testing, Taiwan Government is requesting that Google give people a 7-day trial period for paid apps. Taiwan claims that this 15-minute window is not enough for the consumer to make an adequate judgement of the purchase, hence infringing on their rights as consumers (Wouldn’t we all want a Government that fought for our Android rights?!).

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 (could) do so within minutes of their purchaseGoogleOfficial Statement

After Google was given a 15-day ultimatum by the Taiwanese Government, the search giant was expected to introduce this 7-day trial. Google decided not to give in to said request, a decision that costed them a NT (New Taiwan) $1 million fine, which translates to about $34,550 US dollars.

What did Google do about this? Simple, they suspended paid apps for all of Taiwan! Google does state that this is only a temporary solution, until they can get issues arranged with the Taiwanese Government. This sure is an unexpected move, though, and a huge decision for Google.

The most interesting fact is that Apple actually complied with the same request. While us Android users usually complain about Apple’s ways (which are usually much more locked and restricted), they went ahead and introduced the 7-day trial period for Taiwanese customers. This is simply impressive, since the Apple App Store actually has no return policy at all. One only wonders if the rest of the world will start seeing more refund love from Apple. It seems very doubtful, but then again, so was this.

The Taiwanese Government is taking this action as a form of attack towards their community, claiming that Google is trying to coerce Taiwanese customers into giving up their rights as consumers (basically putting them “between a sword and a wall,” with no option but to comply to Google’s policies).

In the meantime, we have to wait and see what happens with this issue. Google is actually sending officials to Taipei, in order to further discuss this matter with the Taiwanese authorities. It goes without saying that we definitely do not want our fellow Taiwanese Android fans to be left out. If they get that nice 7-day trial period, though, I say we need to get in on the action too! Riot, anyone?


It seems like our source (Taipei Times) made a small mistake in the currency conversion. About a $300,000 US dollar mistake. Our reader Hans has brought to our attention that $1 million New Taiwan dollars is actually about $34,550 US dollars, not $345,500. Sorry about the misunderstanding, and the article has been updated to show the actual amount.

Via: Android Police

Source: Taipei Times

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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  • http://Website rovex

    7 days is too long, many apps may only have a purpose for a few days, so would effectively be free. 24 hours is much better, as it was and as it should be.

    • Dave K

      I think 7 days is too long, especially for games. Maybe they could make it 36 hours, and allow only 1 refund in a 90 day window. I think that would prevent abuse.

  • http://www.pc-point.co.uk Adnan

    Does the same rule apply to others like Apple App store, Microsoft apps, other software, new cars, web hosting, etc?

    • http://Website Bruce


      • http://Website Adnan

        I did read it and am sure the Apple paragraph wasnt there before. :)

        • Angie Strickland

          Your eyes must have jumped. I proofed this and it was there from the beginning.

  • http://Website Daniel

    Actually, Apple does have a refund policy, it’s just cumbersome (you have to file a request for refund and wait for them to process it) and badly advertised. I’m not sure if they made anything different for Taiwan, perhaps they simply haven’t (saying Taiwanese customers can go through this channel, mistakenly understood by some as if it were something new).

    Google could go a similar way, completely removing the 15-minute automatic refund window and introducing a refund request channel (which is much less obvious and convenient, and consequently less likely of being abused).

    • http://Website TWiT Commander

      That implies they will have to hire customer service/support people. The only place Google provides support is from a Python script.

  • http://Website Hans

    1M Taiwan $ are ~ US$ 34,550 not, 345,500 …

  • Anonymous

    Would be nice if we could get that same 7 Day Return window love in the US (and most other parts of the world)…

    Although, it might be too long for some apps like games. Games should be 15 minutes to an hour, and APPS should be AT LEAST AN HOUR, but it should revert back to a FULL DAY to refund apps!

  • John

    People will find other ways to get the apps they want if this drags on too long…

  • http://Website Balzaak

    I like the 7 days idea, and like what was mentioned; 15 minutes is a joke! There are times where I don’t even mess with an app during the first 24hours

  • http://Website mkrmec

    1 hour would be more than fair… 1 week is just crazy.. that would mean totally free apps.

    • monlosez

      It would be renting games for a week and return them.

  • http://Website Christian

    Good for Google. That rule is horrible for developers. Pretty much any game available for Android could be beat within 7 days, allowing users to essentially get these games for free. Many other apps are also only necessary for short periods of time.

  • http://Website JaylanPHNX

    Good for Google. If Taiwan wants to demand a completely unrealistic return policy, then they just don’t have to have the service. Taiwan may claim their people have the “right” to a refund up to a week, but what about Google’s and developers’ rights to get paid for their work?

  • http://Website Dan Butcher

    “Wouldn’t we all want a Government that fought for our Android rights?!”

    Uh–no. I’d rather have a 15-minute refund limit than a government that gets involved in this kind of issue.

    • http://Website JaylanPHNX

      I’d rather have a thriving economy than one chased away by this sort of overbearing regulation.

  • cybermessiah

    TO those of you who think Google is right… This is actually about a bigger issue.

    Its about Google being able to [like Apple has done] ..being able to respect the laws of another country and come to some resolution without punishing the end user.

    I do think the 7 day request is a bit steep… but that can be sorted out and a compromise agreed apon.

    What Google has done is basically say.. like it or lump it without any respect of a countries laws.

    And they have punished the end user in a move that is short of extortion/blackmail.

    And this is exactly the same issue .. The Taiwanese government is complaining against the Google refund policy as being unfair to the user and actually ‘ supporting its citizens rights!

    Google can do what Apple did and come to a comprise that suits both parties. You really want Google to dictate their own policies regardless of international laws? That totally sucks. and shame on Google for their action to punish the end-user…

    You wanna support this?????

    OK….. say tomorrow Google suddenly says that its instigating a 30 second return policy… hell… while we are at it.. what about a no-refund policy at all…..

    Your country, to which this goes against its laws, tells Google that they must comply with their laws or at least come to some fair agreement…. and Google’s response is to pull paid apps from the Market in your country…

    Id like to see what your reactions are!!! ….See if you say “Go Google” then hey??!

    And yup… I’m a foreigner living in Taiwan.

    So, in the meanwhile until Google reps can sort it out and come to an agreement that ‘protects’ the end-user… I have to use Market Enabler to find and update the apps that I have bought [and yes,.. given Google a fair percentage}.

    Before you get on the bandwagon and say ‘Go Google!’…..

    …maybe think about what this action implies internationally and look at the bigger picture.

    • http://Website Steve

      You have this completely backwards. Google’s return policy is understood by the consumer at the time that they purchase the app. There has been no suggestion otherwise. Google doesn’t in any way force people to purchase the app. So there is an understanding between the app buyer and seller about what the return policy is. The consumer has the choice of whether or not to accept this policy. They can say no and google will have no more to say about it. But the point is that it is a free agreement between two parties over an exchange of goods. I as a consumer am free to choose from Google marketplace or not to. If I don’t like their 15 minute policy I can simply choose not to buy it and nobody anywhere can tell me otherwise.

      The government of Taiwan is violating the rights of both the consumer’s and producers to enter a free agreement and dictating a return policy. They are saying that a producer is not allowed to choose their return policy and that a consumer cannot freely choose to purchase goods from a distributor with that policy. Notice that they have taken away rights from both the consumer and the producer.

      So now google says they just won’t sell in that country and Taiwan is trying to FORCE them to sell in accordance with the whims of their government under penalty of forcibly taking away google’s property if they fail to comply. They are violating the rights of both google and the consumer at every turn.

      • http://atomickong.tumblr.com Juan Gentry

        Thats what happens when US companies do business overseas. They need to comply with the laws of the host country, and if Google doesn’t want to do business the way the host country expects them to, then they can pull the apps as they did. Everyone has options but the law is the law. I’m sure Google and Taiwan will reach an middle ground.

  • http://Website Francisco González

    Google’s reaction is consistent with the demands of manufacturers of Android applications to prevent hack actions.

    Application development is more or less complex process where the manufacturer hopes to recover money invested through the sales, like any other business. As a rule, to enable the user to test these applications with “light” versions for free (with limited functionality or time ), finally, if the user is interested in purchase the paid version, which has in the case of Android Google’s Market a refund period of 15 minutes.

    Many unscrupulous use this time to attempt to hack the applications that are downloaded (once downloaded to their mobile applications, apply for the refund of amount paid), in many cases 15 minutes is sufficient to achieve their objective, obviously the longer the time to refunds, there will be more likely to hack.

    We do not have that strange decision to Google and other owners of marketplaces, if you purchase a software package such as in a store, they rarely will return the amount paid if the box has been opened, if you are unhappy with the product purchased will claim directly from the manufacturer, in the case of mobile applications the process is similar.

  • http://Website Jack Hsu

    The Taiwanese government might as well legalize pirating. 7 days refund for apps?! There has been cases of consumers returning underwear that’s been worn or food already consumed due to the stupid 7 days online purchase consumer protection law. I am really tempted to buy Windows 7 Ultimate and other ultra expensive software online and return it within 7 days.

  • http://Website Helio

    7 days is an eternity for app developers, almost all people will use and discard after I vote for at least 12 hours.

  • http://Website James

    Why not let the market decide? Google can set the limits as anything from 15 minutes to 7 days, then the app developer gets to decide what they want for their app.