Dec 05 AT 4:23 PM Edgar Cervantes 77 Comments

Android Market glitch making users think 15-minute refund window has been extended

Android Market refund time window, 15 minutes?

The Android Market is the number one source of apps for most Android users. Its great variety of applications, integration with Google Apps and simplicity makes it unbeatable by any other third-party Android app store, for now. There’s always room for improvement, though, and while users are generally happy with the Android Market, there is one issue most of us have been complaining about.

After Google switched the refund period from 24 hours to 15 minutes, customers believe that this time-frame gives no chance to really take a look at what the app has to offer. Most glitches/problems will not be noticed until long after the 15 minutes have passed. Needless to say, certain apps (especially games) take that much time just to be installed (if not longer).

This morning, our friends from Droid-Life reported something that sparked a small fire in our hopeful hearts. It seems people have been reporting longer refund periods, something Google never announced. The guys from Droid-Life decided to test this. It seems they were able to get a refund up to 1.5 hours after the purchase. Just to make sure, we decided to make the test before reporting on this, and the results were not as awesome as we hoped they would be.

The Experiment

In an effort to find out what exactly was going on, we went ahead and purchased some apps. At 10:32 am, Zenonia ($0.99) and Shadowgun ($4.99) were purchased. The order receipts still confirmed that the refund window was only 15 minutes long. After installing the games, we were consistently checking the Android Market, to see if the “Refund” button was still present (about every 5-10 minutes). Shadowgun was left unopened, while Zenonia was opened and played with for a while (people were suspecting this had something to do with opening the app after the purchase).

We went from doubt to excitement, as the “Refund” button continued to be there after 15 minutes. But we started getting suspicious after we realized that over an hour had passed and the “Refund” button was still present. Just to see what would happen, we decided to try to refund one of the purchased games, and that’s when something weird went down.

After tapping the “Refund” button in the Android Market, it would instantly turn into the infamous “Uninstall” button. After tapping what had transformed into an Uninstall button, the app simply got uninstalled. No order cancellation email was sent to our inbox, making us realize that the app wasn’t actually being refunded, just uninstalled and ready for installing again later. The same process was applied to Shadowgun with the same results.

After that, we decided to purchase Cut the Rope ($0.99) and attempt get a refund before the 15-minute window. As expected the button did not turn into an “Uninstall” button. It simply uninstalled the app on its own, and an order cancellation hit our inbox soon afterwards.


While the “Refund” button was showing up for over an hour, it disappears when trying to get a refund after the 15 minutes have passed by. We did not get our money back, but at least these games are good.

This seems to be an extraneous glitch, either in the system or the Android Market app itself. For now, we still have to suffer from the headaches of not having enough time to test out apps before handing over the cash. Just be sure not to go crazy buying apps, thinking that you have a longer time to return them, and let us know if you have experienced the same issue.

For now, we will have to keep complaining and hope Google will make some changes soon. What are your views on this issue? Do you think 15 minutes is a fair amount of time to get a refund? What would be the ideal time-frame, which would benefit both the consumer and the developer?

Via: Droid-Life

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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  • azulpiscina

    NO! It should be at least 3 hours!

    • Alex

      I AGREE! The 15 minute window is simply too short to get any reasonable impression of an application — especially a game. On a separate note, you guys have been cranking out the articles today! Keep up the good work!!

      • Futureboy

        Fifteen minutes is short, but I’ll take it over Apple’s 0 minutes any day.

        • tequilya

          15 minutes only provides an illusion of a refund policy for the majority of apps. As much as it pains me to say it, Apple’s approach is more honest in this case.

          • moelsen8

            yeah, definitely. 15 minutes is like if you accidentally hit buy and then accidentally confirmed too.

        • Donald Williams

          You know who else had zero minutes… Amazon. I am carefull on what I purchase now on either market. Will only purshase an app I know I’m going to use

    • Dave Kratter

      3 hours is a fair limit to protect developers and customers.

    • WarDrake

      I agree, i was thinking 4 hours tho…

    • raminscc

      The best way to handle refunds is to give developers the option to specify refund time frame.
      From 15min to 3 hours to 24 hours to unlimited.

  • stenzor

    I think around an hour would be a good timeframe.. And it should be triggered after the app has installed

  • Andrew Huff

    Honestly there should be a system in place for developers to choose their own refund time frame. It depends on a per app/game basis. Developers who have games with large downloads can make the refund period larger while smaller apps and games can have a shorter time period for refund. Of course there would have to be a minimum default time for refunding something and in the case of most small apps/games 15 mins is fine.

    • Futureboy

      This is, by far, the best solution.

    • stenzor

      I like this idea.. I mean, it is the developers that are selling the app and getting the money

    • Azaurath

      Google would still have a say in this since they are supplying the developers with a way to distribute their apps and they are taking 30% of the sell price.

    • Sean the Electrofreak


      Some developers didn’t like the 24-hour refund time because their app could be used (or game beaten) within the time frame. Others don’t like the 15-minute refund time because it doesn’t let people trying the app experience all of the features before making their decision to get a refund.

      Putting the decision in developer’s hands would solve this issue.

    • desean

      Letting developers choose their own refund period may be good, but I am afraid it will confuse majority of the users.

      I think a “fair” period like 1 hour should be good enough for testing most apps or games.

      • Andrew Huff

        I think any sort of confusion could be solved by just adding a bolded line before any description in the market where it states the refund period for that particular app. After that if people don’t read it then the issue is theirs for not reading.

  • Steve Bornstein

    15 minutes isn’t long enough, not by far. 24 hours is a good amount of time for you to adequately test drive pretty much any app. As I understand it, Google changed it to 15 minutes because some game developers were complaining that some unscrupulous people would buy a game, finish it inside the 24-hour window, then get a refund.

    Why not just set the refund window for games at 15 minutes (or even an hour) and everything else at 24 hours? That takes care of the problem and doesn’t penalize the rest of us because of the actions of a few.

    • bolski

      Why 15 minutes? Some games take 5 minutes or more to install based on their size. By the time you’ve installed it, you aren’t having enough time to try it out.

      I say a minimum of 1 hour and a max of 2 hours.

  • Simon Sebastian

    thanks for clarifying this.
    i read on a different page, that the window was most likely enlarged to 1h….
    i would have keept the app anyways but nevertheless i´d better stay with you next time

  • Aaron Kemp

    15 minuets is not long enough. I would say between 1-6 hours would be a fair compromise.

  • David Pajer

    I think at least a half hour would be good. I also wish there was a “save for later” button in the market.

    • moelsen8

      yes, definitely a save for later button! i’m always writing down lists of apps i want to check out in the future.

      • lostsynd

        you can already +1 them. a social aspect to the market is probably in the works.

  • Oscar Ortega

    so in conclusion do not play around with the market and try to get a refund after 15 minutes has past. otherwise your paying for it.

  • dutow

    A 15 minute limit is good for small games, which can be completed in a few hours, but really bad for everything else. You have no chance to test an app in a few minutes, and if it doesn’t have a free version, it may hold back people from buying.

    The best would be if developers could choose from a short and a long option for refund window – with some protection so you couldn’t just pursache the same app many times, I don’t know if the market has a feature like this now.

    • Dave Kratter

      I believe how it works is if you purchase an app, request a refund, and then purchase it again, you cannot get a second refund.

  • Inquizitor

    I believe the timeframe should be longer (about an hour or two seems fair), but even more I think Google should adopt a “from opening” policy. It makes sense, really, in two forms:

    1. Most physical return policies have to do with opening the product. If it’s unopened, many stores have a longer return window, especially for holiday gifts.

    2. How is someone expected to have tried out an app immediately within the 15 minutes of purchase, especially with Google’s web market? What if someone buys it on the website, but isn’t able to try it out on his actual device till later (such as after class or work, or recharging their device). This reason is even more compelling (to me) than the first.

  • Kevin Amundson

    I would love to see the refund window lengthened to 1 hour or maybe 1.5 hours. This would give the user more time to get a better feel for how the app works rather than simply rushing through the app to see if it works for them.

  • eioous

    Time to try out some paid apps

  • mikeyDroid

    Whereas I agree the original 24 hours was screwing over developers, I believe 15 is too short and screwing over the customers – it should be a little even – maybe even 30. 15 requires you to get the app installed and set up right away. I’ve often had issues, or connectivity, or crashes that don’t even let me really get a gauge on the app by the time I have to refund it, or miss the refund… etc..

    In short – give us 30 minutes, okay? :D

    • Hall Lo

      yea 30 min, or maybe 45 min is good already, while 24 hours is just way too much

  • Darknight42020

    I like the hour idea. 15 minutes is not even enough time to do #2 sometimes… The discretion of the dev would be my #1 choice. Can’t say that’s not possible because BW (beautiful widgets) states that 15 mins is not lojg enough and will refund you before 24 hrs are up.

  • Bryan Stoner

    But with such a small time frame it would be so easy to accidentally get charged the full price. That sucks -.- Well maybe some users will get refunds ^^

  • sylar

    I think that you should get around an hour to do a refund. Fifteen minutes is far too short but its still longer than apples which is no time at all.

  • McLovin

    A mature industry like commercial retailers allows 30 days for full refund. I get that at Costco and plenty of other stores. What is it with the mobile phone software industry that they are so afraid that the sales might not stick. Are they in it for the quick buck with no regard for the quality or value of their product? Could it be that their product is crap or a waste of people’s time? If a product is good and I’m using it after the first “look see”, I’m very satisfied with the purchase.

    After several experiences making quick $0.99 purchases and finding out the soIftware was crap, I buy very little software now because of the short refund fuse or iTunes (no refund at all policy). If there is a free “ad version” of the software I will easily try it and if it’s worth it’s salt I’ll gladly pay for the add-free version later.

    • datajosh

      However, that same “mature industry” won’t let you return opened software either, which is essentially the same as refunding an app.

  • kevin charliethesuperturtle

    24 hours is the best

  • Norm

    You don’t see this crap on iOS. There is no refund policy because iOS games are just built that much better. There are no glitches and bugs like the many virus ridden Android applications. I don’t think android should have a refund window anyways. Once you purchased an app you’re making a commitment to that developer. Android users are the cheapest people I know.


    EX Android user.

    • lostsync

      I think you have it backwards. Once you’ve purchased an app, the developer has made a commiment to you, a promise that in return for your money, he will give you something that does not suck. Purchasing an app is a symbol of acceptance of that promise by the user.

    • spintrex

      If stores didn’t have return policies there would be quite a lot of angry customers.

  • humidity

    I think 30 min would be fair. Some games can be beaten in only a few hours.

  • myandroid99

    i think its fair

  • alexandro meza

    15 minutes is better than no refund at all. Either way, buyers should be doing their research before making an app purchase. I learned this the hard way.

    • kingof9x

      I agree with you, however how many applications on a full computer have 30 day trials, or shareware/demo versions with limited functionality?

      If every developer was required to release a demo or lite version with some sort of limitations (a couple of hours then disable the app, or limit functionality) that would give people the ability to research/try the app before buying it and circumvent the obviously controversial and somewhat problematic refund system.

  • Homncruse

    Agreed, it definitely needs to be longer. I kinda want to try “Generation of Chaos” (, but with 15 minutes to download 1.8 GB, much less actually *try* the game… I’d need one HELL of a fast network connection. And while I’m not opposed to gambling with a dollar or two if I don’t like a paid app (for whatever reason, whether it doesn’t do what I wanted, I found a better app, etc.), some of the higher quality games are coming out at $10+ (this one is $15). I don’t want to gamble $15 on something that might not work at all and/or might not actually be fun.

  • Michael C.

    “…and while users are generally happy with the Android Market…”

    Wait, so I’m the only one for whom the Android Market is unbearably slow ever since the last update a few months ago?

    • kingof9x

      you arn’t the only one. I also think it is incredibly slow since the last update.

  • kingof9x

    I think 24 hours is way to much time, and 15 minutes is no where near enough time.

    I think that developers don’t like having any refund policy. If it was left up to them to decide what is fair then we would have no refund time.

    I recently got into it with a developer, because they had a licencing issue that prevented me from trying the app within the 15 minute period. When I emailed them they acknowledged the issue, then changed their story became rude denied that there was a problem and told me that my device was broken and to talk to samsung if their app didn’t work and disabled my device from being able to install their app.

    I wrote google about the conflict and a week later google refunded my purchase.

    If anybody is curious what the app/developer was that gave me crap for asking for support the app is su-preme mpa.

  • Androidcrazed6

    I recently saw the videos of the people in line for the Iphone that were amazed by the Samsung Galaxy S2 on Facebook and it also had a video were one guy with a S2 was comparing his apps to the man with an Iphone and they saw that they had the same apps and the dude with the S2 got into the taxi while saying that he can test them first !!!! Now we cant, blahhhh

  • Androidcrazed6

    i tried posting another comment and it kept saying that i already posted the same one!!

    • Androidcrazed6

      o yea but it posted that one

  • Kavman

    The refund time needs to be a couple of hours so you get a decent test.

    I just won’t spend the money unless I have been able to use an ad supported version or know I can fully test it in the 15min window.

  • Nathan D.

    Maybe if the refund button 15 min. window started after the app got install maybe we wouldn’t have much of a problem about this, just an idea.

  • spintrex

    15 minutes is kind of short but it does encourage you to go through an app and confirm any hesitations you had previous to purchasing.

  • LukeT32

    Sneaky sneaky Google

  • YNWA

    1 hour is a good compromise. Enough time to install an app, and get a solid feel of it, and not too long for devs to get screwed.

  • jenskristian

    15 minutes is a too short time frame when purchasing bigger apps/games. You have to be really sure you want it before buying. Some developers however do offer refunds for a longer time period if you contact them directly.

  • Chris Kwok

    Google should change it to a minimum of 1hour, and give an option for developers who want to set a longer period. For example, NFS HP takes nearly 30mins (depending on internet speed) to download the external files just to check if the game works on your devices, and its not cheap at nearly $7.

  • Rodrigo

    That’s why in Taiwan there are no paid apps in the android market. The Taiwanese government tried to persuade Google to extend the 15 mintutes, but Google refused to. So in response, Google removed all the paid apps and now we can’t buy.

  • ToonPanda

    1-2 hours seems fair. 15 minutes is a very short time..

  • HoLfElDeR

    1 hour is best, 15 min i very very short time

  • Ilyse Rose

    The refund windows at 15 is ridiculous. If anything each developer should get to pick their own window from 1 hour to 24 hours, some apps require a full days testing to see if they do what you want.

  • mrmrchris

    I think 24 hours was too long. Dishonest people have too much time to take advantage of that. Anything from 45-90 mins seems more reasonable.

  • Diaeko

    damnnn just 15min’s? :( :(

    • Diaeko

      ouh sry for the double post

  • Diaeko

    damnnn just 15min’s!?! :( :(

  • grnlantern79

    How am I suppose to check the spyware these apps install on my phone in 15 mins, I mean come on they need more time to steal my info than that.

  • HoLfElDeR

    Mabey a hour is honest, 15min are way to short

  • desean

    The 15 minutes refund window aside, I believe this “glitch” could be a result of the $0.10 for 10 days promotion.

  • levelm

    Does anyone think they will ever increase the refund window?

  • Anthon

    15 minutes is wayyy too short. 5h and 3 download times is enough. Btw it glitches sometimes so apps can’t be returned anyhow. I just downloaded an app and after 2 minutes I went back to store and wanted to refund… WHAT no refund button!!! If I don’t get my money back then I will boycott Android phones.

  • Anonymous

    Google`s 15 minutes policy is more than reasonable, if it is still 24 hours, people could buy the app, back it up then demand a refund (all took about 1 1/2 – 2 hours with data at least 500 mb) and then restore the app from the backup and VOILA, they got the paid up for free and their phones (with correct app/program) does not even have to be rooted to do this. And if the phone have to be rooted, it will cost them like another 15 minutes to do it and that will totaled up to about 2 hours, which is the MINIMUM refund policy that most of you are recommending. Any developers would have got screwed by this. If you want to buy an app but want to try it first, watch the gameplay from youtube… will at least give you an idea of what`s it like.

  • Tim1000

    Why let the publisher of the application decide the refund period. Can’t be that hard to implement, it is Google after all. Seems like the ideal solution to me, as discussed here

  • Tim1000

    oops typo above, should be

    Why not let the publisher