We can finally put this rumor to rest. After previous speculation and random reports about Google‘s new app refund policy, the Android maker has officially extended its refund timeout for Play Store app purchases to two hours, giving buyers enough time to test out apps and most especially games.
In most cases, the previous default of 15 minutes might be more than enough to see if the app delivers on its promises. It’s a different matter when it comes to games, however, as many of those that ask for larger sums of money require more than a few minutes of investment. Especially the ones that won’t let you get to the meat of the game until after some required hand-holding.
Early last month, there were reports of users experiencing a far longer refund window than 15 minutes. 2 hours to be exact. That was quite unusual given that Google’s support page still clearly stated only 15 minutes. That page, however, has now been updated and now clearly states “two hours”, which should pretty much cover almost all use cases. However, it may leave out those “smart learning” apps, particularly Android launchers, that might require hours or even days to really get a feel of.
Unfortunately, it also doesn’t address Google’s biggest headache when it comes to mobile purchases: the dreaded IAP or in-app purchases. As these purchases are applied immediately, there is very little way for Google to automate the refund process, which leads to thousands of parents losing a substantial amount of money to their children’s uncontrolled virtual shopping spree. That has led to an FCC complaint, and eventual settlement where Google has agreed to refund at least $19 million of IAPs, and this new app return policy is unlikely to help that cause.