Apple customers in Europe will now be able to return apps, movies, songs, and possibly ebooks that they’ve purchased via the company’s stores. For purchases to be valid for refunds, they must be returned with two weeks.
The policy change comes as Apple and other companies have had to deal with the EU implementing policy against in-app purchases. Prior to changes in policy and payment security settings in the App Store and the Google Play Store—among other mobile marketplaces—payment methods could easily be altered by a user or there just wasn’t a gatekeeper of sorts to prevent from purchasing anything without credentials.
The lack of credentials would be fine if the device had only one user, but with children also using a device the issue became a big problem in the U.S and Europe. As a result the EU took action on the practice. This brings us to Apple’s new approach which gives users a little more control over digital purchases.
While right now it’s a small step for Apple and is limited to a particular market, the approach does have greater potential beyond mobile. For a long time digital purchases have always been in the realm of “you’re stuck with it.” By allowing European customers to get a refund on digital goods it could possibly show that the same could be done for digital content on other platforms.
Looking at gaming for instance, there is a definite shift towards digital distribution but it still lacks the freedom of returning or trading in a purchase when you’re done or if you’re not pleased with it. What Apple is doing in Europe shows that a system can be worked out and still things ahead towards digital only/digital heavy distribution.