Google Takes Away One Advantage Cuts Android Marketplace Refund Windows Down to 15 Minutes

Ouch! I am reading lots of angry stuff about this move all over the web. Google has done some tweaking with its Android Marketplace and one of those tweaks is to shorten the refund window from 24 hours to 15 minutes. That’s quite a tweak. Although I’ve still yet to join the Android game, I’ve always looked at the 24 hour refund windows as a great competitive edge for Google. Buy an App, if you don’t like it or it doesn’t measure up you uninstall it within 24 hours and you get a refund. Sounds like a great way to market and for consumers a great way to take a chance on something you might pass on given how App Stores (all of them) are notoriously difficult to wade through.

I know from my own App shopping experience on iOS devices if I have the slightest doubt I usually don’t pull the trigger. I may stash something in my Wish List, but I seldom go back to make the purchase. I also am victim to purchasing an App or two and not even trying them out for a few days. Given that Apple’s refund scheme is byzantine at best I figure I’ve already spent the dough so it doesn’t matter. I’ve often looked at Android’s return policy with envy because of that.

Google is saying it is doing this at the behest of developers and some are saying it is to thwart piracy. Some complaints I’m seeing point out that the 15 minutes is from the moment of purchase not when the App is downloaded or run and that some Apps can take a few minutes to download effectively reducing the now tiny 15 minute window even further. The bottom line for Apple and now Google, and any other digital market place is a simple one as far as I’m concerned. I don’t care that we’re talking inexpensive purchases. There needs to be a clean and easy refund mechanism in place for consumers. If they don’t do it themselves, eventually some regulatory agency will step in and force them to.

I’m guessing this hue and cry about this will just get louder as more and more people hear about it.

What about you GBM Android users? How does this affect you? Are you angry? Not bothered? Let us know in the comments.