Should Apple Offer 24-Hour Return Policy on iPhone Apps?

iPhone App Store Deals

Have you paid for an iPhone app on the App Store only to find out it was completely useless or wasn't worth the price? Unfortunately, once you have purchased an iPhone app, you are stuck with it forever as there is no return policy.

Google which has a similar App Store for its Android platform called Android Marketplace seems to have a much customer-friendly policy.

Google will let Android phone users return apps within 24 hours of purchase for a full refund.

Google's Android Market Business and Program Policies states:

Returns: You have 24 hours from the time of purchase (not download) to
return any applications purchased from Android Market for a full refund
of any applicable fees. The option to return an application within this
timeframe will be made available to you through the Android Market user

It would have been good if Apple had a more customer-friendly policy for the App Store like Google especially since iPhone developers currently cannot offer demo versions of their iPhone app which would have allowed users to try the apps before buying them.

iPhone developers have started offering Lite version of their iPhone apps so users can try the free version before buying them but as Icon Factory's Craig Hockenberry points out in his article on pricing iPhone apps (a must-read for iPhone developers) the rules might not be applicable for all apps:

"There are two
basic rules you need to follow when making a Lite version of your

  1. The product must be fully functional. The application must stand on its own and be useful.
  2. The user should not be inundated with “up-sell” reminders. Showing
    BUY NOW every 5 minutes is the quickest way I know to get rejected by
    the App Store.

The hard part, of course, is how to limit functionality. For many
games, it’s pretty easy: you just limit the number of levels the user
gets to play for free. A similar technique can be used for applications
that track data by limiting the number of records that can be added.

But there are many applications that don’t fall into these neat categories. One such application is our own Frenzic. Due to the game’s open-ended nature, there’s not much we can do to set “levels.” Until there is some kind of demo mechanism on the App Store, we’re stuck with advertising, good reviews and word-of-mouth."

So what do you think? Should Apple offer 24-hour return policy on iPhone apps until there is some kind of demo mechanism?

[Androinica via Business Insider]

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