South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has introduced new rules forcing Apple and Google to revise their app store terms, making it easier for users to get refunds and get notified about changes in contractual agreements (as spotted by Engadget).
Google will have to let its developers set their own refund terms accordingly, switching over from the pre-existing non-refundable policy. The company must also prevent apps from automatically charging customers after the end of a free trial period.
Meanwhile, Apple has to inform customers if it makes changes to its existing agreements. It is also supposed to increase the visibility of refund policies for in-app purchases accordingly. The Korea Herald reports that Apple is considering applying the revised contract terms worldwide, though Google will only kick in such changes in the Korean market.
The issue of refunds is particularly thorny when it boils down to kids making purchases accidentally on various app stores.
The changes come as Amazon recently pushed back on requests by the FTC to tighten the way it handles in-app purchases. Earlier this year, Google faced a class action lawsuit filed by parents in the US whose children downloaded a free or modestly-priced game on Google Play, and then chalked up charges for in-app game currency without the parents’ knowledge or authorization.
Last year, Apple agreed to settle a lawsuit with parents claiming that their youths ran up heavy charges on in-app purchases without permission. In light of the lawsuit, Apple also made changes to its app structure to better keep minors from racking up fat bills sans oversight.
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