Apple's 14-Day EU Return Policy Allows You To Keep Refunded App Purchases

Apple may want to rethink how it handles app refunds in the European Union. It's only been a week since Apple introduced a 14-day app refund policy in the EU, in which customers can return an app for any reason, no questions asked, and be refunded their full purchase price within 5 to 7 days. Ready for the kicker? They get to keep the refunded app, too!

Obviously there are multiple ways to abuse the system here. The first is by enjoying an app for two weeks, like a game or productivity tool that you only needed temporary access to, and then returning it for a full refund. That hardly seems fair to the developer, though it's not necessarily egregious -- chalk it up to a satisfaction guarantee, if you will.

iTunes Apps

However, 9To5Mac's Benjamin Mayo says that he when he tested the app refund policy, he got his money back and got to the keep the app, which continued to work after his refund has been processed.

"You get the app for free, forever," Mayo notes.

According to Mayo, when a refund for an app is processed, the app gets removed from your "Purchased" account history, thereby preventing you from downloading it again. But if the app is already downloaded to a device -- meaning you didn't uninstall it after requesting and/or receiving a refund -- it stays there and continues to work.

"The IPA file is also still in iTunes on my Mac, so theoretically I could delete it from my phone and sync it back via the computer whenever I wanted. Furthermore, even if I do lose the file one day, I can technically just buy the app again and get it refunded … again," Mayo adds.

We don't suspect this will go unaddressed by Apple, or at least we hope it doesn't. For now, however, this unplugged loophole essentially allows customers to screw over developers.