Google Play Store Refund Window Secretly Adjusted from 15 Minutes to 2 Hours
One of the most frustrating realizations as consumers is knowing that you just purchased the wrong item, or that the item doesn't live up to your expectations. Heck, it might not even work at all. Where mobile marketplaces are concerned, running into this issue is common. When an app costs only a buck or two, people tend to be a little more laid-back when it comes to purchasing. That still doesn't mean that people don't get burned though, or run into an issue that warrants a refund.
While it was once a staggering 24 hours, Google's Play Store currently offers a 15-minute return window that kicks-off as soon as an app is purchased. The idea is that if you download the app and don't like it, or it doesn't work (not exactly uncommon on the Android side of things), then you'll be able to get a refund quickly and easily.
The problem here is of course obvious: 15 minutes is not a lot of time. In those 15 minutes, you could get distracted, be suffering poor download speeds, or be downloading a large game that could take 10 or more minutes to finish. There are a myriad of scenarios, but all of them could be eased if there wasn't such a short clock to beat.
According to Android Police, that short clock might be a thing of the past. After some in-depth testing across multiple app purchases made by multiple editors, it was found that the refund window was 2 hours, despite nothing having been updated on Google's refund policy page. After reaching out to Google, the site was told, "[We] only advertise a 15-minute refund window, that is the guaranteed window for a user, but [we] do extend the window in some cases to account for download times." It should be noted that the editors saw the same 2-hour window on super-small apps as well, contrasting what the Google rep said.
It seems likely that Google's simply testing the waters here, and seeing if the extended window results in more refunds. For the sake of the consumers, I do hope it becomes a written policy, because 2 hours seems far more fair than 15 minutes. In 2 hours, a user could properly troubleshoot if they're having issues, and working apps could be explored enough to let people see if it lives up to their expectations.
For as long as the ability exists, though, if you purchase anything on Google Play that you want to return, and that 15 minute window has expired, go and check for a refund option anyway.