Apple makes it impossible to get updates for refunded apps

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Apple has made a slight but also important update to the way the App Store handles apps that have been refunded by developers to customers.

While you used to be able to request a refund for a paid app and continue getting updates, that is no longer the case.  Once a refund has been granted, the customer is unable to get support for the app or download it again.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Flexibits developer Michael Simmons told Cult of Mac. “If you bought an app, but then asked for and received a refund, you shouldn’t be entitled to keep using the app or receive updates/support.”

Simmons was the first person to spot the policy change. He tweeted a screenshot of a message from Apple saying an app update was unavailable because the app had been refunded.

“Again, I think it’s a good thing for the store, because, as users learn about this new policy, they’ll be less likely to request a refund if they want to be able to continue using an app,” said Simmons. “Prior to this new policy, users could potentially take advantage by asking for a refund, but then continue to receive updates and support for apps they didn’t ultimately pay for.”

The same rule now applies to the Mac App Store as well. Apple doesn’t offer a built-in mechanism for developers to offer refunds inside apps, but customers are usually able to email support and request a refund if they want one.

  • Ron Hawkins

    Excellent! No updates for deadbeats!
    Let the whining begin!

  • Guest

    I don’t get why the tone of the article is like Apple is doing something absolutely evil and terrible when they really aren’t? Biased much? Or just linkbaiting?

  • tomstitzer

    However… what if you decide LATER you DO want to buy an app that was refunded? Are you able to? I understand that if you have it refunded then yes you should NOT be getting updates for it. However if you at one point decide, you know what, I do want that app, you should be able to re buy it as normal.

    If they are preventing rebuying that’s a problem. Why not just remove the refunded app from your purchase history so that you could buy it again?

    • PMB01

      I don’t see why that would be a problem. it shows up at its normal price in the store so you would simply tap it again to repurchase.

  • tomstitzer

    I have had a few apps refunded in my time. I don’t use any of them even though they still exist in my library; I had them refunded for a reason. However, if a developer makes changes to the app and it suddenly becomes some thing desirable, I should be allowed to rebuy it.

  • 2oh1

    I didn’t know we could ask for refunds. Frankly, I think this no-updates thing should be expanded into a 24 hour free trial (hell, even give me a 1 hour free trial and I’d be thrilled!).

    I’ll add to the comments below about the tone of the article. It makes no sense. Of COURSE you shouldn’t get updates for an app you asked for a refund for. You also don’t get to keep wearing a shirt you returned to a store.

    This site really seems to be going downhill.

    • http://www.alexheath.me Alex Heath

      There is absolutely nowhere in the article where I say that this is a negative thing in any way. In fact, the developer I quote talks about how it’s a good thing for the store and people like himself who make apps.

      So maybe actually read the article next time?

  • Nick

    One time I bought an orange from the grocery store. I didn’t want the orange anymore so I took it back for a refund. I’m quite hungry now but they got really mad when I walked in to try and eat that orange.

  • Moreck

    Frankly, I’m surprised that everyone didn’t already have a policy like this one

  • alex_kac

    No, you can’t re-purchase. We noticed this issue a week ago as we started to get customers with this problem.

    The only way to re-purchase is with a new AppleID for this purpose.

    I applaud this change from Apple, but one thing is a problem. Customers who have contacted us only did so because Apple tech support told them this was our issue!

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a senior writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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