Apple's new EU refund scheme has a massive great flaw
Just before New Year's, Apple quietly changed its terms of services to allow iOS users in the European Union to get an easy refund on iTunes and App Store purchases, as long as you make the claim within a fortnight of buying the content.
But, as discovered by 9 to 5 Mac, there's a fundamental flaw with the new scheme.
If you download an app to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, and then cancel the purchase through iTunes to receive your no-fuss refund, the app will stay on your iOS device. Forever.
We tested this ourselves. On Friday, we bought The Room and then cancelled the purchase through iTunes. It's now Monday and Fireproof's luscious box-prodder is still on our iPad, and we can play it to our heart's content.
The app is removed from your purchased list on the App Store, so if you delete the game you'll have to buy it again.Digging into the EU rules
Why does this happen? Well, if you look at the EU's consumer protection rules on digital content, you'll see that Apple isn't exactly following the guidelines.
The rules state that consumers can cancel a purchase on any digital content within 14 days, but their "right of withdrawal" immediately expires as soon as they actually download or start streaming your digital content.
This isn't a 14 day free trial, then: it's a chance to change your mind before you dig into your eBook, film, game, etc.
But, the trader (Apple) must "explicitly acknowledge that you lose your right to withdraw once the performance has started". Apple doesn't do this, and there's no pop-up upon purchase to warn you that you're about to waive your right to an immediate refund.
So the solution won't be for Apple to delete the app from all your devices when you cancel the purchase. It will be to provide a warning on the App Store, and to stop you from cancelling purchases of apps you've actually downloaded.
Until this tech is integrated (look out for it in the next version of iOS 8), Apple can avoid paying a fine by letting customers get refunds on whatever they want. And as there's no system in place to remove apps from your device, you keep the games forever.
For now, Apple is basically making piracy effortless - I'm sure developers aren't too happy about that.