Google’s application refund policy has been pretty spotty over the lifespan of the Android platform. Thankfully, this started to get better over the last couple of years with one milestone being the biggest for them. Back in 2014, Google started allowing instant refunds for applications purchased within a 15 minute window. The whole “I pirate apps because a demo isn’t available” excuse hasn’t been viable since this new policy was implemented and it only got better from there.
This was expanded to 2 hours and then again to 48 hours but sometimes you needed to send an email in order to get a refund on your purchase. Google even started to allow people to get a refund outside of that 48-hour window but things were a bit different with this type of refund. Google were actually eating the cost of the refund when they were requested outside of the 48-hour window. This was a nice gesture on their part but the company has now announced a new change in this policy.
So from now on, all of the developers will be liable for all refunds made for their applications and games. We’re even told the automated refund process will stick around, but Google has planned some “tweaks” to this system. It’s unclear when these tweaks will be put into place though, so we’ll have to wait and see how that turns out. In this very same email to developers, Google also announced they have introduced a new API for developers to utilize.
It’s called the Voided Purchases API, and it will let developers learn which users have requested a refund (or filed a chargeback) for an in-app purchase they made. This will allow developers to police the ecosystem of their application or game and prevent people from abusing the system and getting away with it.