Sometimes, purchasing from the Play Store isn’t a happy experience. The app isn’t what it claimed to be, or the music is just rubbish. But if you want a refund you need to act fast. Here’s how to return paid apps and games in Google Play.
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In the real world in most countries, the law gives consumers lots of rights if they aren’t happy with their purchases. But in the digital world things are very different, not least because the people you’re buying from aren’t always based in the same country as you. Google has several refund policies in operation in the Play Store, and it’s important to understand what you can and can’t get back.
Know your statutory rights
In law, paid-for goods are generally covered by some basic principles: if they’re faulty or misdescribed, you should be given a repair, a replacement or a refund. It’s important to note that when consumer legislation talks about “satisfactory quality” they mean technical quality, not artistic: “this song doesn’t play” should trigger a refund, but “this song sounds like a bunch of drunks shouting into a bucket” doesn’t - unless the item wasn’t labelled properly and you thought you were getting the new Taylor Swift single. With Google, the rights you have depend on what you’re buying and in some cases, what country you live in.
How to return paid apps and games
Google’s Android App return policy is simple: if you buy an Android app or game and you aren’t happy with it for any reason, you can return it within two hours for a full refund. After that two hour period is up, though, it’s up to the app developer to decide whether or not you should get your money back.
To claim a refund:
- Open the Google Play Store app
- Tap on the Menu icon and choose My Account
- Select the app or game you want to return
- Tap on Refund
- Follow the on-screen instructions to get your money back and uninstall the app or game.
If the two hour period has already passed you won’t see a refund button; it will say Uninstall instead. That means you’ll have to contact the app or game developer.
How to contact an app or game developer for a refund
On your mobile device:
- Open the Google Play Store app
- Search for the app whose developer you want to contact
- Tap on the app
- Tap on Read More
- Hope that the contact information isn’t “M. Mouse, Disneyland”
How to get a refund on an in-app purchase
The short version is that you can’t, or at least you can’t via Google: there’s no two-hour trial period and it’s up to the developer to decide whether you should get a refund. Google does say that you can contact its support team if you’re having trouble with an in-app purchase, but it doesn’t make any promises of help.
How to get a refund on an ebook
Google Play generally gives you a 7-day return period on books (30 days on educational titles through Google Play for Education) but there are some exceptions, such as books that were only available for a very short period of time. To make a refund request, you need to contact Google Play Customer Support.
How to get a refund on a Google Play movie purchase
If the video clip is defective, you can get a refund at any time - but if you’ve simply decided that Killer Klowns from Outer Space isn’t really the movie for you, you’ve got 7 days (10 business days in Italy, and 14 days in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Portugal and Sweden). That period only applies if you haven’t started watching the movie: if you get three minutes in and think “this is rubbish!” that’s your tough luck. The same rules apply to TV programmes in the Google Play Store.
How to get a refund on a Google Play Music purchase
Once again, Google will happily refund your purchase if you haven’t streamed or downloaded it; as soon as you do either of those things Google will only consider a refund if the track is technically, not artistically, inadequate. You’ve got 7 days to request a refund, or 14 if you live in the European Union. To request a refund:
- Using a web browser, go into your Play Store account
- Look for Order History and find the item you want to request a refund for
- Click on the menu icon
- Select Report A Problem
- Select I’d Like To Request a Refund
If you don’t have access to a computer, you can contact the support team instead.
Have you tried to get a refund and been refused? What did you do? Let us know in the comments!