Q: I just bought an app, and it doesn't work. Is there any way for me to get a refund?
A: It depends on where and when you bought the app. Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft each have different return policies and practices. The Google Play store has the most lenient refund policy. You may get a refund automatically if you ask for it within the first fifteen minutes after you purchased the app. Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have very simple official policies: no refunds; all sales are final.
However, off the record, from my personal experience and from the testimonies I've read and heard personally, most folks are able to get a refund from Apple and Amazon if they legitimately purchased the app accidently or if the app really doesn’t work. Microsoft, on the other hand, is a tougher nut to crack. Unless you were unable to download the app, they tend to stick to their policy.
To get a refund for an app from the Google Play Store, simply reopen the Google Play app and go to the app's page. If you haven't bought anything else, it will most likely open right to it. You should see a refund button if you go back to the page within the first fifteen minutes after you purchased the app. Click it quickly! If there's no refund button, you're too late. But there's still hope. You can contact the developer of the app and they might refund your money. Scroll down to the developer section where you'll find their contact information.
Getting a refund from Apple is a little trickier. As I said above, their policy is strict. They do not refund app purchases. However, their practices are a bit more loose. To request a refund from Apple, open iTunes on your desktop or laptop. Then, open the iTunes store, and click your email address in the top right corner. Click Purchase History, and then click See All. Scroll down to the button that says Report a Problem and click it. Then click the Report a Problem link that appears next to the app that you want to get a refund for. Then, choose one of the reasons for your complaint, and click Submit. Apple decides the requests on a case by case basis.
To try to get a refund for an app from the Amazon Appstore for Android, go to Amazon.com, and click Help. Then, click Contact Us on the right-hand side. Sign in with your Amazon account, and send them an email. Begging and pleading is advised.
To get a refund from Windows Marketplace visit http://marketplace.windowsphone.com. Sign in and click Purchase History. On the next page, find the application you want refunded and click the Details button. Then, click Get Support. After that you will see an option for Get Help with my bill. Select the sub-topic "Request a refund for this purchase." Microsoft's policy only lets you get one refund each month, and it has to be requested no later than 24 hours after you purchased the app.
If you purchased an app from Blackberry World, not only did you purchase an app from a company that will likely be out of business in three years, you also have no chance of getting a refund. With Blackberry, all sales really are final. You could try contacting them by email and begging, but considering how much money they are losing every day, it's very unlikely they're going to be willing to help you out. It's the digital equivalent of buying at a going out of business sale.
ABOUT RAY HOLLISTER
Ray Hollister co-hosts the call-in help show Deemable Tech. Each week, he and his co-host, Tom Braun, answer questions submitted by users and provide helpful tips about computers, tablets, mobile phone, the Internet and technology in general. Need tech help? Call 1-888-972-9868 or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to the show on their website, or subscribe to Deemable Tech's podcast by clicking here, searching for "Deemable Tech" in iTunes, or by entering the RSS feed, http://dmbl.co/pod, in your favorite podcast app.