South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission ordered Apple and Google to make their refund policies more user-friendly to prevent consumers being stung by paid apps and in-app purchases that don’t meet their expectations.
According to reports, the government body is requiring Apple to make it easier for consumers to claim refunds on in-app purchases. This will ensure parents can more easily be reimbursed for money that children have spent on in-game items without their knowledge.
The iPhone maker will also be required to notify shoppers when it alters the terms of service in the App Store.
Apple doesn’t currently offer an automatic way to get refunds for apps. However, refunds have been made for individual cases where consumers made use of the ‘report a problem’ functionality available via iTunes Support.
The authorities want Google to let developers set their own refund terms, while the Android-maker must stop apps from automatically charging users when trial periods end.
The rules are limited to South Korea but the Fair Trade Commission said it hoped to create a “ripple effect” which drives a change in similar policies further.
Quoted by The Korea Herald, Hwang Won-chul, head of the FTC’s adhesion contract division, said Apple has indicated that it would consider changing its refund terms on a worldwide basis.
Google has previously faced legal action in Taiwan for breaking consumer laws, after refusing to grant customers a seven-day trial period on apps bought from Google Play.
The move is a response to requests from the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice, which also prompted the Fair Trade Commission in March to require domestic companies such as SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus to take similar steps for their app stores.