updated 12:50 pm EDT, Tue October 13, 2009
Policy allows broken apps to survive
Apple is facing new media criticism over the absence of a comprehensive App Store refund policy, most prominently from the New York Times. One writer notes that while people can get refunds if a download is delayed, or not properly executed, it is impossible to get money back based purely on quality complaints. The issue can become serious when dealing with more expensive iPhone apps, such as navigation software. It may also impact people buying less expensive titles which do not work, in spite of Apple's quality assurance.
A separate report observes that an unnamed communications app, costing $2, remains on the App Store despite being non-functional for many users. The situation is said to have been worsened by the release of the iPhone 3.1 firmware, and neither Apple nor the developer have taken any action despite complaints.
Apple has defended its position by pointing to App Store elements designed to aid purchases, such as customer ratings and reviews, and official popularity charts. Critics charge however that Apple should be not only be offering refunds, but limited trial periods, as with some Palm and BlackBerry apps. It is also suggested that the company should ban or suspend developers who have not fixed titles for sale.