See, sometimes there is method to my madness! After being a little lot stupid and buying a crappy $200 Vuvuzela app from the Google Play store on Sunday (see video above), I thought I kissed that money goodbye. I failed to remember you can easily get refunds out of the Googe Play store within 15 minutes of purchase just by going back to the app and tapping the Refund button. D'oh! By the time Phil reminded me about this later in the day, hours had already passed, so we both assumed I was out of luck.

Turns out that's not the case though. While the 15 minute refund is a no-hassle, no-questions asked refund policy, you can actually request an app refund beyond the 15 minute time window. As I type this it's almost 30 hours after I bought the Vuvuzela app, and I just requested the refund and was issued it within minutes. I'm sure many of you out there are familiar with this process already, but for those who are not keep reading for the details!

 

The Fine Print

Section 3.4 of the Android Developer Distribution agreement authorizes Google to provide returns of apps that cannot be previewed for up to 48 hours after purchase:

3.4 Special Refund Requirements. The Payment Processor's standard terms and conditions regarding refunds will apply except the following terms apply to your distribution of Products on the Market.

Products that can be previewed by the buyer (such as ringtones and wallpapers): No refund is required or allowed.

Products that cannot be previewed by the buyer (such as applications): You authorize Google to give the buyer a full refund of the Product price if the buyer requests the refund within 48 hours after purchase. 

So per the rules of engagement, an app refund is obtainable. Now here's how request it.

Getting the App Refund

1. Head to Google Play Account page. Once logged in, the url is https://play.google.com/store/account

2. Under the Options column, click on the Report a problem link for the app you want refunded.

3. From the Select an option drop down menu, select I'd like to request a refund

4. Fill out the reason you want a refund and hit the Send Report button.

That's all there is to it. Below is what I filled out when requesting the refund on the Vuvuzela app. Google notes that they will be "only able to make exceptions to our refund policy in cases where there are extenuating circumstances." There's no guarantee you'll receive your refund, but in my case I got the confirmation email that it was refunded within minutes.

Android Central

So there you have it. Mischief managed. And we learned something new. Big upps to ZiggSVO on twitter for pointing me in the right direction on this one.

 
There are 52 comments

nikolasmason says:

I assumed you only bought it BECAUSE of the 15 minute return period. I can't believe you didn't think of that!

alexpatcas says:

He bought the app cause he wanted to get laid... cant u hear the chicks. He wanted to be macho and show he had money.
Requested a refund after the night was unproductive, maybe related to the fact that he's an idiot.

If he really wants to test the app swallow the 200$ and shut up. I wouldn't have refunded him the money.

Morenicano says:

Lol Not to mention the same app is free from the same developer...

snoopgoat says:

I'm still looking for the explanation for why you decided to throw away $200 in the first place. Was this a "drunk purchase"? Or did you really believe you found a quality app? Because, i don't think you deserve a refund... :)

djstarion says:

This is Crackberry Kevin. He bought a $500 Blackberry Clock app on a dare.

snoopgoat says:

So, is this his "thing"? Stupidly spending money? Maybe I should up the price of my apps and dare him to buy them, since he doesn't seem to value his money. I know I'll value his money :)

codiusprime says:

He is a BB fan, it's not like he's had a lot in the way of hardware to spend money on lately. Hell he even had to go to the Android market to make this idiotic purchase. Had I been the dev I would have told him to shove it.

moelsen says:

i did this for an app i once bought but then really wasn't able to try out completely. it was the next day, outside of what you'd consider normal "business hours", and the email response and refund came within minutes. gotta hand it to google for taking care of it like that.

delldude405 says:

BINGO, it worked instantly!

Thanks Crackberry Kevin.

BrandT90 says:

Damn Canadians.

XavierMatt says:

"Mischief managed"-- Harry Potter, awesome. I solemnly swear I am up to no good.

Glad you caught that reference! I'm always up to no good.

_X_ says:

Right, because its always impressive when an adult can quote a children's book. :roll eyes:

BTW excellent article I was not aware of the 48hr return policy. Do know if this applies to Books/Movies?

=X=

Small_law says:

Good to know. Thanks!

But... but... you can _never_ have too many vuvuzela apps! :p

lorcha says:

Does anyone know if this 48 hour refund window is more or less automatic? Or do have to have a plausibly valid reason for the refund request?

Since his refund was granted within minutes, I'm wondering if it's basically automatic.

It felt pretty much automatic. I didn't check my inbox right away.. but when I did it was there. Quick.

Darth Mo says:

The refund is probably automatic, but I imagine there is a way for the developer to dispute.

I can't think of an app off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are some that are open to abuse.

frostbyte32 says:

I wonder if this is how the app had so many purchase outside of Kevin's? Or, is the Play store smart enough to subtract from the count for an issued refund?

Another test that should be done. I think it leaves the review and download count after refund.

318sugarhill says:

So how is your overall experience with Android. Are you converted yet????? Learned a lot from you from crack berry.com, but jumped ship after the BB Tour. Seriously though? $200 for an app? $500 for an app? Did they give you oral pleasures?????

Camfella says:

He won't be converted until/unless BB disappears, this is just laying groundwork.

bhislop says:

I have an app in the Play Store and it crossed the 500+ barrier when I only had around 460ish sales ... I went back and counted the refunds and there were ~50, so based on my experience, I believe you to be correct.

Incubus123 says:

Very good information i did not know about this.

metaldood says:

Thank you. I got refund for 2 apps whose greedy developers stopped developing and ran away with ~10000$ of user money.

smotrs says:

No, what we learned is there's a sucker born every minute. :)

Sorry Kevin, I just found allot of humor in both these stories. Glad you got your refund though.

Inform. Enlightent. Entertain. That's my goal... if I can get all of those into one post then I'm winning. So I'm glad you caught the humor.

BodegaBay says:

Just another reason I'm loving the switch from the App Store and Windows Marketplace. Didn't experience the growing pains of Android Marketplace but Google Play and ICS is my sweet spot for smartphones.

CeluGeek says:

WOW! I just learned something about Android... from Crackberry Kevin. You are AWESOME!

vinny jr says:

Seeing the I-Phone in the picture was enough to get the refund IMO. Glad to see you received a refund, that was a total rip off and the developer who had the sand to charge 200 bucks for it should not be allowed to use the Android Store. How are you liking your Android phone???

robotaholic says:

Yes thanks Kevin. I'm amazed at a few of these people bashing you when it was all in good fun.

SCDroidman says:

I am glad to know that some reasonable safeguards are in place with Google!

That money could have been used to help feed the needy. shame on you Kevin. You think this is funny?

crxssi says:

People- I wouldn't COUNT on getting a refund hours after purchase. It might happen, but keep in mind it is not official policy (even though the new policy kinda sucks).

ap_kelly says:

Its sounds like you need to install the Refund Reminder app...

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.swizel.android.refundr...

Andy.

stanlm2 says:

You can also email the dev to ask for a refund. I haven't tested how far it goes back, but on sales a half year old I have the same refund button in my dev account as a day old sale.

ZiggSeVO says:

Should still be able to refund it from a half year ago ;)
Google checkout does some things right....I guess lol

leaponover says:

Well, now you are officially just a publicity stunt and lost all credibility as a internet journalist. Hope the refund was worth that ;-)

TenshiNo says:

Very true, because I'm sure *you* have never, in your entire life, done something silly that you regretted the next day. Well played. Don't be a douche bag.

ZiggSeVO says:

Glad it worked out for you! I dug through their ToS many times after they banned my developers account without precedence and then after months of combating with them in emails all there responses were auto emails about ToS and intellectual property. So screw em ;)

So atleast some good has come out of this for you!

redstar427 says:

I must have a different Google Play store. On my account page there is no "Options" anywhere on the page.
then when I read the Help for refunds, it says specifically there are no refunds after 15 minutes and to contact the developer.

ZiggSeVO says:

NAME CATEGORY PRICE DATE STATUS OPTIONS

Those are the headings on my account page ^thats where the report a problem is for me :( not sure why yours is different?

redstar427 says:

All I see is the "My Account" banner, then below that the Orders and Settings tabs.

CeluGeek says:

Stay in the Orders tab. There is a table with all the items you have downloaded from the Play Store (free and purchased). The last column of this table is "Options" and for each items there is a link to report a problem in this last column.

descendency says:

I feel like they should say "you bought a 200 dollar vuvuzela app... you deserve it."

jean15paul says:

Good to know. Thank Kevin.

rockigirl says:

Thanks to this post I was able to get a refund on an app I purchased almost 2 months ago. Thanks Kevin!

PJMAN2952 says:

Thanks for posting this even though this is an old post. I have requested a refund for an app which I paid two bucks for like about six months ago. I hope I get my two bucks back so I can buy Falcon Pro for Twitter app.

Just got my refund from Google in less than a minute :) gotta love Google customer service!

Thanks!

Oh god bless you i just panic when i lose my money on a shitty app and cant get it back. Got in within seconds!

Gino Lee says:

Having issued refund requests as a publisher on Google Play myself, I'm pretty sure the refund requests after the 15 minute ago actually go to the developer/publisher of the app for which the refund is requested.