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How to get an App Store refund from Apple

The kids bought something without your permission? You chose the wrong app by mistake? Whatever the case, it's possible to get a refund -- just not obvious how.

Unhappy with an app purchase? You may be able to get a refund.

Suppose, for example, you purchased an app by accident. It could happen; perhaps you thought you were getting the trial version, or you'd been considering a handful of different mileage-tracking apps and just plain bought the wrong one. More likely: One of the kids bought something without your permission.

There's also the possibility you bought an app and just plain hate it. Maybe a game looked really good on paper (or in screenshots) but turned out to be not your cup of tea.

Whatever the case, you can probably get your money back -- especially if you ask for it soon after making your purchase (as opposed to, say, weeks later). In other words, Apple seems willing to refund App Store "mistakes," at least based on a recent experience I had.

Just one problem: There's no obvious way to request that refund -- until you know where to look. Here's the fastest, easiest option:

Step 1: Open a Web browser and head to reportaproblem.apple.com.

apple-report-a-problem.jpg
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step 2: Sign into your iTunes account with your regular username and password.

Step 3: Find the app in question, then click the Report a Problem button alongside it.

apple-report-a-problem-choose-a-reason.jpg
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step 4: Click the Choose Problem pull-down and select the option that most closely matches your issue. Provide a brief description of why you're seeking a refund, then click Submit.

And that's it! In my case -- "Didn't mean to purchase this item," which was absolutely true -- the request was accepted immediately, and my refund was processed roughly 36 hours later.

Needless to say, you shouldn't abuse this system, shouldn't use this as a way to try an app that doesn't have a trial version. I suspect that if you go to this refund well too often, Apple may start to refuse your requests.

I should also mention that the Report a Problem option isn't just for apps; it's available for just about anything you buy from iTunes: music, movies, books and so on. Just keep in mind, "I didn't like that movie, it was terrible" isn't a valid (or available) reason for a refund.


This article also appears in Spanish. Read: Cómo obtener un reembolso en el App Store de Apple