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Request refunds for Google Play apps after grace period ends

The Google Play store does allow users to return apps, but only within a 15-minute window. For many apps, this is plenty of time for you to decide if you want to keep it, but that's not always the case.


For some paid apps there are also trial or free counterparts. On a lot of these trial apps, you'll find that the only difference is that they are ad-supported. Upgrading may remove the ads and nothing else, so you may not even need the paid version. However, many paid versions of apps offer the best features -- you know, their selling point.

Let's say you bought an app that you can't gauge its usefulness in 15 minutes or less. Or maybe the app is freezing your device when you use it and figuring out what's going on is taking more than 15 minutes. Are you stuck with the app now? Well, maybe. Maybe not.

If the app is relatively cheap, it may be less hassle to just eat the cost. But if the price is $10 or more and causes your device to freeze when using it, asking for a refund seems understandable. You won't be able to return the app via the automated system on the Google Play Store on your Android device or through the Web. However, you can request a refund from the developer, or even Google, if you're within a 48-hour window. Here's how:

To request a refund via the developer:

Locate the app entry in Google Play through your Web browser or on your Android device. If you scroll down, you'll see a Developer information area. Google states that one of these contact methods will be available for you to reach the developer: e-mail, phone number, or Web site.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Make sure you detail the issue you're having with the app that would make you eligible for a refund. Mentioning that you forgot to return it or you just don't like it may not be enough for some developers to refund your money.

Please note that not all developers will honor a refund after the 15-minute grace period ends. Some apps will have a note in their description that details the return policy. Such is the case for popular developer LevelUp Studio, which states that it honors refund requests within 24 hours of purchase.

To request a refund via Google:

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Through your Web browser, open the account area on Google Play.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

In the list of apps, locate the one for which you'd like to request a refund. Next, click on Report a problem to the far right. In the pop-up window that appears, select I'd like to request a refund from the drop-down box. Make sure to describe the issues you're having with the app in the text box near the bottom and click Send Report. Your complaint will be evaluated by Google and you may get a refund.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Keep in mind that these refund techniques may not always work. Don't abuse the system; try to avoid paying for apps until you've tested out the free version (when available) and know you'll want the paid version. And lastly, try to stick with top or well-known developers and you're more likely to download apps you won't want to return.

Thanks to AppsToUse for the tip.