HolidayBuyer's Guide

Apple now offers 14-day App Store, iTunes refunds in Europe

If you live in the European Union and are unhappy with a software purchase, you now have a two-week window to ask for your money back -- no questions asked.

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Thanks to the EU's new Consumer Rights Directive, App Store, iTunes and iBooks customers can ask for their money back up to 14 days after purchase.Photo by Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

Second-guessing that app or song from Apple you just purchased? If you live in Europe, you can ask for your money back.

The iPhone maker has instituted a 14-day, no-questions-asked return policy for all content purchased through iTunes, the App Store and iBooks. The policy only applies to users residing in European Union member countries -- such as Germany, France and the UK -- and is valid only if the user doesn't deliberately download the media to one of their devices. It does not apply to any media or apps gifted through iTunes.

Although Apple has not publicized the change, Germany site iFun picked up on the policy revision Monday.

Prior to this change, Apple allowed users to cancel a transaction on their account up until the point of delivery. Yet because songs and apps download automatically, that meant all purchase decisions were essentially final upon inputting a password to approve the transaction.

Apple's refund terms now read:

Right of cancellation: If you choose to cancel your order, you may do so within 14 days from when you received your receipt without giving any reason, except iTunes Gifts which cannot be refunded once you have redeemed the code.

The change comes after EU's new Consumer Rights Directive took effect in June. Among other changes to online commerce like banning pre-checked boxes on websites and helping to police unclear surcharges and add-ons, the directive asks businesses to be more conscious of fair return policies for goods and services by extending the return policy, for whatever reason, to two weeks from the previous seven-day period.

It's unclear why Apple waited to institute the update, but the directive has penalties for not communicating the proper policy to users. "If a consumer is not clearly informed about this withdrawal period by the trader, the withdrawal period automatically is extended to one year," reads an EU page about the directive.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.

For users in the US, Canada and other countries not protected by the EU's law, Apple can still refuse to refund a purchase and may only issue a refund in select cases like technical issues or failure of delivery. Even then, those complaints are handled on a case-by-case basis through Apple's official support channels.

Google Play, on the other hand, has a two-hour window for media and app refunds worldwide, but does not appear to have updated its policies to show the 14-day change for any content purchased by those in the EU. The company, however, does spell out its 14-day refund policy for Google Play Music subscriptions for EU users.

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