Blacklisted by Apple?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Lounge' started by Oldgamer, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. Oldgamer

    Oldgamer Well-Known Member

    May 22, 2015
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    Hello,

    Wondering if you guys have more info than I do on this, I believe I've been blacklisted by Apple for asking (and receiving) a single game refund!
    I've had my iPad Air for over one year now and have spent on average £30 a month on apps. Until the other day I'd never applied for a refund and tbh I didn't even know you could get one until my friend told me.

    I bought Sid Meier's Starships for £10.99 but had nothing but problems with it forever crashing and freezing. If it were £2-3 I'd shrug it off and ignore it but my friend said I could get a refund so 3 days ago I deleted the game and applied for a refund which I got yesterday.

    But now when I try to buy a game I'm getting a message up "I Acknowledge that if I download this app within 14 days of tapping 'buy' that I'll be no longer eligible to cancel this purchase". Having never seen that message before I hit cancel as I though I was being hacked or something but some googling has now lead me to believe Apple has blacklisted my account because I got a single refund.

    Am I wrong in feeling this is unacceptable? If I'd refunded 2-3 games then perhaps I could see the point, but one? Why have have a refund process if people cannot use it? I'm rather unhappy about this I have to say. I feel like I've been judged.
     
  2. klink

    klink 👮 Spam Police 🚓

    Jul 22, 2013
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    #2 klink, Jul 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015
    That sounds so Appleish. As much as I love their products I hate their draconian policies. I fear that eventually I'm going to have to move on from them.
     
  3. Anonomation

    Anonomation 👮 Spam Police 🚓

    Weird. I've refunded at least two or three games and received refunds for them. I guess it's all in the reason.
     
  4. drelbs

    drelbs Well-Known Member

    Jun 25, 2009
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    I've gotten three refunds from Apple. No problems.
     
  5. Nullzone

    Nullzone 👮 Spam Police 🚓

    Jul 12, 2013
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    @Oldgamer: are you located in Europe, too, by chance?
    I got the same message weeks ago already.
    And yes, I also got a few refunds. Specifically under the European(not 100% sure, need to look that up) ruling that made Apple comply with the standard EU "14 days return for goods ordered online, no questions asked" laws.

    For Europe, I am not sure (not a lawyer, you see?) if that specific limiting of the 14 day returns would hold up, e.g. in court.
     
  6. dancj

    dancj Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2011
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    They brought this in a few months ago when Europe passed a law that gave us more refund rights. I thought they were only adding that message for people who took the piss. Apparently not.
     
  7. Oldgamer

    Oldgamer Well-Known Member

    May 22, 2015
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    I'm in the UK.

    I've emailed Apple support and told them I'm not happy at being singled out like this for only refunding one app and I will not buy any more apps until they at least explain themselves to me.
     
  8. Rip73

    Rip73 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2011
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    You haven't been "blacklisted", it's simply a notification of your rights under EU law and a gentle reminder not to abuse the right of cancellation policy.
    It generally only triggers the notification when someone has gotten a number of refunds. In your case it obviously kicked in too early but hey, stuff happens, what can you do, it's an automated system.
    It hasn't single you out, it's not personal and it still doesn't change your rights under EU law as it's still only just a notification of the terms and conditions.

    When the refund policy came in first, it was abused up the wazoo so it was a necessary step to make sure people were aware that they simply couldn't get buy something, get a refund, buy something else, get another refund, so and on.
    Many people were doing it so maybe the notification trigger threshold has been changed but either way, it still doesn't mean you're blacklisted, it's simply a notification that abuse of the system (which has been an ongoing problem) won't be tolerated.
    There is no problem here. You can still download or buy games and it's no different to accepting the terms and conditions that happened at the very beginning or when the terms and conditions change.

    The terms and conditions.
    Pay particular attention to the right of cancellation section in part A.
    http://www.apple.com/legal/internet-services/itunes/uk/terms.html

    And a couple of articles on the policy that explain it to some degree.
    http://9to5mac.com/2014/12/29/app-store-itunes-refunds-eu/
    http://9to5mac.com/2015/01/13/apple-defends-against-eu-14-day-refund-abuse-with-app-store-alert-for-customers-with-excessive-refunds-on-file/

    And while, yes, it may have kicked in a bit too early for you personally but let's face it, abuse of the policy has been relatively wide spread and the notification is still just a notification only and not a "blacklist" and a necessary step to ensure fairness for developers, Apple and the customer.
    You will still be entitled to refunds in the future a long as you present a valid case for that refund when requesting it.
     
  9. psj3809

    psj3809 Moderator

    Jan 13, 2011
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    It probably kicked in earlier as the app as an expensive one. Sadly due to people mistreating this rule (not you by the way) it makes it harder for legit people to get refunds
     
  10. Nullzone

    Nullzone 👮 Spam Police 🚓

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    #10 Nullzone, Jul 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
    @Oldgamer: I am very sure you are not "singled out" or anything like that. Come this way, take a look at the Legalese.

    @Rip73: Thanks for all that info. I didn't pay attention to this, wasn't aware that this system got abused, and apparently pretty heavily.

    Now, the Legalese:
    Here is the Guidance Document, clarifying on the relevant EU Directives (listed on page 1):
    http://ec.europa.eu/justice/consumer-marketing/files/crd_guidance_en.pdf
    Jump to page 65, section 12.2., part 1. It states explicitly (quoting):
    In relation to contracts for online digital content, Article 16(m) regulates the right of withdrawal as follows: '[Member States shall not provide for the right of withdrawal in respect of contracts as regards]: (m) the supply of digital content which is not supplied on a tangible medium if the performance has begun with the consumer’s prior express consent and his acknowledgment that he thereby loses his right of withdrawal.' <...>
    If a trader provides a web link to launch streaming or downloading, the consumer would only lose the right of withdrawal after activating that link.

    So, what Apple does here appears to be perfectly within the legal framework set by the EU. Nothing to complain about regarding Apple.

    What I find odd is this article: http://9to5mac.com/2015/01/13/apple-defends-against-eu-14-day-refund-abuse-with-app-store-alert-for-customers-with-excessive-refunds-on-file/
    It - and the linked ones - provides only unsubstantiated speculation. I could not find an official statement from Apple about this. So take the part about "user with excessive refunds on file" with a huge grain of salt.
    In my case, it was two refunds over a period of at least several weeks, if not months. Not something I'd call "excessive".
    Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple just made this standard, i.e. it shows up for everyone for every purchase.

    @Rip73: Do you have any sources - ideally from Apple directly - that confirm your explanation about the automated system?

    Update:
    Here's another link, European Commission press release: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-11-450_en.htm?locale=en
    Pay attention to section "9) Better consumer protection in relation to digital products ", 2nd sentence. Quoting:
    Consumers will have a right to withdraw from purchases of digital content, such as music or video downloads, but only up until the moment the actual downloading process begins.
     
  11. klink

    klink 👮 Spam Police 🚓

    Jul 22, 2013
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    It's really silly Apple is qubbling over a few dollars. In the long run they make so much more from theit customers. Why burn their reputation over a crummy game worth a few bucks.
     
  12. Rip73

    Rip73 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2011
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    #12 Rip73, Jul 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
    You don't really think Apple are quibbling over a couple of bucks do ya?
    You don't really think it's only Apple quibbling do ya?
    You don't really think they are burning their reputation over a measly couple of bucks with one customer do ya?
    Do you even realise the scale of the numbers of people that are abusing the system?

    It's not just a couple of bucks to Apple.
    It's 30% of a number of which 70% still goes to the developers that have put all the hard work in to.
    Is it okay for thousands (and thousands) of people to abuse that system so that nobody gets paid?
    Should they just shut up and take it?

    No, it's not over a couple of bucks. It's not over a few bucks. It's over a substantially bigger number than that.
    And it's affects developers a lot more than it affects Apple.
    Apple is only protecting developers by making people aware that abuse of the system will not be tolerated.
    Is that a problem?
    Or is it just the internet moaning about one more thing.

    Personally I'd prefer the notice than to see another developer go out of business because people rode the system and took advantage of the refund policy.
    Which would you prefer?
    No developers or a little notice to say what the refund policy is?

    (Note. And I am perfectly aware oldgamer did not ride the system, he merely availed of his statutory right.
    And that is perfectly fair and perfectly right,
    But not everybody availing of the refund policy is as fair and balanced as he is.
    And those that are not have to be informed that their abuse will not be tolerated.
    And those that would be tempted to behave in a non balanced way need to be warmed beforehand.
    It's not personal. It's a precaution. It's not meant to alienate. It's meant to inform.
    There is no reason to take it any other way.)
     
  13. Power Gamer

    Power Gamer Well-Known Member

    Apr 30, 2013
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    I returned 1 single game, $5 I think, and got blacklisted a few weeks later. It's ridiculous, but I don't know where to report it.
     
  14. klink

    klink 👮 Spam Police 🚓

    Jul 22, 2013
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    Easy big guy. OldTimeGamer spent his hard earned cash to purchase a game that didn't work properly. The correct respond from Apple is we're sorry that didn't work out and we would be happy to give you a refund or credit. Treating honest customers like they're doing something wrong is horrible business practice by Apple. Believe it or not most people are honest and not trying to take advantage of the system. There are a full bad apples (no pun intended) out there but good companies like Nordstrom have learned it's better to take a small loss on them because so much more money to be made in good customers. If Apple wants to help developers they would have a better return policy. Because customers would be willing to purchase more and take bigger risk knowing Apple stands behind them.

    I've even had experience dealing with 2k where XCOM:EW was broken by iOS 8.3. I contacted 2k and they told me to contact Apple for a refund. I contacted Apple and they told me no refunds for a 30 day old purchase. Now I'm not going to buy any more 2k mobile games. How that developer friendly?
     
  15. Power Gamer

    Power Gamer Well-Known Member

    Apr 30, 2013
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    Can somebody explain why some people get blacklisted when they return 1 app, while others are not blacklisted yet and can still return their apps in unlimited numbers?
     
  16. Oldgamer

    Oldgamer Well-Known Member

    May 22, 2015
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    Yes, I'd like to know that too.

    My communications with Apple is turning into a farce, I've had 3 emails back from them now, each telling me my refund was given but not saying why I was flagged like this. I've just replied once more to them with one question only, asking them to please explain why my account has been flagged like this.

    I expect they'll again totally dodge the question. Looking at the emails I've had off them, I'm not sure if they are utterly incompetent or just very very evasive.
     
  17. klink

    klink 👮 Spam Police 🚓

    Jul 22, 2013
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    You'll never get a straight forward answer from them. If you pursue it far enough you'll get someone who familar with the situation but they wouldn't share many details with you. There's a complete lack of transparency in the process. I once heard a story about how Chinese Internet censorship works. It totally reminded how the AppStore is managed.
     
  18. Rip73

    Rip73 Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2011
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    And a refund is exactly what he got. Job done.
    So what exactly is the big deal or the problem there? Nothing.
    He requested a refund, he got one.

    As to 2K, that would be your own choice, not Apples.
    You can choose to buy games from whomever you choose but blaming Apple for you not buying games from 2K again because 2K hadn't updated or fixed it yet, that really just doesn't follow or add up.

    Expecting a refund for a game that was purchased in excess of 30 days in the past though, well, that might just be expecting a little bit too much considering you could easily have played it through multiple times at that stage and it can reasonably be assumed that you got your original value for money from the purchase by actually playing it to completion in that period of time.
    You don't even get half that time for refunds when you buy hardware so.....

    Nobody has actually gotten "blacklisted" from anything I've read here.
    "Blacklisted" would mean a suspension of an account and an inability to purchase or download.
    I've seen no evidence to support that has happened to anybody here.
    Getting a pop up notification when purchasing an item of one part of the terms and conditions of the refund policy is not exactly the same thing as being "blacklisted".
    It's just a notification of the terms and conditions for those that might be unfamiliar with those terms and conditions and that there is a limit to getting refunds.

    The full details people seem to be looking for are contained within the terms and condition I linked on the previous page in the returns policy section.
    Simply read the fine print and all the answers are there.

    And even beyond the standard terms and conditions, Apple applies a lot of leeway to refunding dissatisfied customers.
    When someone has a valid reason, within a reasonable time frame (in excess of 30 days would not be a reasonable time frame), they'll still get a refund through the report a problem tab even after accepting the terms and conditions.
    Provided it's a reasonable reason for a refund request.
    So even then, nobody has been "blacklisted" from getting a refund, it's just means it'll be the same as it always was and not automated.
     
  19. Power Gamer

    Power Gamer Well-Known Member

    Apr 30, 2013
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    Please explain why not everyone who got a refund gets that message.
    You probably see that it is not just a message, but, if you accept, a restriction of rights.
    And you must accept if you want to buy the app.

    Explain why there are 2 classes of customers now.
    Some customers don't get a message window and can still return their apps within 14 days, like they did before.
    Other customers have a flagged account and can't return apps.

    Again, this can happen when you return just 1 app, for unknown reasons.
    Maybe bad luck.

    Do you think that is fair customer treatment?
     
  20. Nullzone

    Nullzone 👮 Spam Police 🚓

    Jul 12, 2013
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    @Powergamer:
    While the message itself will most likely remain a mystery as for the "Why does it show up?" (I think we all agree that Apple likes to keep things vague - to say the least, instead of providing a clear answer), the "no refund after download" is perfectly within

    1) Apple's own Terms & Conditions, see Rip73's link to http://www.apple.com/legal/internet-services/itunes/uk/terms.html#SALE . Let me quote from Section A, paragraph 8:
    Exception to the right of cancellation: You cannot cancel your order for the supply of digital content if the delivery has started upon your request and acknowledgement that you thereby lose your cancellation right.

    2) more importantly: complying with the relevant EU laws. See my post on page 1:
    http://forums.toucharcade.com/showpost.php?p=3589425&postcount=10

    Note that Apple does not have to provide you/us with that reminder. Not giving a refund after download is covered by the above-mentioned laws; which do not mention a requirement that you have to remind the customer about it everytime they make a digital purchase.


    The other question "Is this good customer service?" is a totally different beast.
    Personally, I think they could do better than that to earn a "5 stars for very good service" from me. For example, also state in the message "if there's an obvious problem like the app not starting at all on your device - despite listing it as fully supported - and you can prove it, we'll still refund you as customer courtesy".
    Not to mention the way they answer - or rather not - Oldgamer's inquiry. Even if I assume the worst and accuse him of sending them an impolite rant, a simple "This is automated, we do this for everyone with at least one refund. Now shut up and go home." would answer the question clearly. In my book, this is better than being evasive.
    But that's just my opinion on what very good service looks like.

    We don't know that. Afaik this applies to the EU only. And we haven't seen any conclusive proof yet, that Apple doesn't do this for everybody who does at least one refund. E.g. someone popping up here with "I'm in "EU country X, took 5 refunds in the last 2 weeks, and do not see this message when buying something."

    That's customer service beyond what is required by law that Apple offers. Yes, I like it. But that does not mean they have to do so.

    And by the way: Asking for a refund 30+ days after purchase, because the developer didn't update the app (yet) to work with iOS 8.3 I find rather preposterous, personally.
     

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