Two Android phone users who purchased defective products from Google’s app-store have filed a lawsuit, saying the company’s 15-minute refund window is unfair.
Los Angeles man Dodd Harris says he purchased “Learn Chinese Mandarin Pro” for $4.83 while another, Stephen Sabatino, says he bought a bit-torrent application called aBTC for $4.99. Both claim the phone applications didn’t work and that they were unable to obtain a refund a short time later.
The men are seeking damages for every California resident who purchased a defective Android app, claiming it’s wrong for Google (NSDQ: GOOG) to pocket a 30 percent commission for faulty products.
The lawsuit spotlights the different ways Google, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) run their app stores. The latter impose a vetting process on their app sellers while the Google store is an open market where anyone can sell an app. This means the Google Play Store (formerly Android Market) offers a bigger selection but also carries a bigger risk for consumers.
The lawsuit also focuses on a 2010 change to Google’s refund policy, claiming:
While users previously had 48 hours after downloading to return an Application for a full refund, these updates reduced that time to only 15 minutes.
Consumers who buy apps from the iTunes store don’t appear to be ineligible for a refund at all, as Apple’s terms state: All sales and rentals of products are final. (Gizmodo, however, reports that a refund is possible but that it’s an “uphill claim.”)
The Android lawsuit, embedded below, is based on California’s warranty and unfair competition laws. The state has what many consider to be the country’s strongest consumer-protection laws.