Caveat Emptor: No Returns At The Apple App Store

Despite the unquestionable success of the App Store, Apple continues to be criticized for some of its practices with regard to selling and listing apps in the online store. A new report points out that Apple has a no-return policy for apps purchased through its store.

According to The New York Times, there is only a single instance when a refund might be granted to a user. Paragraph 12B of the Apple App Store Terms and Conditions points out that a refund may be granted when a technical problem delays the delivery of a product.

The ROSIE Home Automation app from Savant Systems costs $49.99 and is used to sync Savant Systems' audio visual, lighting, security and other services to the iPhone. But say, for example, a user has the wrong ROSIE software or can't upgrade the system adequately, or decided to change systems and simply wants to use the free Remote App. In such an instance, Apple won't grant a refund on the services.

According to Apple's policy, unless there was a problem with delivery, no refund will be granted.

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Of course, the Cupertino Crew points to the review section of iTunes where users can read what other people who downloaded the app thought of it. Those reviews, however, are often split down the middle with vocal supporters and detractors on each side.

The lack of return is just the latest chapter in App Store gripes. In April Apple let an app called "Babyshaker," in which a player shakes a baby, be posted in the store before pulling it. Just a month later Apple decided to reject an app called "Me So Holy," causing many pundits to criticize Apple for trying to play taste-maker. Then in June the "Hottest Girls" app -- which included nudity -- was pulled from the App Store for "inappropriate content."

More recently Apple has come under fire for rejecting the Google Voice app, prompting an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.

But even with all the controversy surrounding it, the Apple App Store crested 2 billion downloads in late September. Maybe Steve Jobs and Co. are doing something right.

Regardless, before making a purchase through the Apple App Store, consumers may want to strongly consider the phrase "caveat emptor" -- buyer beware.