• Paul Fingleton

Apple changes iTunes refund policy: Digital Returns within 14 days possible

Apple has changed its returns policy to follow EU regulations that allow customers involved in online purchases to withdraw from within 14 days without giving a reason.

In an update to the Terms and conditions, the iTunes website now reads: "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.

"To meet the cancellation deadline, you must send your communication of cancellation before the 14-day period has expired.

"Effects of cancellation: We will reimburse you no later than 14 days from the day on which we receive your cancellation notice. We will use the same means of payment as you used for the transaction, and you will not incur any fees for such reimbursement."

However, it adds the following which might make the point moot and refunds not possible for music, movies or other digital content: "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."

Essentially, if you deliberately started the delivery of the digital media then you are acknowledging that you are waiving the cancellation right.

In the past, refunds were possible on a case-by-case basis and when accompanied with a good reason, but now customers in the EU no longer need to explain the reason for their return.

Concerns have been raised by online music magazine, PopJustice, that this could lead to manipulation of the charts on an unprecedented scale. In an article on their site they indicate that an album or single could be purchased on Friday, be top of the charts on Sunday, and then returned on Monday after the chart position has already been announced.

Further concerns are raised by 9to5Mac that in some instances, such as if the artist does not tell their fans of the 14-day returns policy that the consumer may have 12 months to return the purchase.

These are hypothetical scenarios that could come about due to the refund policy, and will likely be monitored for some time to help prevent such chart abuse.

PopJustice concludes with the hope that such an easy return

s policy may actually push the boundaries and encourage bands to make music that people will not want to return, "If artists and labels know that consumers can and will return a rubbish album, that should mean they attempt to make better music."

Source: RTÉ, PopJustice, 9to5Mac

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