Apple and Google agreed to extend the trial period of their applications for smartphone users in Taiwan to comply with local consumer laws. (File Photo/China Times)
Apple Inc and Google Taiwan have yielded to pressure from the Taipei City Government by agreeing to provide refunds to smartphone users who return the applications that they downloaded from each company's app stores.
At the request of Taipei City Hall, Apple agreed to let their phone users have a trial period of seven days, within which a user can return the app for a full refund. The company's original policy gave users only fifteen minutes to try out programs.
Google Taiwan initiall ignored the city's request until authorities threatened to impose a fine of NT$60,000-NT$1.5 million (US$2,100-US$52,000) against the company.
Kong Chian-ya, a consumer protection official at city hall, said a lawyer for Google called in before the end of the business day on Friday (June 24) and capitulated, agreeing to the city's demands of giving users a longer trial period for apps.
As a result, Kong said, the city government decided to postpone the issuance of fines until Monday (June 27), pending Google's response.
The brouhaha started when local users complained that an iPhone app called Super Cell Phone Tracker, which they bought online from the Apple's App Store for US$1.99, did not work at all and there was no way they could ask for a refund.
According to the App Store description, the tracker program is a joke and intended only for fun. However, not all buyers read the description before downloading the software.
Taipei City Hall asked Apple on June 7 to comply with the law requiring a seven-day trial use period for consumer products and gave them a June 23 deadline. Taipei asked Apple to include a refund guide written in Chinese.
When the city opened its probe against Apple, they decided to extend it to Google as well as Google also did not adequately meet Taiwan's seven-day regulations on trial periods.
Kong Chian-ya 龔千雅