TAIPEI - Taipei is considering imposing a fine of at least NT$300,000 (S$12810) on Web search giant Google for its failure to set up a refund mechanism for returned app downloads.
The move by the Taipei City Government came after many smart phone users complained that they could not have their money returned when they found the downloaded apps they had paid for unsatisfactory.
The Law and Regulation Commission (LRC) under the Taipei City Government has informed Google Taiwan, as well as Apple Asia, of the complaints in a written warning, demanding an explanation and improvements by a June 23 deadline
While Apple Asia responded before the deadline, saying it will comply with Taiwan's laws by extending from 15 minutes to seven days the trial period for online purchases of smart phone apps, no word has been heard from Google.
No refund disputes have arisen in connection with Google, but it has to make improvements and set up the refund mechanism all the same, according to the Taipei LRC, which considered the penalty in a meeting yesterday without announcing a final decision.
Both Apple App Store and Google's Android Market try to restrict the exercising of the right to return purchases by consumers through standard contracts for online transactions, according to Taipei LRC Chairman Yeh Ching-yuan, who added that the practice violates the country's consumer protection laws.
According to another Taipei official, roadblocks encountered by consumers when they return their purchases include complicated complaint systems and language barriers.
The apps vendors actually need not worry that consumers may cheat by continuing to use the apps even after they are refunded, because they have communication software to detect whether the returned apps remain uninstalled in customers' devices, Yeh said.
Finally, irresponsible vendors of smart phone apps are also to blame for selling flawed apps on the online retail platforms, Yeh added.
That's like small change to Google....
Lol....and I'm sure $13,000 is going to change Taipei now.