iphone price drop refundA few weeks ago I bought the WunderRadio app for the iPhone because it did something most other Internet radio apps couldn’t: play local stations via MMS streams. I flipped through the screenshots and read through the reviews to see if it could play Clear Channel stations (namely KISS FM), and there was plenty of confirmation that the program did.

So I purchased WunderRadio for $5.99 and I was very happy with the variety of local stations that were available. That happiness quickly wore off once Clear Channel got wind of what WunderRadio was doing, and forced them to remove their stations from the app.

I was left with an application that I hardly used anymore, and for me it felt as though I wasted $6. Sure it’s not that much money, but there are other radio programs out there that can do the same thing for free. The real differentiator was that it was able to stream almost all of the Clear Channel stations from around the United States.

I began researching online to see if anyone has had success with getting a refund for an application that they had purchased, but it didn’t look good. I tried to “report a problem” through my iTunes purchase history (iTunes link), but it gave me a message saying that I should try contacting the developer of the program to get the issue resolved. I waited a few days, but heard nothing.

Finally I decided to use the web-based contact form specifically for iTunes support. I ended up choosing the “Purchase(s) – problem” -> “This item is mislabeled” option. Then I entered in my order number, calmly described my problem, and sent off a message. I was told that I’d receive a personal response within 48 hours.

That message was sent on a Sunday morning, and come Sunday evening I had the response I was looking for:

Hi there, it’s [name removed] here from the iTunes Store! I am sorry to hear that your recent purchase “WunderRadio” is not what you expected it to be. l can appreciate how disappointing this can be. Not to worry, l would be happy to do what l can to assist you with this today.

I have reversed the charge for “WunderRadio,”. In three to five business days, your credit should be posted to the credit card that appears on the receipt for that purchase.

If you have any other comments or questions about this issue, please feel free to contact me and l would be happy to help. Take care and enjoy the rest of your day!

I’ve bought over a dozen programs and games from the Apple’s App Store, and I wasn’t very optimistic when I was attempting to get a refund. Ideally the developers of the programs should be the ones who provide the refund, but given Apple’s prompt response I don’t really have anything to complain about.

P.S. I used my personal email address, which means they had no idea that I was affiliated with this site. So they didn’t have a clue that I’d be writing an article about my experience either way.

There Are 38 Comments

  1. I really liked the way you were treated by Apple. That speaks highly of this company that has a reputation of having excellent customer service. All the rest of the greedy companies out there should take heed of this example of loving thy customer.

    • On android u just click the refund button. No emailing needed.

    • If you want to listen to Channel stations there’s a free app called IHeartRadio. It gives you every clear channel station out there. It has some neat toys for finding new stations to.

    • I also have refund experience with apple. at first I was hesitant, because I accidentally purchased a Lion Update(I just purchase a macbook pro 2011 with snow leopard) while I already have a redeem code for Lion, so it means I have 2 lion purchase. So I contacted them and receive a response that 4-5 days they will post a refund on my account. which reflected about 2 days after the receipt of their response.

    • You really like the way this person was treated? Why were they first pointed back to the developer, until they submitted their issue again and happened to finally reach someone who cared?

      Apple’s policies are not customer friendly, and I have been told repeatedly by multiple support people at Apple that they will not refund money for an application bought through iTunes at all, ever. Does not matter if the problem is their fault, or how much I paid for something.

      Glad at least one person got luck and found someone at Apple who could submit a refund.

  2. I guess this is what the kill switch Apple created could be used for. If they issue a refund, they have to make sure you can’t use the app again. But you can disable the kill switch with jailbroken phones.

  3. If you still want to listen to KISS, iheartradio — that’s Clear Channel’s own proprietary streaming app, and it has most of their music stations. It’s free, too.

  4. Max wrote:
    I guess this is what the kill switch Apple created could be used for. If they issue a refund, they have to make sure you can’t use the app again. But you can disable the kill switch with jailbroken phones.

    True, but I don’t know if they’d go that far. I removed the program voluntarily, and they didn’t say anything about needing to remove it. I’m sure they won’t provide refunds for every app you buy… they will eventually cut you off I’m sure.

    Tuxer wrote:
    If you still want to listen to KISS, iheartradio — that’s Clear Channel’s own proprietary streaming app, and it has most of their music stations. It’s free, too.

    That program is terrible for me though. If I’m on the go it frequently skips, which I’d attribute to to not enough buffering. Plus the selection of Clear Channel stations is very limited in iheartradio. But as you said they do offer it for free. I’d just love to see it improved.

  5. Yeah, the people behind App Store are really friendly. I once bought an app thinking it was free, so I tried getting a refund and they were very understanding. Within a week I got my money back. Hats off to those guys!

  6. You say ideally the developer should be providing the refund. Apple actually takes the money back from the developer when they provide the refund. So, really they are. Apple lets you refund one music or such purchase (it’s in the contract, if I remember correctly). I’m not sure about apps. People have provided different luck with apps.

    Also, the kill switch isn’t on a per user basis. It’s to keep all of a certain app from running if it turns out an app is malicious. They can’t use that to keep an app from running that they’ve refunded to one user.

  7. brussell wrote:
    You say ideally the developer should be providing the refund. Apple actually takes the money back from the developer when they provide the refund. So, really they are.

    By that I meant the developer should be the one to authorize the refund. I realize that the money still comes out of the developer’s pocket, but I think contacting Apple for the refund should be a last resort.

  8. “the developer should be the one to authorize the refund.”

    That’s not true. The developer has nothing to do with the charge to your credit card. Nor did they distribute the product through their own means. Apple should be the ONLY entity with ANY access to your credit card information.

    If you buy a camera from Best Buy, and you decide to return it, you don’t send it back to Cannon. You bring it back to Best Buy. Cannon has no idea who you are. All they know is they built a camera with XYZ serial number, and were paid by the retailer or distributor for said camera.

    The developer doesn’t know you from Adam. I’m sure Apple knows who has bought what, but I’m pretty sure they don’t send your info to the developer. When was the last E-mail (or spam) you received from a developer, only because you bought their software on the App Store? So far, not a single one for me. Don’t you think you would be getting more stupid “newsletters” and “site/software/company updates” with ads if they did release that information?

  9. Mike wrote:
    If you buy a camera from Best Buy, and you decide to return it, you don’t send it back to Cannon. You bring it back to Best Buy. Cannon has no idea who you are. All they know is they built a camera with XYZ serial number, and were paid by the retailer or distributor for said camera.

    That’s probably the best example I’ve heard yet Mike, and that does make a lot of sense. If, however, you bought a software program at Best Buy and tried to return it they wouldn’t let you if it has been open. In that case you’d have to go through the manufacturer of the software to get the refund.

    Returning open/used software hasn’t really been perfected by anyone, but often times it falls back to the developer who normally guarantees satisfaction of their product.

    • Actually, “manufacturer” is a bad term to use in the case of software.

      Better to talk about developers and distributors. Just like with the App Store, software purchased at Retail (especially games) is often developed by one company and distributed by another, that handles fulfillment issues.

      You don’t talk to the developer of Unreal Tournament, Epic Games, for a refund, you talk to the distributor, Atari.

      For the App Store, Apple is the distributor.

    • If you have a problem with the camera, you take it to cannon. But if you don’t like the camera, or it’s not what you expected, then you take it back to Best Buy.

      This is the exact same way for apps in the App Store. If you have a problem with it, you can contact the developer to ask them about future updates / fixes but if you simply don’t want it anymore, you need to contact Apple. You can’t expect the developers to refund the apps because Apple is the one that actually takes your money. You enter a purchase agreement with Apple themselves and the developers actually have no way of 1. knowing if you purchased the app or 2. removing the app after the refund.

  10. Thanks for the information, I was able to get a refund for RedLaser, one worthless app, Apple had told me to contact the seller, they ignored me. I was able to get my refund using your suggestion.

    Thanks again,

  11. Is this really the only way to get a refund? I am a developer and when I publish an app, I decide how long the customer has to get a refund. Shouldn’t Apple have better way than contacting someone by email? What if a developer puts a length of 1 day and Apple doesn’t get around to answering their email until the second day?

  12. Hi there, this worked for me recently. I purchased GPS software which was mislabeled (two apps to be specific) totaling about 55$ and I got a refund no problem. I have to say I was impressed with apple greatly. I tok the refund and purchased a gps app that worked correctly for me and am very happy with it.

  13. they seem to have changed the form, I can’t find that option anymore, but I’ve filed it under “other app store problem” because if you file it under “application doesn’t work as advertised” they just tell you they can’t provide tech support and that you should contact the developer.

  14. God Bless you if you can find it! They seem to go out of their way to keep you from contacting them.

    My displeasure with Apple grows. Tried to make a Genius bar apt today. Response was “none available at this store”!. . . . . . . EVER?

    • All you have to do is click “support” on the quick links of the front of the iTunes store. Yes there is a menu after that – but I hardly call that ‘hiding’. I had a rented movie that didn’t play and I had no trouble finding the right form to submit an issue report.

  15. i got a app and it said i could make my own free app and all it did is tell me to go online download this program but i had to have a mac but i got a window s and it was 2 dollas.

  16. As an App Store developer who has a program for sale, when Apple issues you a credit they do remove the developers share of the funds from our total that same day essentially zero’ing out the transaction.

  17. This way of handling refunds by Apple App Store is totally unsatisfactory. There are some expensive apps such as medical reference apps that should have a short trial period (1-7 days?) during which, if found unsatisfactory a refund is immediately provided. There should be a refund link right on the order page. There is no way to really see if these serious apps work as the brief descriptions say, before actually putting them on the iPhone. I am not thinking of the 99c – $5 etc. “throw-away” apps.

    I am currently going through all kinds of hoops with Apple trying to get a refund for one app. (Other apps have been fine. They at first refer you back to the company that wrote the app for a refund, knowing full well that Apple is the store that sold it and it is their job to deal with it. They are wearing me down.

    All software for PC’s, PalmOS devices etc has either a trial version, or a refund policy right up front – why not iPhone apps?

    In this way of handling refunds/complaints/problems I’m afraid Apple appears as a very greedy and arrogant company.

  18. Here’s another way: [apple.com]

  19. I have just been to the App Store link and you can no longer follow the process you detailed, there is no link to report a problem with a purchase from the Istore, you have to login to Itunes , click on your Store account name in the top right, choose purchase history, find the purchase and report a problem from there. Very Very unsatisfactory

  20. i am a developer. i just got hit with my second refund. unlike the distributor relationship outlined above, i have no clue whatsoever why the refund was issued (if canon makes a camera a user doesn’t like, that refund reason makes it back to them. with the appstore, there is NO communication about this between apple and us, all i see is a -1 for the sale. is it a rare bug? or, did the user just decide they don’t like it? or, maybe they got the info that was needed, and was done with it.

    that said, i see the logistics to the current system. but, if you really have a problem with the app, please contact the developer – even if it is after you request a refund. some of us are trying to make a living out of this, and we want to make our users happy. it’s a passion. but, that’s really hard to do with apple’s system. any good developer will have some way to contact them. perhaps it’s a change we can make? or, if you thought the description was misleading, then your feedback can help make it clear for the next user. but, without feedback, we’re totally lost.

    help me help you!

  21. Ok, so I bought this game called ultimate mafia and I spent 80$ onnit only to find out layer that everyone basically cheats and hacks and mods on it, so I called apple for a refund on the game, I was then told to contact the creator of the app for the refund, he then told me that he refuses to refund me and kept denying me, so he pointed me to this, I have no idea how to get my refund, school is comming up and I have no time for anything anymore…someone please help me!

  22. I just sent in a whole crap load of refund requests and got like five bucks back and am assured i will be getting five more withing the next 3-5 days. The only downside was having to talk to a guy named Sajith. Thanks Apple. I was much happier talking to Jonathan. He got me money that Sajith couldn’t. Four times as much money actually.

  23. I think things have changed in itunes so this isn’t possible anymore..

    “With the iTunes Store, all sales are final. As soon as you click the Buy button (using either 1-Click or the Shopping Cart) your purchases are charged to the credit card on your Apple Account. You cannot cancel a purchase or receive a refund for a purchase. See the iTunes Terms of Sale for additional information.”

    Now I’m stuck with a piece of crap application -.-”

    • I have still been able to get refunds on some applications. I don’t do it regularly, but if I think something was unfairly advertised I will let them know.

  24. Not sure if someone knows the answer, but do you think if price of a game is dropping in few days after you purchase the game, can Apple honor the difference? For example, I bought Need For Speed – Hot Pursuit for $9.99 just couple of days ago and I see today that it’s on sale for $0.99. It’s almost 90% reduction in price in less than 2 days.. My problem is I don’t want to return the game, as I like it very much, but at the same time feeling that I paid too much since it’s available for just a buck :(

    I have submitted online form with Apple, but not sure if they will honor my request.

  25. I am another developer who REALLY wants my customers to be satisfied. There is a link on the app store that says “Applicaiton Support” If you purchase software on the app store, and need help, please use that, and most of us developers will get back to you with the best help we can. Before the app store, I would do whatever it takes to please my customers – often adding feature requests to make a customer happy. This has always resulted in good-will, and has helped me by making an even better application. Developers / Users, let’s work together! The app store makes me sad because rather than contact me for help, people sometimes just leave a negative comment saying “I WANT A REFUND!” This makes my app look bad, even though 187 other people love it. Apple should give developers some control over issuing a refund to the developer. As another poster said, we don’t know our customers from Jack, and sometimes we don’t find out what our customers need because the communication channels aren’t obvious to our customers. Please, be nice to the developer and yourself, and get in touch with the developer with feed back. Often you will be surprised just how nice the developers are.

  26. Hi, I used this UK link to register my complaint about an app for the iPhone.

  27. Where did yet return the credit to? Your iTunes account or the credit card?

  28. my brother is asking me to help him how to complain in apple store if there is a possible way to have a refund from his credit card charges.
    My 8-year-old niece downloaded apps (games, music) in apple store and now my brother found out $305 charges in his credit card. My brother want to know how did my niece downloaded those apps because as what my niece told it did not prompt for any code to enter before someone can download that easily so he just downloaded those apps. by the way, my niece used my brother’s ipad when he download those apps.

  29. I want a refund for an app I purchased. Why do I want a r
    Refund? Because I paid .99 for an app that charges for everything in the app. I don’t want it. I will not use it. I feel cheated and I demand a refund.

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