Taipei Officials Fine Google for Failing to Give App Refund

By Ed Silverstein June 27, 2011

Taipei officials recently fined Google $34,600 after the company refused to give an app refund to consumers under local law.

AFP reports that customers were supposed to be given a week-long trial after they downloaded apps for cell phones.

Taiwan has a local law whereby consumers have seven days for trying out products after purchasing them through the Internet, AFP adds.

Both Google and Apple violated the consumer law and were told earlier this month to change their rules.

“Google refused to change its rules,” according to Betty Chen, who directs consumer protection for the Taipei city government. However, Apple changed its rules, AFP said.

Google’s Android Market gives consumers only 15 minutes to figure out if they want a refund after purchasing an application online, AFP said.

“This is a glaring violation of a provision of the Consumer Protection Law,” Chen Bi-chu, Taipei’s chief consumer protection officer, was quoted by The China Post.

In response to the government action, Google suspended the sale of its apps to consumers in Taiwan, Chen said. She called the company’s decision “unfriendly,” AFP said.

Another fine against Google is possible if Google officials don’t change their minds by July 1, AFP said. Google officials will meet with government representatives on June 30 for more discussions, according to The China Post.

In addition, Taipei city officials alleged that Google attempted to “hijack” consumers in Taiwan “as a bargaining chip in order to gain exemption from the country’s laws,” according to a report from The China Post.

Taiwan’s Consumer Protection Law has governed postal orders but it also governs online purchases, Yeh Ching-yuan, chairman of the Taipei Law and Regulation Commission (LRC), was quoted by The China Post.

The newspaper added that a Google official explained a 7-day trial period would be difficult to manage.

In other recent Google news, the company is being investigated by authorities in the United States, Europe and elsewhere on antitrust issues, TechZone360 reported.

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Ed Silverstein is a TechZone360 contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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