Apple has tipped over the…eh…apple cart by announcing that customers now have a 14 day return window for purchases out of the app store. The author of a CNET article on the change seemed to think this is a function of the Consumer Rights Directive.
Here’s why it isn’t.
Under the CRD there is a 14 day no-questions-asked right to return an item, but this applies to physical goods, not digital goods.
European consumers do now have the right to “return” a digital item under the CRD, but the law is very clear that this right ends upon commencement of the download, whether that is physical or automatic. Consumers must be advised of that fact before they commence the download in order for the site or app to remain in compliance.
This means that Apple has either conflated the physical and digital sections of the law, or they have made a choice to go above and beyond what the law requires by creating a 14 day “try and return” policy for digital items.
In other words, don’t blame this on the CRD or use it as an excuse to have a go at the EU, as the law has clearly been misinterpreted and misunderstood in this instance.
About the author
Heather Burns is a digital law specialist in Glasgow, Scotland. She researches, writes, publishes, consults, and speaks extensively on internet laws and policies which affect the crafts of web design and development. She has been designing and developing web sites since 1997 and has been a professional web site designer since 2007. She holds a postgraduate certification in internet law and policy from the University of Strathclyde. Learn about hiring Heather to write, speak, or consult.