Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may have to revise its App Store refund policies in response to orders issued by the Korean Fair Trade Commission.
According to terms set by the Korea FTC Sunday, Apple’s App Store will be required to send users a notice when its changes the App Store's terms of contract. Google Inc.'s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play Store has also been ordered to create an automated refund system based on individual app developers’ refund policies, according to a report by the Korea Herald.
Currently Apple’s App Store doesn’t offer automatic refunds for app purchases, instead requiring users to contact Apple directly through the "report a problem” button on the iTunes’ purchase history page. After a refund request is sent, Apple employees review the request, which is either approved or denied.
Google so far has limited its response to the South Korean market. However, Apple is said to be considering applying the changes to its App Store contract worldwide.
‘‘We expect the measure, aimed at protecting consumers, will have a ripple effect on similar cases throughout the world,” the Korean FTC said in a public statement.
In addition to addressing the difficulty of obtaining App Store refunds, the Korean FTC’s ruling also targets "unfair provisions” found in the contract terms for both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.
Prior to the ruling against Apple and Google, the Korean FTC ordered several Korean companies including KT, SK Planet, LG Electronics Inc. (KRX:066570) and LG Uplus Corp. (KRX:032640), to revise “unfair business terms” within their Web stores' policies in March.
The Cupertino, California, tech titan was also in the crosshairs of the Korean FTC in 2011 when it was ordered to change the refund policy for its iPhone. The changes allowed consumers to return or exchange defective iPhones within a month of purchase.