Apple Now Letting Developers Know When Customers Request In-App Refunds to Prevent Scams

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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple is introducing a new in-app purchase server notification system that lets developers know when a customer requests and receives a refund for an in-app purchase, allowing the developer to take an appropriate action, such as revoking the purchased item.


Developers are not involved in Apple's refund process, which is handled by the company. Prior to now, when a user requested and received a refund for an in-app purchase, developers were not notified about the refund, leading to situations where customers could get a refund for a purchase and keep the in-app purchase.

It also caused issues with customer support as there was no clear communication between Apple and the developer in respect to in-app purchases.

In iOS 14, when a customer receives a refund for an in-app purchase, developers will receive a server notification and updated receipts with canceled transactions. From there, the developer can alert the customer about the refund and take the appropriate steps to remove the content.

Apple says that these changes will give developers more control over customer interactions, making gameplay more fair for all players and protecting the app's economy. Apple believes the notification system will also make it clear to players who have used refunds in this way that there are repercussions for refunds and that items won't be able to be kept.

Apple's refund notification system is live for developers as of today, and more details can be found in Apple's "What's new with in-app purchases" session that's available on the Apple Developer website.

Article Link: Apple Now Letting Developers Know When Customers Request In-App Refunds to Prevent Scams
 
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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,923
14,608
Central U.S.
The real scam is all these apps that obfuscate the amount of money being spent through things like gems, coins, space bucks, etc. There should be a hard limit on how much money can be thrown at an app in a given time period. I do not believe it is morally ethical to use psychological tricks to addict people with lower intelligence or addictive personalities into giving you thousands of dollars per year for a stupid little game that delivers nothing of substantial value and keeps poor people poor. These are essentially digital drugs and it upsets me that Apple not only lets this slide, but seems to actively encourage it. This is one of those things we're going to look back on in 20 years and wonder how it was even legal.
 

apachie2k

macrumors 6502
May 23, 2006
408
15
was NYC...now MIAMI
The real scam is all these apps that obfuscate the amount of money being spent through things like gems, coins, space bucks, etc. There should be a hard limit on how much money can be thrown at an app in a given time period. I do not believe it is morally ethical to use psychological tricks to addict people with lower intelligence or addictive personalities into giving you thousands of dollars per year for a stupid little game that delivers nothing of substantial value and keeps poor people poor. These are essentially digital drugs and it upsets me that Apple not only lets this slide, but seems to actively encourage it. This is one of those things we're going to look back on in 20 years and wonder how it was even legal.
completely agree - micro-transactions made things worse because of greed
 

aardwolf

macrumors 6502
May 30, 2007
355
91
Why was this never automatic? If you ask for a refund for an app, the app should automatically be disabled.
It's the In-App purchasing refunds that aren't automatic. I have a fertility charting app that users pay for by month. When someone renews their account, a process notifies my server to give them account credit. After they get credit for the access they purchased, Apple had no way of notifying me after they requested a refund for that amount. The best I could do was look at the monthly financials for in-app purchase refunds and try to find the person based on that.
 

russell_314

macrumors 65816
Feb 10, 2019
1,328
1,797
USA
The real scam is all these apps that obfuscate the amount of money being spent through things like gems, coins, space bucks, etc. There should be a hard limit on how much money can be thrown at an app in a given time period. I do not believe it is morally ethical to use psychological tricks to addict people with lower intelligence or addictive personalities into giving you thousands of dollars per year for a stupid little game that delivers nothing of substantial value and keeps poor people poor. These are essentially digital drugs and it upsets me that Apple not only lets this slide, but seems to actively encourage it. This is one of those things we're going to look back on in 20 years and wonder how it was even legal.
So you want to be able to dictate how much I spend on a game or an app 🤦‍♂️... Umm no
 

jayducharme

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2006
3,574
3,305
The thick of it
This is good to hear. There was an app I purchased last week. The App Store said it would work on my iPhone. But when I paid for it and installed it, the app would crash upon launch and nothing seemed to fix the problem. And there was no way to directly contact the developer. So I got my money back from Apple. I had assumed they would then contact the developer and maybe there would be a fix coming. So I'm glad Apple will be doing this in future. Better late than never, I guess. Currently, that app still shows up under my "Purchased" apps, ready to download.
 
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mariusignorello

macrumors 68000
Jun 9, 2013
1,684
2,236
The real scam is all these apps that obfuscate the amount of money being spent through things like gems, coins, space bucks, etc. There should be a hard limit on how much money can be thrown at an app in a given time period. I do not believe it is morally ethical to use psychological tricks to addict people with lower intelligence or addictive personalities into giving you thousands of dollars per year for a stupid little game that delivers nothing of substantial value and keeps poor people poor. These are essentially digital drugs and it upsets me that Apple not only lets this slide, but seems to actively encourage it. This is one of those things we're going to look back on in 20 years and wonder how it was even legal.
That’s like limiting how much you can spend at Target. Adults need to be adults and learn self control.

Also, Apple does not “let it slide” because I’m willing to bet the majority of users purchase very little if at all.
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,802
1,256
New Zealand
Interesting. A while ago I accidentally bought a 1-year subscription for something I only needed for 6 months (I had some trouble getting it to work, and it flicked back to the 1-year default without my noticing). I got a refund and noticed that the app still worked.

At first I thought it just took a few days to process, but apparently not! I ended up having to 'manually' buy the 6-month sub through the Settings app (you can see subscriptions through your account settings) as there was no option inside the app if it thought you already had an active sub. It has about a month left and it'll be interesting to see whether it stops working on the right day, or whether it'll keep working for the initial year.
 
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dwaltwhit

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2013
538
688
Tennessee
The real scam is all these apps that obfuscate the amount of money being spent through things like gems, coins, space bucks, etc. There should be a hard limit on how much money can be thrown at an app in a given time period. I do not believe it is morally ethical to use psychological tricks to addict people with lower intelligence or addictive personalities into giving you thousands of dollars per year for a stupid little game that delivers nothing of substantial value and keeps poor people poor. These are essentially digital drugs and it upsets me that Apple not only lets this slide, but seems to actively encourage it. This is one of those things we're going to look back on in 20 years and wonder how it was even legal.
So what’s your stance on lottery tickets?
 
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Seoras

macrumors 6502
Oct 25, 2007
432
662
Scotsman in New Zealand
Speaking from personal experience as an app publisher/developer I can say that most users don't realise that Apple handles all the payment stuff and that publishers like myself don't know who asked for a refund.
I often get emails from users saying "I didn't mean to purchase this, please give me a refund".
I have to explain that Apple has total control over that and I can do nothing.
With this change I will now know who asked for a refund but there's still not much I can do about it.
If it is an app with an account I can cancel the account or I can mark it as being in debt but other than that this isn't that big a deal.
I always felt that Apple, until now, didn't give me this info to stop legal fights between app publishers and its user base.
It makes me wonder if this is just another move by Apple to put it in a better position when it goes up against the US & EU on anti-competitive charges for enforcing app payments through it's own system.
Personally I fully support Apple. I have websites that do the same as my apps. I'd happy pay anyone 30% to bring me paying customer and deal with the payment system/charges. That's fair, anyone else would expect the same.
 
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System Of A Down

macrumors newbie
Jun 10, 2020
4
5
The real scam is all these apps that obfuscate the amount of money being spent through things like gems, coins, space bucks, etc. There should be a hard limit on how much money can be thrown at an app in a given time period. I do not believe it is morally ethical to use psychological tricks to addict people with lower intelligence or addictive personalities into giving you thousands of dollars per year for a stupid little game that delivers nothing of substantial value and keeps poor people poor. These are essentially digital drugs and it upsets me that Apple not only lets this slide, but seems to actively encourage it. This is one of those things we're going to look back on in 20 years and wonder how it was even legal.
Micro-transaction are terrible and they give people the illusion that they're getting a deal with a free app and they can just pick and choose what they want in an app when in reality, it's a way to squeeze more money from folks.
 

johnnytravels

macrumors member
Oct 24, 2019
39
39
I didn’t even know that you could get a refund on in app purchases. I am contemplating buying a more expensive app with lots of additional content through in app purchases but I am not sure if it will turn out to be what I am looking for. Great if I could get a closer look that way...
 

dazed

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2007
904
203
Why is this even a problem? I remember years ago on a google device that if I purchased something and changed my mind within a certain period (I think it was 10 mins) then I could request a refund and the app was automatically removed. This was on a nexus 4 so that’s a long time ago 😄. kinda funny that iOS 14 is also bringing widgets too. Kinda feels like the iPhone is finally catching up to the few things I enjoyed in that old android phone and its only taken about 7 years :) 👍
 

omihek

macrumors 6502a
May 3, 2014
514
1,553
Salt Lake City, UT
The real scam is all these apps that obfuscate the amount of money being spent through things like gems, coins, space bucks, etc. There should be a hard limit on how much money can be thrown at an app in a given time period. I do not believe it is morally ethical to use psychological tricks to addict people with lower intelligence or addictive personalities into giving you thousands of dollars per year for a stupid little game that delivers nothing of substantial value and keeps poor people poor. These are essentially digital drugs and it upsets me that Apple not only lets this slide, but seems to actively encourage it. This is one of those things we're going to look back on in 20 years and wonder how it was even legal.
I would agree with this except for that you're blaming Apple for the problem. Assuming children are some of those "lower intelligence or addictive personalities" people you are talking about, the responsibility to manage their spending limits falls on their parent or guardian. Adults with addictive personalities? Lol, too bad. If you're an adult who can't physically stop yourself from spending more money to keep playing Candy Crush for 10 extra minutes, then my guess is you'd be poor with or without digital micro-transactions being a thing. Not Apple's problem. Lower intelligence adults? Not quite as easy to answer, except for I believe most of them have some sort of guardian as well, so that shouldn't be a problem in most cases. At the end of the day, Apple should not be required to babysit anyone or manage anyone else's budget. And I know plenty of normal-intelligence people who spend tons of money on their favorite apps & games. Doesn't make sense to me, but who am I (and who are you?) to tell them they can't spend their money how they want, or even worse, telling Apple that they should be telling my friends how they can spend their money?
 

jaworskimatt

macrumors member
Sep 3, 2019
43
58
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I didn’t even know that you could get a refund on in app purchases. I am contemplating buying a more expensive app with lots of additional content through in app purchases but I am not sure if it will turn out to be what I am looking for. Great if I could get a closer look that way...
It's even better for clients from EU. According to EU law digital purchases are expected to be refunded within 14 days with no questions asked (supposedly if the goods weren't delivered, but it's a gray zone rule at best). One of many reasons (the other major factor being VAT) why despite being from Europe I did not incorporate my software company there.
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G3
May 16, 2015
9,834
3,758
The real scam is all these apps that obfuscate the amount of money being spent through things like gems, coins, space bucks, etc. There should be a hard limit on how much money can be thrown at an app in a given time period. I do not believe it is morally ethical to use psychological tricks to addict people with lower intelligence or addictive personalities into giving you thousands of dollars per year for a stupid little game that delivers nothing of substantial value and keeps poor people poor. These are essentially digital drugs and it upsets me that Apple not only lets this slide, but seems to actively encourage it. This is one of those things we're going to look back on in 20 years and wonder how it was even legal.
This is called legal gambling lol. Gatcha game (the exact type you describe) is also insanely popular, often paired with original or trending anime series’s IP. Players can easily spend thousands or even millions of dollars into this.

I’d say Apple’s move can definitely help protecting this part of the industry, whether outsiders agree or not.
 

EmotionalSnow

macrumors member
Nov 1, 2019
51
87
Linz, Austria
It's even better for clients from EU. According to EU law digital purchases are expected to be refunded within 14 days with no questions asked (supposedly if the goods weren't delivered, but it's a gray zone rule at best). One of many reasons (the other major factor being VAT) why despite being from Europe I did not incorporate my software company there.
How exactly does incorporating your company elsewhere protect you from that law? Also: many companies "force" their customers to waive this right, because otherwise they won't do business with you.
 

jaworskimatt

macrumors member
Sep 3, 2019
43
58
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
How exactly does incorporating your company elsewhere protect you from that law? Also: many companies "force" their customers to waive this right, because otherwise they won't do business with you.
If the business is in the US and has no presence in the EU (ie a daughter company or the like) the EU law does not apply to it. Our primary market is the US anyway, so an US company made most sense.

Since it’s all digital goods, and we are exempt from EU VAT there us no need for official presence.

We sell to the whole world, quite obviously we can’t set up a company everywhere. So it’s just an online software store Stateside.
 

WoodpeckerBaby

macrumors 6502a
Aug 17, 2016
516
411
That’s like limiting how much you can spend at Target. Adults need to be adults and learn self control.

Also, Apple does not “let it slide” because I’m willing to bet the majority of users purchase very little if at all.
People who gamble doesn’t are actually operating on autopilot. Just like people with mental health issue are having experiences that are out of their conscious control.

You don‘t always do things you intend to do.
- - Post merged: - -

I would agree with this except for that you're blaming Apple for the problem. Assuming children are some of those "lower intelligence or addictive personalities" people you are talking about, the responsibility to manage their spending limits falls on their parent or guardian. Adults with addictive personalities? Lol, too bad. If you're an adult who can't physically stop yourself from spending more money to keep playing Candy Crush for 10 extra minutes, then my guess is you'd be poor with or without digital micro-transactions being a thing. Not Apple's problem. Lower intelligence adults? Not quite as easy to answer, except for I believe most of them have some sort of guardian as well, so that shouldn't be a problem in most cases. At the end of the day, Apple should not be required to babysit anyone or manage anyone else's budget. And I know plenty of normal-intelligence people who spend tons of money on their favorite apps & games. Doesn't make sense to me, but who am I (and who are you?) to tell them they can't spend their money how they want, or even worse, telling Apple that they should be telling my friends how they can spend their money?
Not Children, but people who are neurologically prone to addiction and gambling. There are many Psychologists speaking up on this issue.

In many cases, requiring a “cool off“ wait period before committing to the impulse purchase can reduce a lot of those problems.
 
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unplugme71

macrumors 68030
May 20, 2011
2,804
750
Earth
The real scam is all these apps that obfuscate the amount of money being spent through things like gems, coins, space bucks, etc. There should be a hard limit on how much money can be thrown at an app in a given time period. I do not believe it is morally ethical to use psychological tricks to addict people with lower intelligence or addictive personalities into giving you thousands of dollars per year for a stupid little game that delivers nothing of substantial value and keeps poor people poor. These are essentially digital drugs and it upsets me that Apple not only lets this slide, but seems to actively encourage it. This is one of those things we're going to look back on in 20 years and wonder how it was even legal.

Like the $99.00 for 10,000 gems And you can burn through it in 10 minutes and only gain 2% gameplay? Yeah it’s ********.

I would gladly buy a free game for $9.99 to get unlimited gems but only generate x per day.
 

Katy Newbold

macrumors newbie
Jun 28, 2020
6
0
my son charged 360 dollars, all the money i have, in pokecoins friday. i don’t care if they revoke his items or delete his whole account i just need that money for bills due in two days but apple refuses
 

TiggrToo

macrumors 68000
Aug 24, 2017
1,991
4,494
Out there...way out there
my son charged 360 dollars, all the money i have, in pokecoins friday. i don’t care if they revoke his items or delete his whole account i just need that money for bills due in two days but apple refuses
That's hardly Apple's fault. In app purchases that resolve around items are invariably hard to dispute.

Sorry to say but this is more down to you not locking the device down than it is Apple's fault.

They provide processes to prevent this for a reason.

 
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