Beware of Apple charging for FREE apps on iTunes

pubwvj

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 1, 2004
1,897
202
Mountains of Vermont
Beware that developers on Apple's iTunes web store are dropping prices of Apps to FREE and then raising the price again such that I found a FREE app in Apple's iTunes store's FREE app list, went in and read the description where it said it was FREE, clicked on the download link which said FREE. No warning was given that there was a price change. I was charge $13.99 for the app by Apple for an app that was listed as FREE. Apple justified it as saying the price of the apps can change.

This is fraud by Apple and by the developer. If it happened to me I'm sure it is happening to other people. Watch your credit card bills and your iTunes account invoices to make sure Apple doesn't charge you for FREE apps.
 

pubwvj

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 1, 2004
1,897
202
Mountains of Vermont
I did, of course. Apple's response was that the developer can change the prices if they want. Not cool. I have not yet received a credit.
 

IGregory

macrumors 6502a
Aug 5, 2012
669
5
This is fraud by Apple and by the developer.
How did you make the leap to fraud? May I offer you an alternative explanation. An error or a mistake. Apple is an reputable company. You have no cause to make such an outlandish allegation.
 

madmaxmedia

macrumors 68030
Dec 17, 2003
2,922
33
Los Angeles, CA
I wouldn't consider it fraud by Apple, more like a shady practice by the developer.

It's also possible that it's a totally legit developer who ended their sale promo right before you bought the app. Also, there might be a lag time between app price change, and the change reflecting in App Store sections.

Just get your money back, not a big deal. It would be a big deal if the could game it such that the download/purchase button said 'Free', but then they charged you.
 

pubwvj

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 1, 2004
1,897
202
Mountains of Vermont
Apple told me to contact the developer.

I did.

The developer just emailed me telling me to contact Apple.

Around and around we go.

To change a free item to $13.99 without a warning is fraud.

Watch out they don't pull the same thing on you.
 

Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,274
780
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
The iTunes Connect area is supposed to be closed all this week. I think the Elements guys set it to stop being on sale today.

I hate the policy of Apple leaving developers to call the shots. There are some instances, like this, where it's an App Store issue, and has nothing to do with them.
 

MikhailT

macrumors 601
Nov 12, 2007
4,429
1,023
The iTunes Connect area is supposed to be closed all this week. I think the Elements guys set it to stop being on sale today.

I hate the policy of Apple leaving developers to call the shots. There are some instances, like this, where it's an App Store issue, and has nothing to do with them.
Actually, Apple warned ALL developers not to change prices during the time that iTunes Connect is shut down because doing so will do more harm. They warned that such apps may actually be removed from the store or may cause other type of issues.

They warn the same thing every time they notified all developers about the holidays shutdown.

This is the fault of the developers, not Apple.

In addition, expect a slowdown of responses from Apple, as the company beside the retail staff is basically shut down until the new year.
 

nightstalkerz

macrumors 6502
May 9, 2013
271
12
The iTunes Connect area is supposed to be closed all this week. I think the Elements guys set it to stop being on sale today.

I hate the policy of Apple leaving developers to call the shots. There are some instances, like this, where it's an App Store issue, and has nothing to do with them.
The elements guy said it was only free for 1 day which was correct.

He also said it was based on the UK time.

There's also the issue of the App Store caching where things may take up to an hour or two to update correctly.
 

Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,274
780
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
Actually, Apple warned ALL developers not to change prices during the time that iTunes Connect is shut down because doing so will do more harm. They warned that such apps may actually be removed from the store or may cause other type of issues.

They warn the same thing every time they notified all developers about the holidays shutdown.

This is the fault of the developers, not Apple.

In addition, expect a slowdown of responses from Apple, as the company beside the retail staff is basically shut down until the new year.
The problem is that most developers aren't GOING to give you your money back, and that's a big problem. That is why Apple themselves need to be behind app purchases, app problems, and things of this nature.

Otherwise they're going to get sued, like they did, for in-app purchase complaints.

I had to call my credit card company earlier this year about some in-app purchases my mom made that didn't go through (Apple said that was the next step since the developer wasn't responding). The developer wasn't responding, and they had about $200 worth of my money at this point. The app was freezing after a purchase.

And it was embarrassing. I was on the phone for like 30 minutes trying to convince the credit card company that the purchase didn't go through because the app was malfunctioning. Apple will tell you to dispute iTunes App Purchases, but really, the credit card companies want none of it either.

More embarrassing was the 20+ letters I got in the mail about it afterwards.

Consumers shouldn't have to suffer because a developer made a mistake or isn't responding.
 

MikhailT

macrumors 601
Nov 12, 2007
4,429
1,023
The problem is that most developers aren't GOING to give you your money back, and that's a big problem. That is why Apple themselves need to be behind app purchases, app problems, and things of this nature.

Otherwise they're going to get sued, like they did, for in-app purchase complaints.

I had to call my credit card company earlier this year about some in-app purchases my mom made that didn't go through (Apple said that was the next step since the developer wasn't responding). The developer wasn't responding, and they had about $200 worth of my money at this point. The app was freezing after a purchase.

And it was embarrassing. I was on the phone for like 30 minutes trying to convince the credit card company that the purchase didn't go through because the app was malfunctioning. Apple will tell you to dispute iTunes App Purchases, but really, the credit card companies want none of it either.

More embarrassing was the 20+ letters I got in the mail about it afterwards.

Consumers shouldn't have to suffer because a developer made a mistake or isn't responding.
Sorry, we're crossing wires here. My post was based on thinking that you were referring to developers changing prices during the time that iTunes connect is shut down, not that Apple should handle all the financial stuff.

I do agree, Apple should have a clear refund policy and take charge of it all, just like Google.

The problem is that many companies would be happy to give a customer a refund but only after the customer ask Apple first. The reason is that if the company gives the customer the money back, they lose 30% more on each refund. Remember that Apple takes 30% of each purpose, so the only way for the company to not lose money is to have Apple refund it.
 

Abazigal

macrumors G5
Jul 18, 2011
12,813
10,849
Singapore
That's why I would never pay more than $5 for a non-Apple app, and never allow in-app purchases.

Developers still don't understand how to care for customers.
I see it as 2 separate issues.

If an app is good enough, I don't mind paying a fair price for it. There are apps I have spent over $10 on. 1-2 admitably were duds, quite a few were useful enough to justify their hefty price tags.

Likewise, app developers have to be assured that consumers are willing to pay a decent price for their efforts, before they commit to investing their time and effort in it.

If this is a case of an app developer trying to play punk and be funny with the customers, it doesn't matter what price they charge. Foul play is still foul play.
 

Binarymix

macrumors 65816
Nov 1, 2007
1,091
320
I had about 3 apps I had to have refunded after the store glitched out and started downloading 3 apps at a time when I clicked on a free download. This Happened multiple times, and I was scared to even make a purchase.

No problem from Apple, my account was refunded within a couple days.

I even left a bug report about the issue in the reason for refund request, Apple never acknowledged the bug, but it seems it was fixed after 7.04.

I assume you won't have any issues with your refund request, it'll just take a few days, if not longer because of the holidays.
 

MikhailT

macrumors 601
Nov 12, 2007
4,429
1,023
This is the one thing I don't agree with. If you buy software in a store and you don't like it, you can't take it back.
Sure you can. Many reputable software companies actually have a refund policy, an example is AgileBits who'll refund if you don't like their apps within 30 days, including iOS apps.

The problem is, with such a massive number of apps in the app store, customers just can't afford to buy everything trying to find an app that works the way they want it. There's just no way to verify the app works as suggested in advance, the description and the screenshots can only do so much. Reviews aren't enough and many times, they have easily been abused/gamed (think "extra feature if you review us").

Google doesn't have any major problems with their own refund policy, in fact they're the best implementation I've ever seen.

That's one thing I wish Apple would copy from Google, allow for total refund within 15 minutes of the app install. It should be enough time for anybody to decide if they like the app or not and if they don't, they just trash the app and Apple'll automatically refund it.
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,661
136
with movies when you click buy it checks the master price list to make sure that its the price being shown. pretty sure it does this on apps as well

some shady devs like to drop the price, ride the hype and raise prices right when they expect the most people to download it without checking to make sure its still free
 

cjmillsnun

macrumors 68020
Aug 28, 2009
2,399
46
Apple told me to contact the developer.

I did.

The developer just emailed me telling me to contact Apple.

Around and around we go.

To change a free item to $13.99 without a warning is fraud.

Watch out they don't pull the same thing on you.
As the developer sets the prices, it is not Apple committing fraud.
 

old-wiz

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2008
8,315
225
West Suburban Boston Ma
I see it as 2 separate issues.

If an app is good enough, I don't mind paying a fair price for it. There are apps I have spent over $10 on. 1-2 admitably were duds, quite a few were useful enough to justify their hefty price tags.

Likewise, app developers have to be assured that consumers are willing to pay a decent price for their efforts, before they commit to investing their time and effort in it.

If this is a case of an app developer trying to play punk and be funny with the customers, it doesn't matter what price they charge. Foul play is still foul play.
I'd pay a fair price if the app looks really good and has great reviews. However, I don't use my iPad that much, just mostly for eBooks via Kindle.
 

phr0ze

macrumors 6502a
Jun 14, 2012
513
0
Columbia, MD
The problem is, with such a massive number of apps in the app store, customers just can't afford to buy everything trying to find an app that works the way they want it. There's just no way to verify the app works as suggested in advance, the description and the screenshots can only do so much. Reviews aren't enough and many times, they have easily been abused/gamed (think "extra feature if you review us").
I remember going to buy software at best buy and having nothing to go off of but the art and description on the box. Or sometimes a review in a magazine or website.

It was all non-refundable.

Does it have to be that way today? No. But that doesn't mean the App store is being any different than best buy target etc.
 

MikhailT

macrumors 601
Nov 12, 2007
4,429
1,023
I remember going to buy software at best buy and having nothing to go off of but the art and description on the box. Or sometimes a review in a magazine or website.

It was all non-refundable.

Does it have to be that way today? No. But that doesn't mean the App store is being any different than best buy target etc.
Speaking of magazines/websites, they often include trial versions. That's how you know the app works great and if you're happy with it, you can go to the website or the retail store to buy the boxed version.

App Stores have two avenues to handle this, either offer a limited trial version (some apps are doing this by offering the freemium model, so this can work as well) or a refund policy.

If Google can certainly do this, why can't Apple?
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.