Sometimes, purchasing from the Play Store isn’t a happy experience. The app isn’t what it claimed to be, or the music is just rubbish. But if you want a refund, you need to act fast. Here’s how to return paid apps, games or media purchased in Google Play.
The process for a refund can differ depend on the kind of purchase that was made. Jump ahead to the section relevant to you.
In law, paid-for goods are generally covered by some basic principles: if they’re faulty or misdescribed, you should be given a repair, a replacement or a refund. It’s important to note that when consumer legislation talks about “satisfactory quality” they mean technical quality, not artistic: “this song doesn’t play” should trigger a refund, but “this song sounds like a bunch of drunks shouting into a bucket” doesn’t – unless the item wasn’t labelled properly and you thought you were getting the new Taylor Swift single.
With Google, the rights you have depend on what you’re buying and in some cases, what country you live in.
If you live in the EU, some purchases are subject to different rules:
- If you buy digital content such as in-app items, apps, games, music, or movies on Google Play, you waive an automatic statutory right of withdrawal and our standard refund rules apply.
- If you buy a service from a developer or another third party, even if you buy it on Google Play, contact the seller to withdraw and get a refund.
Google’s Android App return policy is simple: if you buy an Android app or game and you aren’t happy with it for any reason, you can return it within two hours for a full refund. After that two hour period is up, though, you have a 48 hour window during which a refund request can be processed by Google. After that, it’s up to the app developer to decide whether or not you should get your money back.
For in-app purchases, while it’s not easy to get a refund without the approval of the developer, you can try via the same process as with the 48-hour window.
To claim a refund within 2 hours of purchase:
- Open the Google Play Store app
- Tap on the Menu icon and choose My Account
- Select the app or game you want to return
- Tap on Refund
- Follow the on-screen instructions to get your money back and uninstall the app or game.
If the two hour period has already passed you won’t see a refund button; it will say Uninstall instead.
To claim a refund within 48 hours of purchase:
- Open a web browser and go here
- Scroll down to “Order History” and find the order you want to return.
- To the right of the order, click More .
- Select Request a refund
- Complete the form and note that you would like a refund.
How to contact an app or game developer for a refund
On your mobile device:
- Open the Google Play Store app
- Search for the app whose developer you want to contact
- Tap on the app
- Tap on Read More
- Hope that the contact information isn’t “M. Mouse, Disneyland”
How to get a refund on an ebook
Google Play generally gives you a 7-day return period on books (30 days on educational titles through Google Play for Education) but there are some exceptions, such as books that were only available for a very short period of time. To make a refund request, you need to contact Google Play Customer Support.
If the video clip is defective, you can get a refund at any time within 65 days – but if you’ve simply decided that Killer Klowns from Outer Space isn’t really the movie for you, you’ve got only 7 days. That period only applies if you haven’t started watching the movie: if you get three minutes in and think “this is rubbish!” that’s your tough luck. The same rules apply to TV shows.
Once again, Google will happily refund your purchase if you haven’t streamed or downloaded it; as soon as you do either of those things Google will only consider a refund if the track is technically, not artistically, inadequate. You’ve got 7 days to request a refund, or 14 if you live in the European Union. To request a refund:
- Using a web browser, go into your Play Store account
- Look for Order History and find the item you want to request a refund for
- Click on the menu icon
- Select Report A Problem
- Select I’d Like To Request a Refund
If you don’t have access to a computer, you can contact the support team instead.
Have you tried to get a refund and been refused? What did you do? Let us know in the comments!