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How to Get a Refund From the iOS or Mac App Stores

iOS and Mac App Store refunds.jpg

Android users can get an automatic refund for a purchased app, by deleting the app from their devices within 15 minutes of purchasing it. This is a far cry from the 24 hour window that was provided to Android users until recently, but easier than the process in Apple’s iOS store. Shoppers in the iOS store can get refunds, too, albeit through a bit of a convoluted process.

Image from Ben Husmann.

I haven’t actually had to attempt the refund process, but there are numerous articles and posts on the Internet that describe an Apple refund process, and that claim to have had success with it. You have to go into iTunes, sign in, and then find the “Accounts” link on the right side of the screen (or use the dropdown menu to the right of your email address, at the top right of the screen).

itunes account link.jpg

Click that link, and then click the “Purchase History” button. You’ll then see a list of your purchases. At the bottom of the list, you’ll see a “Report a Problem” button.

iTunes Report a Problem.jpg

The screen will then reload. If you look closely next to the list of apps in the top part of the screen (under “Latest Purchases”), you’ll see a column for “Report a Problem.”

iTunes report problem.jpg

Click the “Report a Problem” link next to the app for which you want to request a refund, and you’ll be taken to a customer service page in your browser. In the left side menu, click on “App Store and iBooks” to expand the menu. If you click on the “Downloading and updating Applications” submenu, you’ll see a screen like the one below. Click the “Email Us” button in the right column.

Google Chrome.png

You’ll then be taken to a form like the one below.

Google Chrome.png

Fill it out, paying special attention to the “Specific request” field, but providing as many details as possible. According to Know Your Cell, Apple should reply within a few days. And, as that site points out, use discretion when requesting refunds, as the developers lose their commission if a refund is given.

Although I haven’t tried it, this method likely would work with the Mac App Store as well. In fact, the above screenshots show apps that I purchased for both my MacBook Air and my iPad, in the same list.

Have you ever obtained a refund for an iOS or Mac app, bought through one of Apple’s stores?


A few sites that have reported success with refunds:

Know Your Cell

Pixel Bits

Cybernetnews

 

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About Evan Kline

Evan started 40Tech to write about tech from his perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. When not writing about tech, you might find him with his beautiful wife and baby girl, out on the ski slopes, at his real-life job as a lawyer, over on Google+, or scrounging for followers on his personal Twitter account after years of focusing on the 40Tech account.

39 Responses to How to Get a Refund From the iOS or Mac App Stores

  1. I requested a refund once regarding a song I purchased. I explained that I wanted to buy the song’s album and ended up getting “song credit.” Sadly, I’ve been too lazy to redeem it. You win, Apple.

    • It’s good to hear at least that you got something back. I do wish that Apple had something more akin to Android’s system. I downloaded an Android app last night, couldn’t get it to install for some reason, and just went to the market and clicked the “refund” button. Simple as that.

  2. I bought Microsoft Office 2010 for my Iphone, the apps was 19.99 on 7/17/2011, it dosen’t work on my iphone.

    • Any luck with getting a refund from Apple, Lewis?

      • Just thought you should know that within 10 minutes of raising an issue with the Mac App Store – I had the £19.49 cost of the app being refunded to my card. It will take 5-9 days apparently.
        Result!

        The text (altered for privacy only) was as follows:

        Dear xxxx,

        Thanks for contacting iTunes support to let me know you need some help. I understand that you would like a refund for “xxxxx xxxx”. When it comes to your money, I can certainly appreciate how important it is to feel that you are treated fairly. My name is xxxx and I would be happy to assist you today.

        xxxxxx, after reviewing the circumstances of your case, I’ve determined that issuing you a refund for your purchase of “xxxxxx” is an appropriate exception to the App Store Terms and Conditions, which state that all sales are final.

        Within the next five to seven business days, a credit of £19.49 should be posted to the credit card that appears on the receipt for that purchase.

        The iTunes Store provides a warning message that asks if you are sure that you want to buy an item. This warning can be turned off. If you would like to make sure that this warning is on, you can reset the warnings in the iTunes Store by following these steps:

        - Launch iTunes.
        - From the menu bar top of your screen – click iTunes > Preferences then select the Advanced tab.
        - Click: Reset warnings and Reset Cache
        - Click OK.
        - Quit then relaunch iTunes.

        xxxxxx, please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns about this refund. I’ll be more than happy to assist you with whatever you need. Have a great day.

        Sincerely,

        xxxxx
        iTunes Store Customer Support
        http://www.apple.com/support/itunes/ww/

  3. [personal info redcated]

    MicroSoft Office 2010 – Professional CookBook, v1.0, Seller: VUI NGUYEN (4+)
    Write a Review Report a Problem VUI SOFT App $19.99

    Subtotal: $19.99
    Tax: $1.90

    This app did not work on my iPhone . Can I please get a refund.

    • Lewis, I think you’re misunderstanding who we are. We are an independent tech blog, that offers reviews and tips. We have no affiliation with Apple. This post was just a suggestion on how to get a refund from Apple. You need to deal with apple to try to get a refund.

      [To help with your privacy, I've redacted some of the personal info you put in with the comment]

  4. Just submitted a refund request for the purchase of “Fantastical” from the Mac App Store.

    App didn’t have Google Calendar integration, which was advertised.

  5. Responded in about an hour telling me they would credit the purchase and to contact the app developer for further questions.

    Credited in 5-7 days.

  6. H Evan,

    I managed to get a refund in the Mac App Store. The software did not write lightscribe labels successfully, but it should, and Apple service responded within 24h very kindly. They asked me whether I contacted the developer which I did, but to no success. Then they refunded the app, the money was back on my account (not the credit card) after days. The application now appears in the store as if not purchased.

    So all was fine! Just make sure you explain the situation properly. If the sw does not work as expected the refund should be in order.

    Cheers

    • Hi Sven,

      Good to hear that this can still be done. I’d be curious to know whether Apple then recouped the money from the developer, or perhaps it hadn’t even been paid out yet.

  7. I am trying to get a refund on an app that my young son purchased along with in app purchases which is a very large sum. I followed the above instructions, however, when I click on Report a problem I don’t get sent to the “gets customer service page” I am sent to the “welcome to itunes support page with Q&A articles. Any suggestions or ideas as to what is going on?
    Thanks.

  8. Thanks. I will email them. I’ll let you know what happens.

  9. I bought a crappy app that doesn’t work. I filled out the form, and apple issued a prompt refund. here is their response, which i received within an hour.

    Hello [my name omitted],

    Thanks for writing in today! My name is Kenny with the iTunes Store and I’ll be assisting you with your request. I see that your recent Mac App Store purchase is completely unusable and you would like a refund. I can imagine how anxious you must be to get this matter resolved so you can get your money back.

    [my name omitted], no worries, after reviewing the circumstances of your case, I determined that issuing you a refund for your purchase of “[app name omitted]” is appropriate. In 7 – 10 business days, a credit of $19.99 should be posted to the credit card that appears on the receipt for that purchase.

    [my name omitted], please be sure to let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. I’ll be more than happy to assist you with whatever you need. Thank you for being the most awesome part of Apple. Have a wonderful day.

    Sincerely,

    [service rep's name omitted]
    iTunes Store/Mac App Store Customer Support

    • So I’m confused?? He was able to get a refund on his actual credit card and everyone only received an App Store credit on their account. Something is better than nothing, but I’d be hard pressed to find an intelligent person who would not rather have the money back on their card. Something here is a amiss.

      And I agree with the above comment about Google’s Android return policy. I’m still pretty angry the developers complained and got them to shrink it down to a crappy 15 minutes from 24-hours, but it is better than nothing. And this is coming from a developer. I actually was perfectly fine with the 24-hours. I think if your app is good enough and you stand by it with proper business ethics and integrity, well, you wouldn’t care about the 24 like I didn’t. The 24-hours wasn’t affecting “good” developers, they saw return on their quality. It now just helps out these sleazy developers that are snakeoil salesmen and want to make a quick buck. It only hurt the customers.

      I’m hoping they go back to the 24-hour model someday or at least a 10 hours or more. You don’t always have time to test out an app when you buy it and with the large amount of different phones and operating system releases, well a lot of people need that large refund window. Heck there are an alarming number of apps that require longer than 15 minutes to download the additional data packs for games and other apps. Of course I feel bad that Apple has zero refund (minus this article if it works), but that is why we have choice in our preferred OS and device. And one final point that is awesome to me is that, you will see a lot of Android developers, myself included, offer a full 24-hour or more refund window outside of Google’s 15-minutes for their customers. I do it all the time, especially if their is a legitimate reason for it, but I generally post in the app description of all of my apps that I’ll give you the 24-hour refund time to evaluate the app. If it doesn’t work or you are just not completely happy, email with your ID and order number and you get a refund.

      So, I really hope Apple will continue to offer these “hidden” refunds for people and at the most actually put the money back on credit card and not just credit. Good luck to everyone who is trying to get your money back, and great article by the way, superb!

      • I was a bit annoyed, too, when Google went to the 15 minute review period. When I download an app not knowing if it will work, I find myself frantically setting it up and trying it out. I think it might actually cost developers sales, because I’ve returned a couple of apps when I thought they wouldn’t work, but wasn’t 100% sure, just because that clock was ticking.

  10. In iTunes 10.5.2 it doesnt have a report button. How do I do it with iTunes 10.5.2

  11. Thanks I got the refund I wanted.;)

  12. Just filed for a refund – to do it in the new iTunes, you need to click your email (AppleID) in the top right of the iTunes Store, click ‘Purchase History’ (midway down), and then press ‘Report a problem’. Then, select the app, and it takes you where you need to go :)

  13. followed the instructions. Got my cc credited for the full amount within 2 hours of starting the process.
    It helped that i had already contacted the dev for the app I wanted a refund for and included their response in my message to Apple (that basically advised me to get a refund).

  14. Does drive me mad that I have to work through iTunes in order to refund an app. Given the move of IOS to a more cloud based model this seems a little backward…

    I much prefer Androids system…

  15. There’s certainly a lot to learn about this subject. I really like all the points you made.

  16. Just to let you know, the email screen no longer happens. You go directly to a dialogue box that allows you to submit your complaint after clicking on the specified compliant link. I’ll let you know what happens. The e book I purchased had a misleading description as to its contents. Btw, do you or will you have a post on the seemingly slippery slope of less control of files in iOS compared to a pc or osx laptop? Do we really want to loose that ability to have control of our own file systems. Do we really want cloud based systems? A system where all your files are stored somewhere else? Would like your tech opinion. Thanks

  17. Update: full refund. That was quick and painless and the response was very friendly. They simply wrote me back and said they would refund my account. They even left another email to see if I was still a happy customer. I did however also went to customer support and emailed them instead of just the app report problem section.

  18. Please stop charging me for whatever it is you are charging for. Cancel it , don’t know what it’s for. Haven’t purchased anything. PLEASE HELP

  19. I followed the directions here and got a response that my money will be refunded within a few business days. The app wasn’t working correctly and was not something I wanted anyway. For me they seemed very generous with my request and responded withing only a hour or two. Can’t complain about that. They sure did make it hard to find where to request a refund. There would be no way I would have found it without a guide.

    Thanks.

  20. Followed your instructions and managed to get refund in a few clicks. I indicated that I accidentally purchased the item (from the drop down) and explained what had happened and when I clicked submit the next screen said “a refund has been issued to your method payment.” Dead simple. The refund was for a piece of software that from the Mac App Store. I must admit, I was surprised!

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