[South Korea:] Google, Apple ordered to revise unfair App store terms (especially paid apps)

Apple & Google Company have been ordered by the South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission to review its App Store refund policy, the Korea Herald reports. For instance, Apple current policy requires users to submit a request for a refund and have the case reviewed by an Apple employee before a refund will be considered.

Korean FTC

The Fair Trade Commission, Korea ruled this “unfair” after numerous requests from the Citizens’ Coalition group for Economic Justice.

“South Korea is ahead of other countries in dealing with unfair business practices as it has exclusive laws to regulate unfair clauses,” said Yoon Chul-hwan, an official at the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice.

In response to the ruling, Apple told the Fair Trade Commission that it would create a new, automated refund system for the Korean App Store, and consider rolling the change out worldwide, with Korean officials requiring that Apple send a notice users when its terms and conditions have changed. While, the Google Play web store will design a customer refund system based on Web developers’ refund polices.

“We expect the measure, aimed at protecting consumers, will have a ripple effect on similar cases throughout the world,” the Korea Fair Trade Commission said in a press release.

In 2011, the Taiwanese government also pressured Apple and Google to modify their app store policies, with Apple enabling a 7-day refund period. However, it was unclear at the time what changes were made by Apple in order to comply with the law, as the company may have simply addressed it by granting refunds upon request.

“The FTC’s corrective orders will become benchmark cases for other countries, which face growing customer complaints over unfair provisions in contracts of mobile webstore operators,” said Hwang Won-chul, head of the KFTC’s Adhesion Contract Division.

“While Google will limit its response to the FTC to the domestic market, Apple said it would consider applying the revised contract terms globally,” he added.

Thanks you the antitrust watchdog. It is the first time that an antitrust body here has taken corrective action against global app store operators.

According to the new Korean report, Apple is also unfair to its customers when they submit their devices for repair. This may sound NONSONCE! At the moment, but the same consumer group that brought unfair App store terms case before the FTC says it has plans to bring a complaint regarding Apple’s current iPhone repair policies.

“Currently, users are not able to get their original phones back from repair shops after they have their phones repaired. Yoon Chul-hwan, an official at the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice stated that “We will file a complaint against Apple to see if that is also an unfair sales practice.”

Will they succeed in their plans or will they be proved false? Want to know the whole development on this story stay tuned 🙂

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