Broken App? Get a Refund! Your Guide to the iTunes Refund Process

Posted by Bonnie Eisenman on November 26th, 2010

Sometimes, it's inevitable. You've bought an app, and it's just not working as it should. You're annoyed, and sad, and you want a refund, but Apple doesn't give refunds, right? And it wasn't like the app was that expensive.

Actually, it is possible to get a refund from the App Store, and it's not that difficult, either, provided you have a good reason. There's no reason to not ask for a refund if you have a legitimate situation! Here's your one-stop tutorial to how to get a refund from the App Store.

Why Do You Need a Refund?
"I don't like it" or "I changed my mind" do not work. However, the following reasons are perfectly fine:

  • The app is broken: it doesn't function as promised

  • The app has a bug that prevents it from functioning; the developer has stopped providing support

  • The app has lost one of its former features.

  • You didn't mean to buy it; you bought the wrong version or used the wrong account; your kids jacked your computer; etc. This one is iffy but usually valid, and works best if you ask for a refund ASAP.

This list is by no means exhaustive. In general, having a good reason is just common sense. Remember, though, clear, calm explanations are always best for garnering sympathy. Also, Apple doesn't have to give you a refund; their terms of service state that all sales are final. Be polite.

Getting that Refund
So you think you have a legitimate reason for wanting a refund? First, you have to contact Apple. There are two ways to do this; the first way is probably the most effective, but use #2 if you don't have iTunes installed on your computer.

1. Use the Purchase History pane in iTunes.
Go to the iTunes store, then view your account and click on "Purchase History." Find the application in question, click on "Report a Problem," and fill out the form. Remember to be calm, and explain everything as clearly as possible.

Apple has a help page with clear pictures of the above steps here.

2. Contact Apple via the Web.
Go to this page, pick your country, and then find the issue that is most closely related to your needs...I'd recommend iTunes Account and Billing / Billing or App Store / Troubleshooting Applications. It's somewhat murky, since there isn't any specific "I want a refund" category. (Officially, remember, there are no refunds.) Then go through the process, guided by Apple.

After contacting Apple, wait—for a couple days at the most. (Apple tries to respond to most inquiries within 48 hours.)

Apple may ask you to contact the developer for assistance, particularly if your issue involves a bug; if so, email the developer once or twice. If you can't resolve the issue with the developer, email Apple back stating that you contacted the developer but would still like a refund. Also include the purchase order number for the application in question.

If all goes well and Apple is satisfied with your reasoning, Apple should reply that you have received your refund! Yes, in most cases, it's that simple...just a few emails will do the trick. Refunds are typically applied in the manner in which you paid (a credit to your PayPal account, iTunes store credit, a refund to your credit card, etc).

Do you have any stories to tell about Apple's refund process and the App Store? Let us know in the comments box below!