When the Android Market changed its return policy from a generous 24 hours to a paltry 15 minutes way back in 2010, there was no shortage of complaints. But it appears that two users went a step beyond and actually sued Google for the policy, in addition to generally misleading claims about the quality and working order of apps. The suit comes from Dodd J. Harris and Stephen Sabatin of California, who were unsatisfied with a Mandarin instruction app and Bit Torrent client, respectively.
The pair aren’t the only ones to be dissatisfied with the 15-minute grace period. Complex games in particular (which are often the most expensive) often require downloads of 100 megabytes or more, which are nearly impossible to download and install in the allotted time when using a 3G connection. Some developers have responded by marking their games WiFi-only in the Google Play Store (formerly the Android Market) but even then a less than optimal connection can create the same problem.
Google has a hard time balancing the needs of app developers and users. For example, most Android games can be played and completed in far less than a day, making the full 24-hour period something of an honor system. Google claims that changed the policy because “most users return an app within 15 minutes”. Recent changes to the Play Store have allowed developers to host apps up to 4GB, which should at least ease the burden on servers, bu that doesn’t really solve the time problem.
Harris and Sabatin are seeking class-action damages as well as attorney’s fees. Google has yet to comment on the suit.