I detailed at the weekend the story of my wife and her dismal RIM experience at their BlackBerry App Store. This, if you recall, is when RIM hides behinds its Terms'n'Conditions refusing to refund for faulty goods, fostering a community of money laundering for developers who can ship faulty/buggy software with no chance of refund.
The premise I am sure is simply "but its only a few pounds, its not worth the hassle". Sadly they picked the wrong person to try and hide from - Ceri is a champion when it comes to dealing with corporations that hide behind their silly rules flouting both UK and European consumer law. Incidentally, you should never buy the extra warranty insurance the likes of Currys and Comet offer as they are already covered under law, which Ceri has successfully proved this a number of times.
So it begins.
Ceri has spoken to PayPal first of all, and they have assured her that while there is nothing they can do at the moment, they are updating their Terms'n'Conditions to cover Digital Goods and therefore be able to offer refunds for the end consumer in the event of buggy or faulty software. This has not yet occurred, and will not cover any historical purchases.
So a win there. Attention turns to RIM, the company at the top of the laundering racket. Ceri has sought advice and spoken to various people and RIM are not adhering to a number of UK and European Acts that fall well within their remit. She has sent them the first official postal letter offering them the opportunity to make amends. Any emails to RIM all bounce back with an automated reply.
The App Store is no different from any other store, physical or otherwise. There is no special loop hole for them and while they may hide behind unanswered mailbox's and unforceable Terms'n'Conditions, they have to play with the same rules everyone else has.
We heard from one developer, that RIM actually makes it very difficult for the developer in question to offer refunds. So it sounds like their whole App Store eco-system is flawed. Although in this instance, the original developer has not made any attempt to get incontact or respond, so he's quite happy to play the system it appears, and take our money and run.
If you have been digitally robbed, purchasing a buggy App Store application, then please get in contact (firstname.lastname@example.org). We've already heard from some that have suffered the same fate. How many more is there?
RIM has an opportunity to make good here and put faith back to the consumer. We'll see.