Editor's Note: Here is an interesting story written by our veteran iOS game reviewer on his own experience of getting a refund for an accidental in-app purchase.
Looking For A Refund For An In-App Purchase? Good Luck...
By Thomas Slayton
Have you ever accidentally purchased something on the App Store? Securing a refund is a relatively painless process that begins by clicking on a link within the email receipt that Apple sends you a few days later. Unfortunately, I recently found that getting a refund for an inadvertent in-app purchase is a much murkier process; in fact, I can safely say that there is no process at all. You see, if you click the "Report A Problem" link for an in-app purchase in Apple's email receipt you will quickly find yourself down the rabbit-hole and more likely to finally learn how a raven is like a writing desk than receive your $5 back.
I had just such an experience with Chillingo/Clickgamer's Spice Bandits. After clicking the link, I was unceremoniously dumped without explanation on the front door step of Chillingo's web site. After a bit of Googling, I learned that this was Apple's way of telling you that they can't/won't help you with in-app purchases, and that you will have to slug it out with publisher. Undaunted, I navigated my way to Chillingo's support page, and intrepidly completed the web form, careful to include all necessary information in the hopes that I would be able to avoid an efficient and quick dismissal. I was to be disappointed...
Thank you for contacting us.
As the product was purchased through iTunes you will need to contact Apple directly and go through their customer support-site in order to cancel the purchase or receive a refund for the application.
Understandably dismayed that Chillingo Customer Support was unfamiliar with Apple's policy on in-app purchases, I forged on with three more emails until I finally received a response eight days later. Unfortunately, it consisted entirely of referring me to a non-functional email address. I quickly pointed out this oversight, and was rewarded with a second non-functional email address, quickly followed by another for somebody named "David." Happily, the last one was not summarily returned to me via delivery failure. Unfortunately, the end result was the same, because David never responded to any of my emails, which led me back to an increasingly irritable Jan, who informed me that she was out of the office and would assist me when she returned. Six days later, I was cc'd on an email from her to a 4th recipient, who also never responded to any of my emails. Ultimately, even Jan stopped answering my emails.
What is especially disturbing about this is the fact that I spent nearly a month communicating with Chillingo/Clickgamer and never made contact with anybody who could even discuss the issue with me. I believe I could have lived with a "no" or even a "HELL NO", but I never even received that small courtesy.