The iTunes Apps Store policy states that all sales are final but did you know that if you have a genuine and valid reason, Apple will gladly issue a refund. If you are wondering why would anyone want refunds for apps and games purchased from the iTunes store, consider the following situations:

  • You ordered an HD movie from the iTunes store but after making the purchase, you realize that it would take several hours to download that massive file to your computer. You can stop the download but your credit card will still be charged.
  • You have an iPhone but you accidentally bought an iPad version of some app which is obviously of no use to you. You can ask Apple for a refund.
  • You wanted to buy a game but there were at least a dozen similar titles on the iTunes store (remember Flappy Birds?). The app you finally bought is not the one you were originally looking for and you therefore want to return it to Apple.
  • You purchased a song from the iTunes store but there’s some problem with the audio format and it won’t play on your iPod or iPhone. You would like a refund in this case as well.
  • You have two or more iTunes accounts and you purchased an iPhone App using the wrong iTunes account. You can’t transfer apps across accounts so a refund followed by re-purchase makes more sense.
  • The 1-Click ordering system, that Apple licensed from Amazon, makes it easy for anyone to buy apps, songs, movies and games from the iTunes store with a single click but this can sometimes lead to accidental purchases especially when kids have access to your devices. They may make in-app purchases without your knowledge.

These are just some of the legitimate reasons why   people may want to return their iTunes store purchases and request refunds from Apple.

Also see: Prevent Kids from Buying Games & Apps

Return your iTunes Store Purchases to Apple

The iTunes App store sales policy clearly says that you cannot cancel a purchase or receive a refund for a purchase but they are known to make exceptions if you have a valid reason.

For instance, I recently purchased the $2.99 Reeder app from the iTunes store but only after installing it on my iPad did I realize that it was an iPhone-only app and not designed for the iPad. I requested a refund from Apple and how they reversed the charges in less than 4 hours.

Here’s how you can return apps to the iTunes Store and request a refund:

iTunes Store Receipt

Step 1: Locate the email receipt for your iTunes Store purchase and click the “Report Problem” link next to the app (or game or movie or song) that you would like to return.

If you have deleted the email invoice that Apple sent you after you completed the purchase, launch the iTunes program using this special link itms://phobos.apple.com/purchaseHistory and you’ll see a list of all items that you’ve bought from the iTunes store. Open an order by clicking the “Report a problem” next to the app name.

Alternatively, if you do not have iTunes on your computer, go to reportaproblem.apple.com to submit a refund request to Apple from your web browser.

iTunes Store Refunds

Step 2: Sign-in with your Apple ID and then choose an option from the drop-down menu that best describes your problem. If you have purchased an app accidentally, choose “I didn’t mean to purchase this item.” If the kids have made an in-app purchase, choose “I didn’t authorize this purchase.” If you aren’t happy with the app, choose “Item opens but doesn’t function as expected.”

You can expect a response from Apple in the next 24-48 hours. If Apple support is satisfied with your reasoning, they’ll  reverse the charges. Please remember that you are not entitled to a refund under the iTunes Store Sales policy so if they deny your request for a refund, move on!

Update: Apple now issues refunds for app purchases immediately without involving the support team. When you submit an issue with an app using the above form, it will offer you a “Refund” option. Click that and you’ll get an email notification from Apple saying you’ve been issued a refund.