Monday, April 28, 2014

Buy, Read and Then Return Your German eBook?

When we look at the Amazon dashboard we are often confused as why, or how, there can be the odd one ebook return. After all you can see everything you need on the screen, make your mind up and even sample the content before you buy, so why is there a refund. The official Amazon policy on returned eBooks is: 'Books you purchase from the Kindle Store are eligible for return and refund if we receive your request within 7 days of the date of purchase. Once a refund is issued, you will no longer have access to the book. To request a refund and return, visit the Manage Your Kindle page. Click the Actions tab for the title you'd like to return, and select "Return for refund"'

Some would suggest it reflects Amazon’s customer-friendly return policy and others that it’s easier for them to do than other services where the horse has literally bolted out the stable door and isn’t coming back. Some go as far as to suggest that it's like going into a restaurant, buying your meal, eating it and then getting your money back.

Barnes and Noble state that 'Once purchased, eBooks cannot be refunded.' and this also is the policy of Sony who state 'Please confirm all purchases before you complete them as all sales are final. There are no refunds for digital content.' Kobo Books doesn't provide information on their refund policy and consider all sales are final and once the services commences, customers cannot cancel the contract or payment. The iTunes Store Terms of Sale, also state that all purchases made on the iTunes Store are final. This policy matches Apple’s refund policies and provides protection for copyrighted materials.

However, we now read in eBook bout a change to German consumer law that potentially gives everyone a no quibble return window of up to 14 days on digital products. These new regulations come into effect in June this year and will require online retailers to offer refunds for ebooks and other digital downloads under an extended “right of withdrawal”.

So you buy the ebook, quickly read it, then return it within 14 days and you get your money back. The question is how will retailers stop abuse especially with respect to services which don’t synchronise activity post download?

Retailers will have the option of trying to get consumers to waive their right to a refund and no doubt the small print may be about to get even longer and smaller.

We had to look twice to ensure it wasn’t April 1st, or a spoof by the German equivalent to The Onion, but it appeared not, so someone in the German legislature must be just having a laugh.

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