Google removes paid Android apps from Taiwan

Google has withdrawn all paid apps from sale in the region, after Taiwanese regulators fined the web giant NT$1m for not allowing customers a long enough evaluation period

Google has been fined for selling apps in the Android Market in Taiwan without offering a seven-day refund period, as local regulations dictate, and has responded by halting sales of apps in the country.

Android Market

Google has halted sales of apps in Taiwan after a spat with authorities over customer refund rules. Screenshot: Bonnie Cha/CNET News

According to a statement from the Law and Regulation commission of Taipei City Government, the Californian company was fined NT$1m (£21,681) for failing to comply with Taiwan's consumer protection law. The law states that consumers should be given seven days to evaluate purchases and decide whether to request a refund. Google currently gives Android owners just 15 minutes to evaluate apps and request a refund.

"Taipei City Government cannot tolerate such blunt violation of law — which uses unfavourable standard contract terms to transfer consumers' right of demanding a refund to Google's mercy," Ching-Yuan Yeh, chairman of the Law and Regulation commission, said in the statement on Monday.

As a result of the regulatory battle, Google removed the option of purchasing paid apps from the Market; a move that Yeh said was exploitative of Taiwanese consumers.

"Google's decision to suspend its sale of paid apps to Taiwanese consumers is like using [them] as a shield to demand the privilege of not complying with Taiwanese law," Yeh said.

Google has until Friday to comply with the regulations or face another fine, a Taipei City Government spokesperson added.

Google had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

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