In Amazon's Android Appstore, Fat-Fingering Will Cost You — Literally

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A couple days ago, in writing up some thoughts on Amazon’s new Android Appstore, I noted that the app buying process may be a little too easy. You see, just scrolling through the feed of apps, I accidentally clicked a buy button. That immediately triggered a transaction. And guess what I found out today? There are no refunds.

You might not think this is a big deal because while the Android Market gives you 15 minutes to get a refund (down from 24 hours) Apple’s App Store also technically doesn’t have an app refund process (though you can get one if you jump through some hoops). But there’s a big-little difference between the App Store and the Appstore (besides the tiny name difference, that is): an entire click.

In the App Store, it’s actually two clicks to buy an app. You first click click on the price, and then the button turns into the bright green “Buy Now” button. It’s only after this second click that the transaction happens. This more or less stops mis-clicks. Further, if you haven’t been browsing the store in a while, they’ll prompt you to re-enter your password before you complete a purchase.

In the Appstore (again, Amazon’s version), it is literally one click. If you touch the screen in the wrong place — whoops — you just bought an app. Of course, this is assuming you have one-click purchasing turned on. But if you do on the web, you will in the Appstore. That’s what happened to me. It’s super-convenient when it works. And super-annoying when you make a mistake.

On Amazon’s website, one-click is great because it greatly speeds up the buying process. But since most of the things you buy on the website are tangible things that have to be shipped, it’s relatively easy to cancel a mis-click. Not so in the Appstore where there is nothing to ship.

And it wouldn’t be a huge deal except for the fact that Amazon isn’t offering app refunds. How do I know? Because after some digging on Amazon’s website to figure out how to possibly get a refund, I had to send an email about my erroneous charge. (For the record, they did erase my charge, but indicated that they were making a one-time exception in doing so.)

Long story short, if you’re prone to mis-clicking on touchscreen, make sure one-click purchases are turned off on Amazon. Otherwise it will cost you — literally.