Taipei to appeal Google apps refund case
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taipei City Government plans to appeal a court ruling which revoked a fine levied on Google Inc. in a dispute over the U.S. Internet giant's restrictions on the rights of consumers' trying its mobile phone apps after purchasing.
January 5, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
The Consumers Foundation (CF) said it fully backs the city government's plan to continue the court battle against Google.
The city government slapped Google with a fine of NT$1 million (US$34,000) in 2011 for its refusal to comply with Taiwan's consumer protection regulations that grant customers a seven-day free trial period on its mobile phone apps.
The decision was upheld when Google appealed to the Ministry of Economic Affairs last year.
The Taipei High Administrative Court ruled last week to revoke the fine imposed by the municipal government, saying that the city government should not interfere in a dispute between a company and consumers. “We do not wish to see Google exit the Taiwan market but we urge Google to respect and protect consumers' rights. We will appeal the court ruling,” said an official at the government's consumer protection division.
The capital city's government said in 2011 that both Google and Apple had violated the nation's consumer protection rules that allow consumers a seven-day “appreciation period” after purchasing any consumer products so that they can have a free trial before making a final decision on whether to buy the products.
It also ordered both U.S. companies to amend their trading practices in accordance with the nation's laws.
Apple later complied with the law and changed its policy.
But Google refused to amend its policy by insisting on allowing refunds for consumers purchasing its Android software products online if they decide not to buy the products within 15 minutes.
Boycotting Taiwan's consumer protection law and the city government's penalty, the American company has also suspended the sale of its paid apps in Taiwan since the eruption of the dispute.
The CF, an independent and nonprofit organization safeguarding consumers' rights, said that no enterprises should violate the nation's regulations and there should be no difference between purchases of high-tech products and other consumer goods.
Many people using Google's Android apps in Taiwan urged the city government not to appeal the court ruling because their rights to Google products are eclipsed by the U.S. company's boycotting the move.
But many consumers back Taipei's action against Google because the 15-minute period for product appreciation and evaluation is too short and harms potential buyers' rights.