Fight­ing back


Whether you’re a cus­tomer or a de­vel­oper, there are things you can do when one of the App Store fak­ers has hood­winked you into buy­ing some­thing that wasn’t what it seemed, or which is di­rectly at­tack­ing your liveli­hood with the self­same apps or games.

From the con­sumer side of things, leg­is­la­tion is now pretty strong in the EU, and that means any­one now has the right to re­quest a re­fund on any dig­i­tal pur­chase made. This in­cludes not only the App Store, but also the likes of Google Play and the Ama­zon App­store if you buy some­thing for An­droid that you en­joyed on iOS and rapidly dis­cover it is in fact a fake. (This prob­lem, while an is­sue on the App Store, is sig­nif­i­cantly worse on Google Play.)

For iOS fakes, all you need to do within 14 days of re­ceiv­ing your re­ceipt is sign in with your Ap­ple ID at re­por­taprob­lem.ap­, find the app in ques­tion, click the rel­e­vant Re­port a Prob­lem but­ton, choose the most rel­e­vant prob­lem from the menu, and then po­litely re­quest a re­fund in the text field, along with not­ing that the app or game was a fake. (Peo­ple out­side of the EU can use the same link, even if they may not have the same level of con­sumer pro­tec­tion.)

For a de­vel­oper who dis­cov­ers an App Store prod­uct they be­lieve vi­o­lates their in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, the road can be some­what longer, but the first step is to visit ap­­ter­net-ser­vices/ itunes/app­storeno­tices/ and fill in the forms to sub­mit a claim to the App Store Legal Team. On iden­ti­fy­ing the in­fring­ing app and de­scrib­ing the prob­lem, Ap­ple will then re­spond with a ref­er­ence num­ber and put you in con­tact with the provider of the dis­puted app. In some cases, this should be enough to scare off a scam­mer. You then fol­low up with the App Store Legal Team by email with your ref­er­ence num­ber in the sub­ject line. As noted al­ready, de­vel­op­ers say that this process can be long-winded and prob­lem­atic, but it’s nonethe­less worth pur­su­ing if you have the time and in­cli­na­tion.

De­vel­op­ers can make Ap­ple aware of knock-off apps, but the process can take months to come to a res­o­lu­tion.

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