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Google Sued Over Defective Android Apps

By - Source: PC Magazing | B 31 comments

They're still trying to figure out which circle to place it in.

Google may have escaped the class action privacy lawsuit currently waged against its competitors in west Texas, but like Apple, its is facing allegations that operations on its app store are decidedly not on the up and up. A class action suit filed in California by residents Dodd J. Harris and Stephen Sabatino accuses Google of "unfair and deceptive business practices", which include, as the filing states, a failure to maintain "quality control, safety parameters or regulation concerning the sale of Applications".

In January 2012, Sabatino purchased a BitTorrent client called aBTC. However, after nearly an hour he discovered he couldn't download torrents using the application. Meanwhile, Harris purchased "Learn Chinese Mandarin Pro" in December, 2011. Within 20 minutes, he discovered the app didn't function as promised. Unfortunately, Google's refund policy, perhaps aptly described as "almost impossible" in the complaint, allows users only a 15 minute window from the moment of purchase in order to return the app. 

The suit also notes Google's policy of allowing any app to be sold on Google Play with minimal oversight. That policy was designed to encourage openness, but it predictably led to a high amount of Malware. In response, Google added a security layer called Bouncer, which scans apps for evidence of malicious intent. However, Google does not actually test all apps, a policy the lawsuit contrasts unfavorably to both Apple and Amazon. The suit names all California residents who purchased apps which did not function as advertised from the Google Play store. The full complaint can be viewed here.

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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    reprotected , March 20, 2012 8:25 AM
    Can I sue Google for incompatible apps for my phone? My Galaxy S2 has the model number I9100M, and just because of this one M in here (Bell Canada Galaxy S2), I am cursed of not being able to purchase a few games that were meant to be compatible with the original S2.
  • 10 Hide
    awood28211 , March 20, 2012 9:54 AM
    A 15 minute return policy is a little short... I mean how can one fully eval an app in 15 minutes? I know they shortened it to this to keep casual gamers from purchasing and returning without having to pay but in reality it makes no sense to force buyers to purchase from only descriptions, screenshots and reviews and then to find the app doesn't work on a device or is not as advertised and then not have any recourse after only 15 minutes is just silly. I play the official Scrabble app on my phone frequently... and fortunately it's free but it has so many issues that if I had to pay for it I would be VERY disgruntled. Frequent crashes, VERY slow, frequent error messages... and a high probability your opponent is cheating... 15 minutes would have been barely enough time to even start a game let alone determine that the app itself is that unreliable... I love my android but they do need some better safeguards for the consumer in the app store.
Other Comments
  • -4 Hide
    amdfreak , March 20, 2012 8:13 AM
    unbelievable
  • 12 Hide
    reprotected , March 20, 2012 8:25 AM
    Can I sue Google for incompatible apps for my phone? My Galaxy S2 has the model number I9100M, and just because of this one M in here (Bell Canada Galaxy S2), I am cursed of not being able to purchase a few games that were meant to be compatible with the original S2.
  • 6 Hide
    joytech22 , March 20, 2012 8:41 AM
    Ehh I've had many apps like that. I just wait for them to support my phone or tablet.
    Still, it would be nice to have some moderation on the market.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , March 20, 2012 8:43 AM
    Really? You get a guaranteed full refund if you request for it within 15 minutes of purchasing an app but because it took him 20 minutes to realize the app is bad, he's suing?
  • 10 Hide
    awood28211 , March 20, 2012 9:54 AM
    A 15 minute return policy is a little short... I mean how can one fully eval an app in 15 minutes? I know they shortened it to this to keep casual gamers from purchasing and returning without having to pay but in reality it makes no sense to force buyers to purchase from only descriptions, screenshots and reviews and then to find the app doesn't work on a device or is not as advertised and then not have any recourse after only 15 minutes is just silly. I play the official Scrabble app on my phone frequently... and fortunately it's free but it has so many issues that if I had to pay for it I would be VERY disgruntled. Frequent crashes, VERY slow, frequent error messages... and a high probability your opponent is cheating... 15 minutes would have been barely enough time to even start a game let alone determine that the app itself is that unreliable... I love my android but they do need some better safeguards for the consumer in the app store.
  • -9 Hide
    kooldj , March 20, 2012 10:48 AM
    bring it on bitches, ur tiny arguments will only make em stronger
  • 4 Hide
    Dantte , March 20, 2012 11:40 AM
    Let me summarize this article: "Its not my responsibility to know what I'm downloading, so I'm going to sue you for my incompetence!"
  • 2 Hide
    willard , March 20, 2012 12:18 PM
    So I'm not the only one who thinks all the BitTorrent clients on Android are garbage? Tried them all, most failed to work at all, the ones that did work failed to use even 1% of my available bandwidth.
  • 5 Hide
    tsnorquist , March 20, 2012 12:26 PM
    Wish i could sue google to get Youtube working on my Atrix ... darn thing locks up whenever it feels like it. Have to pull the whole phone apart (Otter Box case) and pop the battery out to fix it =*( **
  • 1 Hide
    supall , March 20, 2012 12:45 PM
    I'm assuming they don't read reviews?
  • 1 Hide
    cknobman , March 20, 2012 12:55 PM
    Honestly the return window is too short. Then you get developers that are not honest about compatibility in their app descriptions and you dont really know until you buy and install if the app will work.

    This is mostly a platform issue and Googles fault. By being so open and not restricting device manufacturers, carriers, or developers the entire platform is terribly fragmented making a nightmare for users and developers.

    I have had 2 years with Android and while I like some things about it I feel the thing requires too much babysitting.

    My next phone will be a Windows phone.
  • 0 Hide
    supall , March 20, 2012 12:59 PM
    cknobmanHonestly the return window is too short. Then you get developers that are not honest about compatibility in their app descriptions and you dont really know until you buy and install if the app will work.This is mostly a platform issue and Googles fault. By being so open and not restricting device manufacturers, carriers, or developers the entire platform is terribly fragmented making a nightmare for users and developers.I have had 2 years with Android and while I like some things about it I feel the thing requires too much babysitting. My next phone will be a Windows phone.


    So let me get this straight. If software doesn't work on your Windows desktop OS due to hardware differences, it isn't the software developer's fault, its Microsoft's? So Microsoft must now go through each software developed for their OS and make sure it runs on every possible hardware combination?

    There is already a precedence that puts Google in the clear of this one. If the issue is getting a refund, why not try to contact the developer's directly? Most developer's are more than willing to refund a product that does not work on their device.
  • -4 Hide
    halcyon , March 20, 2012 1:05 PM
    First fraud with The Apple app store and now this. Neither are a surprise but both issues absolutely stink. Get it together!
  • 0 Hide
    qhoa1385 , March 20, 2012 1:27 PM
    I'm gonna sue the world for those idiot people
  • 5 Hide
    smleth , March 20, 2012 1:41 PM
    I bought a program from BestBuy for my PC and it didn't work as advertised, so I am going to sue BestBuy cause they didn't test it on my computer first...

    What BS...
  • 1 Hide
    halcyon , March 20, 2012 1:47 PM
    smlethI bought a program from BestBuy for my PC and it didn't work as advertised, so I am going to sue BestBuy cause they didn't test it on my computer first...What BS...

    Hey, some US judge would award you a few million too...so don't scoff at it.
  • 7 Hide
    jungleboogiemonster , March 20, 2012 2:00 PM
    So, if I purchase an app that does nothing more than steals my information and fails to function as advertised I can't get a refund? I want to be an app developer!
  • 3 Hide
    v1ze , March 20, 2012 2:33 PM
    my favorite bug is when I receive a call while I'm on a call, I can switch between them just fine but if I end either call it hangs up on both calls!
  • 2 Hide
    eddieroolz , March 20, 2012 2:41 PM
    The 15minute evaluation period is definitely a little ridiculous.
  • 3 Hide
    halcyon , March 20, 2012 2:51 PM
    eddieroolzThe 15minute evaluation period is definitely a little ridiculous.

    Well, it's more than apple offers so I've always been thankful.
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