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Google Android Market refund policy "unfair" for devs

Android dev offers direct downloads in response to Google policies; predicts others will follow

Russian mobile games publisher HeroCraft is to offer its games to consumers directly from its WAP site, bypassing Google's Android Market, which it says follows a refund procedure that is unfair to developers.

If a customer purchases an Android Market app worth less than GBP 7 on their credit card and then queries the charge on their bill, Google will refund the money and charge the publisher a fixed GBP 5 without question or further investigation, HeroCraft's UK development manager Matt Meads told Pocketgamer.biz.

"Whilst I understand Google's position with not wanting to deal with disputes over relatively low-cost products, I think their policy is grossly unfair in charging us, the developer, a GBP 5 fee as well as automatically refunding the product," said Meads.

"To do so suggests the blame is attached to the developer when surely a customer not recognising a transaction from the Android Marketplace on their credit card bill is a failing on the part of Google's buying process and environment."

Meads predicted the rule would prompt many Android developers to follow HeroCraft's lead in 2010 in offering games via their own sites - a means of distribution which, unlike Apple, is permitted by Google.

HeroCraft confirmed it would continue to support the Android Market but that its games would be made available at a lower price - factoring in the savings made to the company by omitting Google from the payment loop - from its WAP site.

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