Apple might refund accidental app purchases ... once

If you've had an iPhone or iPad long enough, odds are you have accidentally purchased an app. A click, click here or a tap, tap there and you've just spent $10 you hadn't planned on. Unlike the Google Android Marketplace, which has a 24-hour return period, Apple doesn't have an official policy on App store returns -- but if you ask nicely you may be able to get your money back on your first mistake, anyway.

I found this out after I purchased what I thought was Madden 2011 HD for the iPad. It turned out that the link I followed, from a Madden 2011 HD Review, actually led to the cheaper iPhone version. I didn't realize my mistake until the game started up as a smaller and less graphically defined version in the center of my iPad. If you are searching the iTunes store you can easily see which apps are for the iPad and which are for the iPhone but because I followed a link and saw that the version of Madden 11 I wanted to purchase was compatible with the iPad, as shown below, I purchased the wrong version.

Like any cheap gamer, I didn't want to settle for the wrong version so I e-mailed Apple and, much to my surprise, they offered to refund the purchase price of the game. The customer support representative was quick to point out in his final e-mail that this isn't standard practice, writing, "Please note that this is a one-time exception, as the iTunes Store Terms and Conditions state that all sales are final."

If you make a similar mistake and need to ask Apple for a refund, you should first visit the iTunes Support pages and send it an e-mail using the App Store and iBooks support e-mail form. Fill in your information and under "Specific request" choose, "I inadvertently purchased this application." Be sure to fill in the order number, as the rep will need this to look up the details if your transaction just took place. You can find your iTunes purchase history by following these instructions.

In your e-mail remember to be polite and honest about the mistake. While Apple was able to refund me for an accidental purchase, the store terms didn't require the company to. The following script is a good one to follow.
Hello, I accidentally purchased [App Name]. I thought I was downloading the iPad version but followed a link to the iPhone version instead. Can you please help me fix this? The 2x mode looks awful compared to the version made for the iPad.

Thanks for helping me get a refund for this purchase,

[Your Name]
It also helps to e-mail Apple as soon as possible after the accidental purchase since you may be less likely to receive a refund three weeks after making a purchase than if you e-mailed the same day.
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