[governance] FW: TP: city government exercising policy on Google Applications / consumer rights / Consumer Protection Act / trial period

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Mon Jul 4 18:18:20 EDT 2011

I'm not sure if there is a direct IG issue here (?) but this will
potentially influence the overall policy/regulatory environment and
attitudes toward international governance regimes I would have thought.

If Internet delivered context of this kind is subject to domestic
(municipal?) consumer protection laws then what about for example, Canada's
laws concerning the requirement for bilingual packaging and so on?


-----Original Message-----
From: David Sadoway [mailto:bigbluearth at gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, July 02, 2011 9:40 PM
To: michael gurstein
Subject: Fwd: TP: city government exercising policy on Google Applications /
consumer rights / Consumer Protection Act / trial period

BTW this story in quite interesting in that the City Government (Taipei
City) was recently being quite proactive on this e-governance matter.


Google pulls paid apps from Taiwan after being fined

REFUND::The US search giant, which was fined for not providing seven days
of free trial, said it was discussing the issue with Taipei City officials

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Tue, Jun 28, 2011 - Page 1

Taiwanese users of Google Inc’s Android Market were left in the dark
yesterday as the search engine giant removed the paid app section from its
online store.

The removal of the paid app section came after the Taipei City Government
slapped Google with a NT$1 million (US$345,500) fine for failing to offer
Taiwanese consumers a seven-day free-trial mechanism as mandated by law.

“We are suspending paid apps in Taiwan while we continue to discuss this
issue with the Taipei City Government,” Google Taiwan said in a statement


“Android Market already provides a 15-minute refund window for all paid
apps - which reflects the fact that apps are delivered over-the-air
instantly and most users who request a refund [could] do so within minutes
of their purchase,” the company said in the statement.

This policy helps consumers make educated decisions about the apps they buy,
while enabling Taiwanese developers to manage their businesses effectively,
the statement read.

The escalation in the row came after negotiation between Google -
represented by a lawyer and teleconferencers from its US headquarters - and
the city broke down yesterday morning.


The city government said the suspension was a move to “coerce Taiwanese
consumers into giving up their rights” and it demanded Google submit an
“improvisation plan” by Friday.

The Mountain View, California-based company will be sending officials to
Taipei on Thursday to continue talks with the city government, while city
authorities said a second penalty might be imposed depending on the stance
taken by the search engine giant.

On Friday, the city government issued Google an ultimatum mandating that it
introduce a seven-day free-trial mechanism for its Android Market.

Yeh Ching-yuan (葉慶元), director of the city’s Law and Regulation
Commission, then said a fine would be levied if the firm still refused to
abide by the Consumer Protection Act (消保法).

Users of Apple Inc’s iPhones or Android-equipped smartphones can purchase
and download application software through Apple’s App Store or the Android
Market respectively, but neither company offers an extensive free-trial
mechanism that allows customers to return the programs or be refunded if
they are dissatisfied or if the goods prove to be faulty.

On June 4, the city government gave both companies a 15-day grace period to
revise their app sales and service provisions to include a seven-day
free-trial mechanism.

While Apple complied with the request, Google did not.


The Consumer Protection Act requires a free-trial period of at least seven
days for items purchased over the Web because consumers cannot feel or touch
the goods before purchase.

Previously, Web sites have said they were not covered by the law, but last
year the government said an agreement was reached with Web site operators
such as PChome Online (網路家庭) and -Yahoo-Kimo Inc (雅虎奇摩) that would
see them adhere to the free-trial provision.


However, “app stores” were not included in last year’s deal.

Yeh said this is because purchasing apps for mobile devices is a trend that
has only recently emerged in Taiwan.

The terms of service for the App Store and Android Market both state that
the two companies are not liable for apps developed by third parties.

HTC Corp (宏達電), the world’s No. 5 smartphone brand, yesterday said it
did not expect the row to have “much impact” on the sales of its handsets
because users could download free-trial versions of some apps, before
finally making a purchase decision.

HTC is the world’s largest producer of smartphones running on both Android
and Windows operating systems and its first tablet PC - dubbed the HTC Flyer
- as well as recent releases of smartphones all run on versions of Android.

Published on Taipei  <http://www.taipeitimes.com/> Times :

Copyright (c) 1999-2011 The Taipei Times <http://www.taipeitimes.com/> . All
rights reserved.

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