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December 24, 2016

How refunds work on Google Play

by John_A


We all have purchases we regret.

We buy apps that aren’t as great as we hoped. We buy books and movies we don’t like. Our kids buy things we didn’t want them to. Co-workers get into your phone while you’re in the bathroom and buy dirty movies. Things happen, and if you need a refund on Google Play, there are ways to get one.

But as always, there are caveats and hoops to jump through.

  • Refunding unauthorized purchases
  • App refunds
  • Google Play Movies & TV refunds
  • Requesting a refund through the Google Play website
  • Google Play Music refunds
  • Google Play Books refunds
  • Google Play Newsstand refunds

Refunding unauthorized purchases


If your kid got into your phone and bought ALL THE THINGS, you can request a refund here. You can only request refunds for items within 65 days of purchase, but if it takes more than two months to notice the mistake, that’s on you.

We’d also like to remind you that you can set Google Play to require a password for every purchase for this very reason. Go to Google Play, then Settings, and look for Require authentication for purchases.

App refunds

App refunds fall into a few different categories depending on the type of purchase and how long it’s been since you bought it. If you buy an app and decide you don’t want it, try and get a refund as soon as possible, as you options dwindle the longer you wait.

App refunds under 2 hours


If you made a paid app purchase in Google Play, you can return to the app’s Google Play listing and tap Refund. The app will be uninstalled and your money refunded automatically.

You can only be refunded for an app once, so if you buy it, refund it, and buy it again, you’re not going to get a refund if you get buyer’s remorse again.

In-app purchases and app purchases under 48 hours

All in-app purchases you wish to refund have be requested through Google’s online form, no matter how short a time it’s been. Someone from Google will call or email to follow up with the request and either approve or deny it. If it’s been more than two hours after you purchase a paid app, you’ll need to use this form, too.

If you need to refund more than one purchase, Google asks that you request a call from a Google Play Apps & Games specialist so that you two can get through them in a more expedient manner. Also keep in mind that the developer might remove progress and items from your app once the refund is processed.

After 48 hours

If you’re still having misgivings after 48 hours, your refund doesn’t go through Google Play, it goes through the developer itself. You can find the developer’s email at the bottom of the details page in the app’s listing.

Scroll to the bottom of the app’s listing in Google Play.
Tap Send email.

Select which email app you want to send the email through.


Compose your refund email. Try to be polite, concise, and honest with when you bought the app and why you don’t want it.

Send your email.


The developer should get back to you approving or denying the request. Sadly, emails to developers can often be ignored, especially if you bought an app from an inactive developer — another reason it’s important to see how frequently an app you want to buy has been updated.

Google Play Movies & TV

Did your daughter buy Frozen on your phone while you were stuck in the car on a road trip? Well, you’re going to have to wait until you can sit down at a laptop or desktop to refund it, as Google Play apps can’t process movie & TV refunds, only the website can. There are also a few conditions that have to be met in order to ask for a refund:

  • Did you open the video? Once a movie has been watched, even in part, your chance of getting a refund is slim to none.
  • Has it been more than a week? Unless you live in a few select countries in Europe you need to make the refund request within a week of purchase.
  • Does the video not work? Does the audio go out on it for some odd reason? Does the video cut out before the ending? Does the video straight-up not play no matter what you do? Defective videos get refunds in most cases.

Requesting a refund through the Google Play website

On the Google Play website home page, click Account.


Under Order History, click the three-dot menu button on the right side of the order you want to refund and select Report a problem.


Click on the reason for your request.


Compose the report with your problems and state that you would like a refund and click Send.


Google Play will email you with a response approving or denying the request. Movie & TV returns are somewhat rare because once you open the video, it’s usually yours forever.

Google Play Music

Google Play Music refunds are also a bit tricky because you can’t have downloaded or streamed the songs you purchased (unless they don’t work). You also only have 7 days to request a refund through the Google Play Website.

Google Play Books

Google Play Books refunds are actually a little more lax than their audio-visual brethren. You have 7 days to refund a book after you buy it to request a refund through the Google Play Website.

Google Play Newsstand

Subscriptions refunded within the first 7 days of that month can usually be refunded for that month, but single-issue magazine purchases aren’t refundable at all unless you are unable to access the content or the content is defective. You request a refund through the Google Play Website.

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