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Itunes Return Policy

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http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070212-8815.html

A new Green Paper on the Review of the Consumer Acquis outlining the results of a European Commission review of consumer protection laws within the EU has been published, and it may have ramifications for the online music market. One of the sticking points in Apple's row with Norway and Sweden is the "cooling off" period mandated by Scandinavian consumer protection laws. The EC is considering whether to standardize the cooling off period across the EU and, more importantly, whether to apply it to digital goods (e.g., music).

Consumers in some European countries have the right to return items with no questions asked for a specified time period after purchase. The Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman says that Apple violates the country's Marketing Control Act by not offering a cooling-off period for music purchases, as Apple's terms of service have no provision for refunds.

Many other EU member countries have similar provisions in their consumer protection laws, but the details differ. The EC would like to standardize cooling-off periods along with other aspects of the EU's consumer protection laws. One of the issues being considered is whether the rules on consumer sales should apply to "digital content services" like music.

The other big issue with digital music in Europe is interoperability. Apple has been criticized by many in the public and private sectors for not opening up its FairPlay DRM to competitors. Steve Jobs has famously laid out the company's rationale for maintaining its closed ecosystem, and the company is unwilling to budge on the issue.

While the EC report does not directly address the issue of interoperability, it does talk about "problems" with music downloaded from the Internet and used on digital music players or cell phones. It appears that the EC is willing to use concerns over interoperability as the basis to require online music stores to accept returns.

Such a move could cause problems for the major music services, which would have to create a rights-revocation system able to handle individual tracks. Current systems which force DRM to expire based on the authorization status of a particular motherboard or whether a monthly subscription has been paid may not be able to handle the case of an individual song being "returned." Even if a consumer decides to "return" a purchased track after the cooling off period, there is nothing preventing her from burning a copy to CD prior to returning it.

Now that the "green paper" has been published, there will be a three-month consultation period. The EC will accept comments on the various proposals contained in the document, and Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva will take the consultation "on the road," meeting with stakeholders around the EU.

Could possibly be good news for anyone using itunes in Europe. But I definitely see the potential for a lot of abuse.

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Well, I already have the right to buy a cd and return it if I want to. I don't see a big difference with here. The potential for abuse already exists.

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Well, I already have the right to buy a cd and return it if I want to. I don't see a big difference with here. The potential for abuse already exists.

Try and return any opened cds or software lately?

"No returns on open media".

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Where I live we don't have that exception, at least not yet.

A lot of shops post a not return policy or some sort but by law they are forced to accept any return untill 15 days have passed, no reason required.

I've actually never tried to return anything that I can remember. Never had the need.

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