Digital content - App wouldn't work

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When it comes to content you’ve downloaded, you should expect it to do what it says on the tine.

The rules say:

“Digital content has to be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, as described.”

This basically means that everything you download or buy has to work as intended (within reason).

To be fit for purpose, digital content has to be free from minor defects. In digital content, this could mean bugs, errors, or anything that stops you enjoying the content to the full.

This means that if you pay for an app and it doesn’t work, you should expect the service provider to make things right.

You should expect the service provider to either repair or replace the product. They might do this by either upgrading or troubleshooting the product.

If they can’t fix the problem, you’re due a reduction in price (Which could mean a refund).

Anything you’re made aware of at point of sale doesn’t count! So if you’re buying something in an unfinished state (“beta” or “early access” products, for example), you can’t really hold the product to the rules.

In summary:

  • You’re entitled to a repair or replacement or a price reduction.
  • Repair or replacement has to be carried out in a reasonable length of time without causing an inconvenience to the consumer.
  • The trader has to carry out any costs involved in doing so.
  • If it’s impossible to offer a repair or replacement (or if the trader doesn’t offer it in time), you can ask for a reduction in cost.
  • Any refund offered has to be issued in a reasonable length of time and has to be paid out using the same means of payment as the consumer used to pay for the digital content.


Can I cancel a download for a full refund?

 You’ve generally got a 14 day right to change your mind and get a full refund on your digital content. However, you normally lose this right once you start a download! Service providers should always warn you in their terms & conditions that you’ll lose your right to cancel.

You should know

Most of your rights come from the Consumer Rights Act and the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

The Consumer Rights Act sets out the way you should expect to be treated by a company when you buy digital goods, content or services.

This includes most video downloads, streaming services and ebooks.

The rest of your rights come from the Consumer Contract Regulations. These set out what you should expect from a contract for a service – and give you rules for cancelling a contract if it doesn’t deliver.

Taking things further

It can be tricky to know what to do when you can't resolve an issue with a company providing digital services. Generally speaking, it's best to try and escalate matters through their internal channels. Resolver will prompt you to escalate your case to the next level if necessary.

If you find that you're stuck paying for a service that you haven't received, you can consider contacting your bank to ask them to cancel your debit and issue a chargeback.

Unfortunately, the majority of companies offering digital content and services aren't members of an Alternative Dispute Resolution Scheme – this means that if your problems persist, you may have to consider taking the matter to small claims court. You should always seek legal advice before taking a case to court. You can also consider contacting Citizens Advice for more information.

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