Over Christmas break, one of my daughters unintentionally racked up a healthy credit card bill inside a free game because I had not locked down in-app purchases. Yes, I am THAT parent. Worse, I am the guy who makes sure others lock this down.
I contacted Apple using their online Express Lane process to request a refund. The next morning, I was told they would make a one-time excpetion to their All Sales Final policy and they refunded the in-app purchases from this app that were spread across three different invoices. Balance has been restored from this frustrating in-app purchase experience.
The flip side to this coin is that in many cases, in-app purchases add value to the app. The Paper Shop in Penultimate. River tiles and Inns & Cathedrals tiles in Carcassonne. The Peggle Nights levels within Peggle (according to my kids). The apps themselves are worth the price of admission and the in-app purchases add value to the app.
While reading a Daring Fireball article about differences between Android and iOS users, a realization hit me. Just like in-app purchases can add value to an app, apps themselves can add value to the platform. It is in the store owners best interest to keep their customers (that would be us) happy so that we continue to use and purchase apps.
Many apps add value both to their platform and to me and I consider these an investment. As a customer, I want to purchase apps that are an investment. As a developer, I want my clients to consider my work an investment.