Taipei City decides against appealing ruling on Google

CONSUMERS’ RIGHTS::The city said it hoped Google would comply with the ruling that it must give buyers seven days of free product trial

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Jan 29, 2013 - Page 3

The Taipei City Government has decided not to appeal the ruling on the Google Android case in hopes of a swift settlement, the city’s Department of Legal Affairs said yesterday.

The city government had sued Google for violation of the Consumer Protection Act (消費者保護法) because the US company offered only a 15-minute free trial period for apps downloaded via the company’s Android platform, instead of seven days as prescribed in the act.

The incident occurred in 2011 when the city government ordered the local branches of Apple Inc and Google Inc to introduce seven-day free trial programs for their mobile phone apps within 15 days after a consumer bought a software application on Apple Store that did not work, but could not return it.

While the two companies claimed they were not liable for mobile apps developed by a third party even if they were sold through their online platforms, the city government said it constituted an irresponsible business practice.

The city government cited Article 19 of the Consumer Protection Act, which states that consumers may return the product to the vendor within seven days if the product failed to meet expectations, is not as useful as hoped, or is flawed.

The city department said that in the latest court decision, the Taipei High Administrative Court had rescinded the original punitive measures, but had also said that Article 19 applies to software downloaded via Android Market and ordered Google to provide a seven-day grace period.

However, the court also said that the limitations on standard form contracts fall under the central government’s jurisdiction, and the city government has no right or grounds to intercede on behalf of the public and that consumers must file suit themselves in cases involving standard form contracts.

After ascertaining with the Consumer Protection Committee that the Ministry of Economic Affairs is in charge of such disputes, the city government said it would not appeal the ruling.

The department also said that while the city government was not pursuing further legal action, it hoped that Google would respect the court’s ruling and grant consumers a seven-day grace period and place consumers’ rights first.