Is it legal what google is doing? (please expert opinion)


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Feb 25, 2023
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So the story is the following:

There was a new android game launched in midd december 2022 (2 months ago) . I started playing it until few days ago (and also spent quite a bit, more than 1K $$$) and now the developer removed the game from playstore, deleted most of the players accounts (including mine) during the transfer, changed the name of the game and wants to relaunch it on a different game name and different company name.

This is a common practice, especially on games that have chinese developers (like my game). The reason of removal of the game from the store is because of the "share policy" google has with game developers. What means that?
It means that for the first 1 million dollars made by the game, the developer "tax" or google's "share" is only 15% of the total revenue. After the 1 mill total renevue target is hit, the "share" is 30%.
I've "heard" on internet that many android developers use this practice, where once they hit 1 mill $ revenue, they remove the game, rename it and put it back.
But by doing this, the developers are scamming their players also.

Now i understand that usually refunds are denied when the "blame" is on the customer (for example accidental recharge or children recharging without the parents to know). But in this case, it's the other side. The developer deliberately removed the game to avoid taxes and scammed their playerbase after 2 months of the launch of the game. I mean they didn't even waited a year or two like most of them do, they did it after 2 months. But most of them, don't remove the game and delete accounts, they just let the game die by not updating it. This way people quit the game by their own will and they are exempt of any refund claims.

Google refused my refund request, stating that the requests are managed by the AI (their AI system) and that "manual human" intervention is not possible or possible in very rare cases. I already contacted them twice and at the second "meeting", they said they would transfer my case to the "specialist team". I know there are some customer protection laws regarding online payments, so if there is someone with more experience, please reply.
I feel scammed not only by the developer of the game (who btw is nowhere to be found on internet, he deleted any trace about his game), but also by google, who should act as a guarantor for the developer, especially because they take share of the revenue the game makes. I even said to the customer support guy that by denying the refund, basically google endorses and supports this types of business practices.

B. Diddy

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Mar 9, 2012
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Welcome to Android Central! That does sound like a really sleazy way for the app developers to game the system. Unfortunately, I don't think Google has any obligation to give refunds to the user so long after the conventional refund window, because the way I see it, the primary relationship is between the app developer and the user, with Google only acting as a middleman (I wouldn't go as far as calling them a guarantor). If you're going to bring any kind of legal action, it would be against the app developer for possible breach of contract, but (a) that would mean there was some kind of clause in the terms of agreement (if there were any to begin with) that discussed this, and (b) it would also be very difficult with the app developer being in China.

To a large extent, I think the old saying of "buyer beware" would be the main tenet in this situation.

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