Blackberry App Store money laundering for developers

In this modern day age of App Store's the Blackberry AppStore has been dealt a big blow in consumer confidence - bottom line, it is a complete rip-off. A place where 3rd rate developers can post buggy and faulty software, extort money from Blackberry users with no offer of refund or support when things go horribly wrong and be able to hide behind Blackberry's Terms and Conditions.

My wife purchased her first ever paid for app from the Blackberry App World Store.

The App in question is Glypher by Richard Interdonato (@rinterdonato) and as soon as it was downloaded, was dead. It threw Java exceptions left right and center. This app was going no where fast.

Contacting Blackberry support, who hid behind the "No Refunds for Apps" policy in their terms'n'conditions, refuse to go further, and PayPal in this particular instance has also failed to protect the consumer. Of course contacting the original developer, yielded no response whatsoever. He's obviously just happy to take your money and offer no support or even contact.

After going through the channels, my wife eventually wrote this to Blackberry:

Dear BlackBerry Customer Support,

I am thoroughly disgusted with the outcome of PP-000-962-157-002 with PayPal and the help and support I have received from you. My husband and I were having fun, laughing and dallying with an app purchase. Our first. Silly and tiny though it was.

We love our blackberries, and have used the free software SO much and were nervous moving into pay-for apps. How right we were to be so nervous.

For the sake of a refund of £2.49 you've lost the faith we had in BB. I'm stunned that you could be so unfriendly in the customer service department. Had this gone right we could have been so happy to purchase other little apps. This was supposed to be fun for us and has instead turned into a huge injustice.

You have on your appworld (and still do) an app that does not work with a support email that does not work, you took our money and left us with nothing in return but a nasty taste in our mouth and a very sharp sense of the evils of terms and conditions.

Well done, in this itouch obsessed world you've pushed 2 more people that way for less than a price of a cup of coffee, you truely must be minted if you can ignore the little people and treat them in this way. Our contracts are up very shortly, so congratulations on giving us the push we need.

Blackberry has failed big time here, on a number of fronts.

  • FAIL: If the App wasn't designed for our handset, then they should not have allowed us to purchase it. They control the full eco-system including the downloaded and therefore know what every component it.
  • FAIL: No quality control, that allowed this piece of software to even make it to the App World Store in the first place. Where is the extensive testing that Apple AppStore is reknowned for?
  • FAIL: Upon learning of faulty app, they offer absolutely no path to resolve said issue - Contact the vendor is their retort.
  • FAIL: No ability to easily leave reviews on the main app world store to alert others to the potential danger of this
  • FAIL: Since there was no demo/trial software, Blackberry App World Store on our handset should see that the App in question didn't actually startup let alone run, so they have all the details they need to do something about it
  • FAIL: Loss of confidence and at least 3 handsets that will not be renewed in a few months when our contracts are up; 7 years of loyalty lost

I am a big advocate of Open Source and when things like this happen, I remember why. Closed source systems do not work when things go wrong. This app appears to have been abandoned and if that is the case, then this is sad. Open Source would have allowed others to come in, fix the problem and let the community enjoy its continued usage.

Blackberry has failed to protect the consumer and has successfully pushed them away and heading straight to Android or even, worse case, Apple! RIM, you probably know this, but with your market share decreasing, you cannot afford to lose customers, especially not the ones that has propped you up for so many years.

So thats that then? A consumer has been successfully extorted out of money, with no chance of recourse from either of the 3 parties involved (RIM, PayPal or Richard Interdonato).

Blackberry App World Consumer: beware

Update: Story continues

Update 10th June 2010: RIM got in touch. They have removed the app from the AppWorld and offered a full refund. Faith nearly restored.


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