April 23, 2014
Google Refunds Android Users Who Bought Fake Anti-Virus App
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Google is refunding users who were fooled into purchasing a non-functional anti-virus app through their Play Store.
The $3.99 Virus Shield app quickly rose to the top ranking in Google’s Play Store, reportedly reaching as many as 30,000 downloads before the news site Android Police examined the code and discovered the app lacked any anti-virus capabilities.
Google, which does not proactively review apps before they appear on its store, removed the app once the issue had been identified, but by that time thousands of buyers had been duped.
The company is now making amends, offering a refund to those who purchased the phony app, as well as an additional $5 Play Store credit that can be used to purchase content such as apps, games, books, music and movies.
In an interview earlier this month with The Guardian, Virus Shield’s creator said the app was legitimate, but that a version without virus protection was mistakenly uploaded to Play Store.
"We never intended to scam our customers on Google Play" with the non-functional app, said Jesse Carter, whose Deviant Solutions uploaded the app on March 28.
"One of our developers simply made a foolish mistake," he said.
"The app version that was decompiled by AndroidPolice was not intended to be released. It was an early placeholder that our UI designer created. There was a mix-up between the version that contained the antivirus code for our app."
"After reading the article created by AndroidPolice, we immediately unpublished our app from the marketplace to upload the intended version. However, our Google Play Developer account was suspended before we could make said amendments.”
According to various media outlets, including BGR, Google sent the following apology letter via email to customers who purchased the Virus Shield app:
We’re reaching out to you because you recently purchased the “Virus Shield” app on Google Play.
This app made the false claim that it provided one-click virus protection; in reality, it did not.
Google Play’s policies strictly prohibit false claims like these, and in light of this, we’re refunding you for your “Virus Shield” purchase. You should see funds returned to your account within the next 14 days.
Additionally we’d like to offer you $5 promotional credit1, which can be used to purchase digital content on Google Play such as apps, games, books, music and movies.
Your credit redemption code is XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Click or tap here to redeem. For help redeeming, please visit our Help Center. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused; rest assured that we’re always working to make Google Play better for our users.
Google Play Support