As part of an effort to abide by new European guidelines, Apple is implementing a fourteen-day return window on all iTunes purchases made by its customers in Europe.
Typically, all iTunes returns go through a strict refund process which allows customers to petition for their money back upon Apple’s review of their claim. The new “no questions asked” policy allows for customers to potentially create unregulated copies of their purchases before simply returning the original, and all without a valid reason for the return.
Alongside this increased opportunity for piracy also comes the potential for the policy to create new means to exploit the music charts. As outlined by PopJustice, fans of boy band Union J could buy the band’s “album during its first week on sale, knowing that they’ll be able to get their money back. The album would go to Number One on the Sunday,” even after the requested returns.
Whether the new policy will create more discrepancy or transparency for the music industry is yet to be seen. Calculations by official chart companies may apply this new return behavior to the final music charts, which could arguably show a more truthful reflection of actual sale numbers and rank.