When a horrendous movie like Twilight is boasted with numerous great reviews at some movie souk, you know something is dubious. First we heard about malware infected apps, now we have miserable, money slurping developers who would do anything to sell you their stuff.

The Internet is currently jam-packed with misleading, fake and paid-for reviews. The frequency of such scam is so high that at times it becomes a pain to figure out the honest reviews. We seek for others opinion – to clear our mind, to get things straight, to overcome our dilemma. The more good reviews you see, the more certain you become to have the app. Users’ reviews strengthen our credibility of an application.

Fake reviews are all over the place

It has been estimated that if a software gets a good review, rating and numerous downloads, it becomes editor’s choice. Almost every app that has joined that club earn lots of money everyday. So now you see why it is so important for an app to have a good ranking – it also makes it appear at top in similar search results. You can estimate the venomousness of this system by doing a simple search at any online store. There are people who have listed this fake review writing as their “skills” in their Linkedin profiles – they provide baked reviews and register high scores.

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You can in fact go to any online marketplaces for services, such as Fiverr, and find hundreds of such spammers. Sellers are connected with such people to sketch a deceptive impression of their product on you, to make you buy something substandard. Besides that, this review scam also helps them overthrow their competitors.

Ghost downloads

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The other part which is somehow related to this scam is Ghost downloading. Ghost downloading refers to the fake downloads – not necessarily “fake” but is sure not how it is intended to be done. According to a report that appeared on Stenvall Skoeld, thousands of China-based outfits have signed up for this fierce swindle. These companies offer you to get high with downloads count, and review writing services.

How to check if a review isn’t honest

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Apart from the first look suspicion, most of these fake reviewers are active only right after the product release. You might have noticed that an app has got high rank and lots of good reviews in the initial hours, and then there are no ratings at all. Google, to outdo this scam, has made some changes in its review writing policy. If you want to review an app at Google Play store, you will now have to sign in with your Google Plus account. Sure, this isn’t a full proof system, but will definitely put more sense of authenticity.

How to get a refund

So, now you have downloaded an app that doesn’t deliver what it says in its description or glorious reviews. Can you expect a refund? Contrary to popular belief, it is not exactly going against the grain to get a refund. Unlike movies and games, where you buy the optical disc and could copy and try returning the disc with no luck of a refund. Things are a little eaiery with apps. As in case of refunds regarding an application you recently downloaded, as soon as you apply for a refund, the application will automatically delete itself from your device. Although, how you ask for a refund is little masked process.

Google Play Store

The Play Store is happy to provide you a refund on any app you purchased, but their condition is that you will have to ask for it within the 15 minutes after its installation. To get a refund, open Play Store, and go to “My Apps”. Select the app, go inside, and you will see a ‘Refund’ button. You can do this from your computer as well. Log in with your registered Gmail id, and go to the Play Store Account Settings.

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Toggle down “Select your issue” and click on “I’d like to request a refund.

Apple App Store

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Things are somewhat fiddly with Apple. Though it states “All sales are final” policy, there is still a chance to claim your money. Once you buy an app, you get an email receipt from Apple. Scroll down it and look for “Report a problem”. It will launch iTunes, click on the drop-down menu, and look for comment box. Mention the things that went wrong, and why you should be getting a refund. After this, it is up to their consumer representatives to provide you a refund.

BlackBerry App World and Windows Phone Apps

BlackBerry and Windows maintain the same policy as Apple. The only thing you could do is go to their contact page, and explain why you should get a refund. BlackBerry users are supposed to send an email to appworldbilling@rim.com. Windows Phone users need to go to its customer support page, click on the “Contact Us” section. You don’t have to write an email, as you can directly chat with their support representatives.

If your case is genuine they are more likely to return your money.

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Author

Manish is pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Engineering but spends more time in writing about technology. He has written for a number of Indian and international publications including BetaNews, BGR India, WinBeta, MakeTechEasier, MediaNama, and Digit magazine among others. When not writing, you would find him ranting about the state of digital journalism on Twitter.