It had to happen sooner or later: I got carried away on iTunes and bought a whole album that I thought I used to own on LP, but five minutes later I realised I own it on CD as well and had already ripped the CD and added it to my library. What a waste. Paid for the same music twice. Well, three times if you include the LP version I bought when I was eighteen.

Luckily, in Norway we have angrefristloven, “the regrets deadline law” (that sounds weird), a law that protects consumers from impulsive purchases outside of a shop, and allows us to return goods bought, no questions asked, within ten days of purchase. I wrote to iTunes, citing this, and explaining the circumstances, and received this answer:

We have issued a refund for 88.00 Kr for this accidental/duplicate purchase. The credit will be posted to your account shortly. Note: We are only able to provide a refund for an accidental purchase once. This is an exception to our terms of sale.

Which is lovely — except that they appear to think their sales aren’t covered by angrefristloven. There’s no doubt that post order sales and internet sales are covered by this, and such outlets are required to send information about the law with the goods they sell. Perhaps iTunes’ sale of intangibles would exempt them from this, though I doubt it.

Anyway, I wrote to forbrukerrÂdet (the consumers ombudsman) and asked. Hopefully they’ll add it to their F.A.Q. I can’t be the only person to have made a stupid purchase at iTunes.

15 thoughts on “does iTunes have to respect <i>angrefristloven</i>?

  1. steve

    Which is exactly why I’ve installed a breathalyzer on my laptop.

  2. steve

    “I canít be the only person to have made a stupid purchase at iTunes.”

    This was the reason, I mean.

    Oops.

  3. pia

    Is RETURNING THE MUSIC really an option? How can iTunes follow this law in practice?

  4. William Wend

    What a cool law! I wish we had something like that here in the states.

  5. gmlk

    So this law gives consumers an impulse purchase cool-off/grace periode?

    I think that sounds better than your translation ;->

    (by the way: Your comment field acts weird in Safari.)

  6. Jill

    Oh, I must order one of those breathalysers, Steve – except, uh, I wasn’t under the influence of anything except…foolishness…. Pia, I think iTunes might be able to deauthorise the music so I’m unable to play it. That would be the equivalent of returning the goods. “Impulse buy grace period” sounds much better than my translation. Do any other countries have that, I wonder?

  7. Asgeir

    iTMS Norway claims to be under U.K. law, according to their terms of sale.

  8. Jill

    Oh. I really should have read the terms of sale, huh? Maybe I clicked through them blindly before my first purchase.

    It’s kind of weird if they can simply claim UK law on a company solely meant to deal with Norwegian customers. But then, I’m not a lawyer, so I’ve really no idea if that’s fine, legally.

  9. zed

    The Norwegian Consumer Council (ForbrukerrÂdet) refers to the law as “The Act on the right to repent a sale after a cooling-off period”.

  10. JosÈ Angel

    Is that an “offshore” company then? It looks like there’s a great future for offshore e-commerce – e.g. Amazon on an oil rig with special laws, or on their own space station… by the way, I like “the regrets deadline law” better – it sounds more tragic.

  11. Tommy

    I doubt that deauthorizing the music is an option.Who’s to prevent you from ripping the music once it has found its way on to your computer? Angrefristloven clearly states that one has two weeks to repent a purchase that has been done over physichal distance (e.g. Internet).This fact would make an internet pirates day as he/she would have up to two weeks to state that he/she wishes to return the purchesed music.

  12. Fernando

    In Spain, we also have a law that gives a week for returning a good bought in a place that’s not a shop. But is it not iTunes a shop you have entered freely to make a purchase? I think the Spanish law intends to protect people from situations in which a person can be under pressure –say when you’re at home and a book salesman arrives or when you buy in a hotel a 100.000 euros multiproperty appartment in a beach after a couple of hours of conference.

  13. Eric

    A law to protect consumers from impulsive purchases?!?

    Now, in general, I like Scandinavia’s commitment to maintaining the welfare state in a neocon/neoliberal era where ‘free-market’ values means Big Corporations rule, but this sounds a bit excessive.

    (1) Isn’t the impulsive part half the fun? I mean, in retrospect, I probably didn’t need my Edgar Allan Poe action figure, my Sqush Bush stress reliever, my numerous ape artifacts, or the various band t-shirts purchased at the end of a fantastic set, when my ears are ringing & I’m soaked in beer. Come to think of it, I probably didn’t need that last beer (though we’ll confirm that) tomorrow morning. But, as G. Bataille might put it, what’s life w/out a little excess expenditure?

    (2) At the risk of sounding like my Dad: Whatever happened to responsibility? Or learning from one’s mistakes? I’m all for the government stepping in to help consumers in cases of fraud, but I don’t expect Uncle Sam to help me get the money back for the two garish King Kong ties I bought on e-bay but never wear (actually, only one is truly hideous and has never been worn; the other made an appearance last Halloween)…

    (3) Please tell me the generous no-questions-asked return policy doesn’t apply to underwear purchases 😉

    Cue the Sid Vicious: “Regrets, I’ve ‘ad a few. But then again, too few to men-tion…”

  14. Jill

    I received an answer from forbrukerÂdet today, but it’s not very helpful:

    ForbrukerrÂdet viser til din e-post.

    ForbrukerrÂdet understreker at uttalelsene under er basert p opplysninger
    som er fremkommet i din e-post. Videre tas det som en forutsetning at
    varen/tjenesten er kj¯pt i egenskap av  vÊre privat forbruker.

    I utgangspunktet vil det vÊre angrefrist p varer som kj¯pes p internett.
    Akkurat den situasjonen du beskriver der man laster ned musikk over nettet
    vil i prinsippet bli dekket av angreretten, men man vil i praksis mÂtte
    betale for “det man har mottatt”. Har man mottatt hele albumet, vil man ogsÂ
    mÂtte betale for dette.

    That basically means that the regrets law counts for anything bought online, including downloading music – in principle. However, in practice you’ll have to pay for “what you’ve received”. So if you received the whole album, you’ll have to pay for it. I wrote back to ask what that meant.

    Oh, and Eric, I dunno that you can regret that beer, it’s more about that 30 volume encyclopedia the door to door salesman conned you into signing for and you’ll be paying for for the next twenty years.

    🙂

  15. Jill

    More from forbrukerrÂdet:

    Ja ,jeg er enig i at dette saksfeltet er interessant, og stadig mer
    aktuelt.

    NÂr jeg sier at man i prinsippet har angrerett s betyr det at kj¯per man
    varer fra en norsk nettbutikk har man angrerett. Denne typen kj¯p faller
    alts inn under angreretten.

    Men s er det dette spesielle forholdet nÂr man laster ned noe direkte
    gjennom nettet, og umiddelbart etter kan bruke det. For programmer/musikk
    kj¯pt p “gamlemÂten”, alts tilsendt p CD , vil ikke angreretten gjelde
    dersom man bryter forseglingen. Dette vil vÊre for  unng spekulasjon.

    NÂr det gjelder kj¯p av musikk der levering skjer ved nedlasting, stÂr det
    ikke noe i loven om det, men det stÂr derimot noe i forarbeidene til loven.
    (Ot.prop.36 1999-2000, s 72) Her vises det til at man i disse tilfellene mÂ
    anvende reglene for bruk av angrerett ved tjenestekj¯p. Dette innebÊrer at
    man ved angring m betale for “det som er levert”. Dette vil vÊre
    hovedregelen.

    The says that the regrets law counts for purchases on a Norwegian online store, but not necessarily for goods downloaded instantly. He compared it to buying a CD from a regular shop, where you can’t exchange the CD once the seal is broken. It’s possible to see the downloaded music in the same way, which sort of makes sense.

    There isn’t really any legislation on this issue, but work done in relation to a law (Ot.prop.36 1999-2000, p 72) states that in cases like this, the product bought should be seen as a service rather than as a product, and therefore not subject to the regrets law. Instead you have to pay for services performed.

    Which kind of makes sense.

    As for me, I’ve taken iTunes’ advice and stopped using One Click to buy music… I’ll just have to use the shopping cart as my own personal cooling off stage. For at least long enough to check whether I already HAVE the tune in my library.

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