Apple refunding pros for Final Cut Pro X


Apple have been processing refunds for Final Cut Pro X as complaints flood in from grumpy pros – and it seems they are taking a lenient approach.

Although the iTunes / App Store terms and conditions state that ‘all sales are final’, when an application does not meet the expectations of a user, like in the case of a 59p iPhone game, Apple have been known to refund the purchase. Now it seems they are doing so with Final Cut Pro X to the tune of $299.

Here is an example of one such email a disappointed pro received from Apple:

“Moving forward, I understand that you are not satisfied with the app “Final Cut Pro”. I can certainly appreciate you would like a refund, and I would be more than happy to help you out with this today. In five to seven business days, a credit of £179.99 should be posted to the credit card that appears on the receipt for that purchase.

Please note that this is a one time exception because the iTunes Terms and Conditions state that all sales are final.”

It is not clear what happens to the activation of the FCPX license after the refund is handled, and whether the user can continue to use the software. FCPX is the first pro app to be offered exclusively as an electronic download.

Here is another such refund email sent from an Apple iTunes support guy to a disappointed video editor, posted today on Creative Cow which not only refunds FCPX but also Compressor.

“Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding your email, as we have been receiving higher volumes than usual. This is certainly not the customary time for a response and your understanding is greatly appreciated.

I’m sorry to hear that the apps “Compressor” and “Final Cut Pro” you purchased on the Mac App Store is not functioning as expected. I know how special your purchases are and I regret for the inconvenience caused. I will try my best to resolve this issue.

Garrett, at your request, I have refunded the apps and in five to seven business days, a credit of $380.08 should be posted to the Visa card that appears on the receipt for that purchase.”

What do you think? Are Apple right to refund or does it set a dangerous precedent for free-loaders?

In the absence of a trial version, maybe Apple are right to offer people the refund should they find the software unsuitable.

About Author

British filmmaker and editor of EOSHD, Andrew works in Berlin on his own self funded filmmaking and video projects.


  1. I think Apple are being quite generous – if you buy an app in a shrink-wrap box in a store you don’t get a refund if it’s been opened – it’s up to the buyer to decide if it’s suitable for what they want to do.

    It’s been fairly clear since the Supermeet demo in April that FCP X was going to be missing some FCP 7 features – so it’s a bit dumb of people to buy it on the first day of release without checking what its capabilities are.

  2. Most of the people who purchased this were die hard FCP users and pros that were waiting on pins and needles for this. They were even willing to show support to Apple by paying $300 instead of stealing it. So I think its a little rude to call these people dumb. They were promised a PRO program and it obviously false short of that.

  3. I think both sides of the argument are justified for certain people. For example there was no way of telling if the Sony HX9 PS AVCHD 1080/60p is supported, you have to buy and try it. Some people had some nasty surprises when they first got their hands on it. But I agree with Chris that a lot of the info was out prior to release and that pros shouldn’t be too disappointed, it’s no magic bullet and they should have the tenacity to stick with it and now throw in the towel so early.

  4. I just don’t understand why they didn’t offer a free trial or something. You can get a free trial of both Premiere and Avid… I don’t get it. Who doesn’t offer at least a 15-day trial these days?

  5. I dunno!! You see I think ( yes don’t take this as gospel, just an opinion) these guys have been researching it and came up with a plan!! Anyway you gonna get those with strong opinions almost like orthodox believers who is going to give us a tough time about it, like those red groupies kinda set in their ways so just give them a refund and let them fall off the bus!! Ive just run apple pro ress 4444 (300 m/bts) from an Alexa under its 64 bit architecture and I am impressed!! Something is heading in the right direction!! Somebody is starting to do something right! I am a camera tech and I like it!! I run everyday of my life saying guys lets keep it simple, its just a picture! Why all this codecs?? I like it only pro ress / xdcam and the rest is malaki!! none of this I thought it shot 100 mbs but now final cut says 18M/bs what is going on! Very simplified and that rendering in the background is just awesome and have you realised its got built in dslr audio or plural eyes !! Everyday stuff thats usefull!! I hear editors going about this feature and oml and edl!! but lets face it the bottom line is aunt suzie ( the viewer ) is not going to sit there and go ” you know it hasnt got edl so they can conform it”!! I mean Aunt suzie is our livelihood and the new fcp makes it easier!!

  6. I think it’s to stop piracy. With a freely available trial out in the open, shortly follows a hack and a Torrent. One of Apple’s big objectives with the $299 price point of FCPX is to stop all that, especially in the consumer and student market.

    Here’s how to solve the issue…. Apple should offer a cloud computing trial version of FCPX which can be ‘rented’ for a week, for a small one time fee like $10. After the trial period ends you lose access and have to download the app to continue using it.

  7. Yes the architecture changes under the hood are with a million stuffy ‘pro’ features for me, and were difficult and time consuming for Apple to pull off so credit where credit’s due… it’s a revolutionary foundation to build from.

    Agreed, simple is better too. Video editing should be simple, I think people over complicate it needlessly in the name of moneymaking.

  8. Secrecy is a double-edged sword. On one end, it builds anticipation which will likely lead to a massive amount of purchases once released. On the other, it can lead to consumers (and especially professionals) being terribly disappointed when they expected you to include something that they wouldn’t dream in a million years of you NOT including (FCP7 doc support, anamorphic, ect.)

    I think for the first time Apple in a long time, apple is experiencing the negative side to being elite and discrete.

    What do you think?

  9. Its all very well researching about a product from hearsay and rumours on the intraweb but Apple has not officially detailed the ability (and lack of) about its new product on its store. If I was simply looking for an upgrade of the latest FCP I would have bought it in good faith it will do everything the previous version can do plus more.
    Following on from the demo albeit only highlighting the advantages of FCP X by Apple back in April and their inability to officially comment on the ability of its product like what it can do and what it no longer able to do therefore it is right to compensate customers who was mis-sold and there are plenty who were duped.

  10. Once icloud is up and running think that will be a possibility but not yet. They wouldn’t be able to handle all of those users. I do agree with you though that is a viable option.
    Also you have to keep in mind that Apple is a hardware company and that is all they care about. The software that they create is only there to make their hardware preform better. Because of that reason I think what bwhtiz had a fantastic point. Why not do a trial? I don’t think piracy would be the main concern. It doesn’t make any since why they wouldn’t just let people test run it.
    I think in the long run they are going to lose more potential costumers to adobe and avid because all of this.
    I am also a little weary of what Lion is going to be like. They keep trying to be more iOS with every upgrade. Here is hoping that Lion doesn’t turn out like that as well.

  11. We’re all pretty enthusiastic when a cool program is released, and since were not men (we’re mostly boys…) we want it NOW. Apple fanboys are worse than that: look at the long lines when a new iPhone is released. Too bad they didn’t wait for a proper review. Nice of Apple to give a refund. Me, I’ll just stick to Premiere, like I have for over a decade. and I’m quite happy to see FCP users getting a clue and switching.

    If you have a big (many clips) anamorphic DSLR project about to start post on, do you risk going down the FCP X path because it looks cool, simple, and fast (and hope further development for stuff you may need will be swift)? Or do you head down the old FCP 7 route because it’s known and stable and all work/delivery options are there, albeit old and complicated in their own way??

  13. It depends if you need any of the features like multicam that are missing from FCPX. You will certainly get better performance out of the FCPX which may save you time and it’d be a good learning experience for the new system as well as a finished project. I’d be inclined to go for FCPX but make sure it exports at the correct aspect ratios. I’m currently researching better into how FCPX handles anamorphic aspect ratios and will blog on that soon.

    FCP7 is FAR less risky if your project has a tight deadline.

  14. True, multicam editing would be extremely useful on this project. Most scenes are shot both wide and tight simultaneously (A & B GH2 cams) with a Lomo 35mm and 75mm (sometimes 50mm). I have six weeks before committing to a post work flow (after shooting the second stage of production). Meanwhile, will follow FCPX developments and look for your blog on the FCPX / anamorphic workflow. Thanks.

  15. cameraguyphilly on

    That gives you six weeks to play around, at least. There’s a lot of talk about “it’s not the tools, but the story teller.” I’d like to add that it’s nice when the tool isn’t a cage. If 6 weeks from now, you can’t take an edit out of FCP X into something that better meets your needs, you’ll wish you hadn’t got started in it – cause you’ll be starting all over.
    Apparently, Apple’s notorious fascination with proprietary products has leaked into their vision of how we should work as well.
    If you can do everything you need from within the one package, you should be fine. I’ve never seen a package that could do that, but maybe I’ve never aimed that low.

  16. I’d choose FCP7 Roberto. Anamorphic support in FCPX is not quite there yet. A bit disappointed with that aspect of it really.

  17. It’s not dumb, when you rely on a piece of software you want to get a big new version as quick as possible to have a competitive edge over others who might have waited. I think it’s reasonable for us to assume that it would have at least the professional capabilities that the old version did, and we were wrong.

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