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Suppose that someone makes a global online service where people can create bounties of certain amounts of money for a specific task, which can then later be claimed by a "bountyhunter".

The bounty can be claimed as much as a year after the task was first posted, and the service won't charge the poster's card until the bounty is actually claimed.

Now, what rules are in place in terms of refunds in this scenario?

Can the service require users to agree not to allow refunds in general (in EU, USA)?

And if the service must offer refunds, do those 14 days begin from the point where the card is charged (the bounty is claimed), or where the bounty is initially placed?

I already looked at EU's website, where they say that "digital content" isn't elligible for the 14 day refund if the content hasn't been downloaded or used. Does that include such a Software-as-a-Service product too, and the concept of bounties? It's not exactly "content".

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Rewards

I’m going to use “reward” rather than “bounty” as in modern usage, bounty has a stronger connotation of apprehending or killing a criminal and I hope that’s not what your website is about.

In common law, advertising that you will pay a reward for a certain action is an offer made to the world that will form a legally binding contract with the first person who satisfies the conditions providing they know about the reward.

For example, if I print fliers offering a $20 reward for anyone who returns my lost wallet then anyone who has seen a flier or otherwise knows of the reward who returns my wallet has accepted my offer and we now have a contract. They have completed their obligations (returning the wallet) and I must complete mine (paying $20).

So, if you think about the actual service you are operating, you are acting as the flyer, not the payer of the reward. Just like eBay is acting as the flyer, not the seller of goods. Your customers are involved in 2 contracts.

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  • Very interesting! For the record, the service is about promoting open source software development work by allowing open source developers to become bountyhunters and contribute to the biggest problems within software, so no, it's not the killing kind - quite the contrary 😁 it makes sense you'd think that though. Oct 2 at 9:02
  • One question though. Does this apply to global law? Like, in all countries? And does it mean I don't actually even have to have a clause about refunds and handling all that? Oct 2 at 9:03
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    If you have other questions ask other questions. My answer talks about common law which is what most English speaking countries use. Most EU countries use civil law. There is no EU law - the EU is a union of sovereign nations each with their own laws. Also, I made no comment on what refunds you might have to offer - I simply challenged your understanding of your business model.
    – Dale M
    Oct 2 at 10:50
  • Perfect, thank you once again. Much appreciated! Oct 2 at 14:03

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