I have an app with lots of downloads and 4.8* reviews on the Play Store for over the last 2 years. In the last update we submitted they decided to check the Privacy-URL as well. This URL was temporary offline due to website maintenance. The reaction for google was to not only reject our app update but also to take the existing app offline (unpublish?). No grace period, no questions ask, just point blank removal from the store. I fixed this issue within minutes after getting informed about the removed from the store and submitted a new App binary to get a new review going.

Normally the reviews process in 1 day, this time it's approaching a week now. All this time our app is still offline.

At the moment we're getting lots of questions from potential new customers that can't find our app since we're approach a week of being unpublished.

My question: is it legitimate for Google to remove your app from the store without grace period when your privacy policy URL can't be reached? To me this seems like a crazy practice, especially if you consider that they are only checking these URL's during an app update review, and then removing your EXISTING app from the store.

I e-mailed Google appeal board this to get clarification on this lightly taken desicion to take our company down.


Can you tell me what is the official procedure for removing out of the play store. So for some reason the reviewing employee couldn't access the privacy policy and decided, without any grace period or any question asked, to remove the app from the store completely.

This happened twice already. Can you imagine how frustrating this is to a start-up that tries to build a winning app? To be off-line, getting lots of questions from users? Or has Google become this kind of organization that can't reflect on their own practices anymore and we have to deal with Google as a unpredictable black box that can decide to remove your app for any reason at any time without even asking a question?

Could you please really respond to this, and more importantly escalate this to management, because I really think this is a big 'sin' and it happened 2 times to me already. This never happened to us with Apple by the way where our app is listed as well.

Since my app is in review now which can take up to 7 days, can you at least make sure my last version of the app is back in the stores ASAP, that is removed for NO reason?

I just hope to get clarification if this is a common practice or that this was a mistake from an employee, I hope it's the latter one and appropriate actions are taken towards the employee. You can't take out business whenever you want.

There reply just stunned me. I have no words.

Thanks for your reply. We can process an app deletion only if the app meets all of the following criteria:

  • App must be in good standing (not rejected, removed, or suspended)

  • App must have 0 lifetime installs

  • App must not be in review

  • App must be unpublished for 24 hours

As the status of your app is “pending”, we are not able to delete com.kiter at this time.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns about the Play Console.

Instead of responding to my complaint/concerns they are sarcastically interpreting my question as if I'm asking to get my app completely deleted. So yes, Google has become this company where detached robot people are executing boring jobs, not giving a single shit about their actual customers.

My question, is Google in the wrong here and can I sue them with good chances for illegitimate app removal + the financial impact of that on our company?

  • 2
    I sincerely doubt that their response is motivated by sarcasm. I suspect rather that it is the result of carelessness or perhaps a faulty algorithm.
    – phoog
    Aug 3, 2022 at 21:39
  • @phoog Yea, this is just the wrong reply template. But if all their complaint e-mails are answered either by a bot or by careless employees, I would consider that bad faith.
    – PMF
    Aug 4, 2022 at 6:26
  • Did Google Play Store re-publish your app now ? or is your app still off-line ? Dec 30, 2022 at 22:15

1 Answer 1


No, they did not. Yes, you can sue them but you won’t win

You agreed that they could do this in clause 8.3 of your contract:

If Google becomes aware and determines in its sole discretion that a Product or any portion thereof (a) violates any applicable law; (b) violates this Agreement, applicable policies, or other terms of service, as may be updated by Google from time to time; (c) violates terms of distribution agreements with device manufacturers and Authorized Providers; or (d) creates potential liability for, or may have an adverse impact on, Google or Authorized Providers (for example, if a Product has an adverse economic, reputational or security-related impact); then Google may reject, remove, suspend, limit the visibility of a Product on Google Play, or reclassify the Product from Google Play or from Devices.

The power to determine if your app does this lies solely with Google. "Sole discretion" is a term of art which is no obligation on Google to act reasonably. Indeed, they may act arbitrarily - that is, they do not have to treat you the same as anyone else nor do they have to offer you procedural fairness/natural justice/due process. It also removes any obligation on Google to act in good faith.

However, they may not act in bad faith - that is, they cannot act maliciously.

So, unless they are deliberately persecuting you, then if they decide you broke the rules then you broke the rules.

  • Given the market power of Google (and the fact that you must publish any app with them) a court may well rule that this statement abuses that power and is void. You need a good lawyer to go that path, though.
    – PMF
    Aug 4, 2022 at 6:18
  • Thanks a lot, yeah sounds like a sad truth I have to deal with. In the meanwhile our business is still offline and they don't respond to Appeals. Let's see if this at some point is going to turn into bad faith.. Guess have to give them couple more days :(
    – HerbertV
    Aug 4, 2022 at 7:34
  • @HerbertV be aware - legal action will take months at a minimum.
    – Dale M
    Aug 4, 2022 at 8:28
  • @HerbertV, a lot more than a few days. AFAIK both google Apple have procedures where some errors force an app to re-start the review process from scratch, with no right to jump the queue.
    – o.m.
    Aug 4, 2022 at 15:48

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