Customers in the EU making purchases through Apple's iTunes can now return songs, films and books and obtain a refund without giving a reason following changes to its terms and conditions.

Apple reportedly changed its returns policy to bring the company in line with EU regulations which say customers must be able to withdraw from online purchases within 14 days without giving a reason.

An online music magazine has raised fears it could lead to music fans manipulating the music charts by downloading copies of their favourite artist's single or album in a bid to boost them to number one before returning it a week later.

Previously, refunds were made on a case-by-case basis and when accompanied with a good reason, but now customers will not have to explain the reason for their return via its "report a problem" page.

The terms and conditions on the iTunes website now read: "Right of cancellation: If you choose to cancel your order, you may do so within 14 days from when you received your receipt without giving any reason, except iTunes Gifts which cannot be refunded once you have redeemed the code.

"To meet the cancellation deadline, you must send your communication of cancellation before the 14-day period has expired.

"Effects of cancellation: We will reimburse you no later than 14 days from the day on which we receive your cancellation notice. We will use the same means of payment as you used for the transaction, and you will not incur any fees for such reimbursement."

It adds: "Exception to the right of cancellation: You cannot cancel your order for the supply of digital content if the delivery has started upon your request and acknowledgement that you thereby lose your cancellation right."

Under the EU's former directive on consumer rights, people who bought items online had a seven-day "cooling off period".

Music magazine PopJustice questioned whether the new terms and conditions could create a chance to manipulate the music charts.

It said: "iTunes' new rule means Union J - and it probably would be Union J - could put an album on sale on Monday morning.

"Union J's more ambivalent fans (which seems to be most of them) could buy that album during its first week on sale, knowing that they'll be able to get their money back. The album would go to Number One on the Sunday.

"The following Monday, Union J's fans could each get a full refund. What are the Official Charts Company going to do? Recall the previous week's chart? Union J have a Number One album."

However, it added: "In theory, though, this new ruling should ultimately have a positive impact on pop, and all music. If artists and labels know that consumers can and will return a rubbish album, that should mean they attempt to make better music."