I think it was actually a good move by Google because of all the scam sites out there. They did the same thing in the past to locksmiths.
If I am not mistaken, there is a way for businesses to get qualified to run ads. It's not just the big guys. And the change has nothing to do with HP, Apple, etc. trying to get rid of the little guys. Google made the decision, and the last thing they want to do is help Apple.
The reason companies like Best Buy can still run ads is because they are easily verified by Google.
As for refunding the customer, why in the hell would they do that? If an ad was not approved, there is nothing to refund. If ads were run in the past, they got their money's worth.