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Apple Settles In-App Purchase Lawsuit, Offers iTunes Credits and Refunds to Parents

NewImageApple has settled a lawsuit brought in 2011 after children ran up hundreds of dollars in spending on in-app purchases in freemium games.

The company will give iTunes credits to parents who claim their minor bought in-app items without permission and the option of cash refunds for claims over $30.

Reports GigaOm:
The proposed settlement comes after parents sued Apple in 2011 upon discovering that their minor children had racked up credit card charges in supposedly free games. The issue was the subject of a Daily Show feature about a father whose kids racked up hundreds of dollars to keep virtual fish alive in a game called “Tap Fish.”


In order to collect under the settlement, Apple users will have to attest that a minor bought “game currency” and that the user did not provide the minor with the Apple password.
The FTC looked into parental concerns over in-app purchases, but apparently let the lawsuit run its course before acting. The agency has examined other issues with kids using mobile apps, particularly around privacy. Late last year, the agency expanded the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act to cover mobile games and social media.

Apple will send email notices to the 23 million iTunes account holders who are affected by the settlement. The full settlement document is available on Scribd.

The company began requiring passwords for in-app purchases in iOS 4.3, soon after concerns over unauthorized purchases came to light. In-app purchases can now also be shut off entirely.

Top Rated Comments

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88 months ago
"but I gave my child full access to my phone, and my child did something I didn't want my child to do. WAHHHHHHH IT'S YOUR FAULT APPLE"
Rating: 44 Votes
88 months ago
How is this Apple's fault?
Rating: 32 Votes
88 months ago

More like parenting fail. I rarely am on Apple's side on some issues, but this is one where parenting needs to happen. Things as common as telling your kids, don't buy stuff even if its the game are common sense.

Parenting now a days is easier than ever and yet, parents keep finding the blame anywhere but themselves.

it's not as straightforward as that.

Many games were designed to take advantage of this fact by making the in-app-purchase deceptively easy to purchase, and it not being very clear that real money was being charged (since no password was required).

Rating: 26 Votes
88 months ago

Why can't there be an option to disable in-app purchases?

Did you read the article? There is that option now, but there wasn't at first.

I think this is partially Apple's responsibility, since they weren't requesting a password when the in-app purchasing feature was first added, making it too easy for kids to make unauthorized purchases.
Rating: 24 Votes
88 months ago
Parents out there

Stop spoiling your kids!

Go throw them outside and let them play for Christ sake!

Why back in my days we'd play till it got dark not on our devices.
Rating: 23 Votes
88 months ago

How much of this is just bad parenting?

At least 95%
Rating: 21 Votes
88 months ago
I think some of you guys and gals maybe be jumping the gun without giving it much thought.

There are parents out there that have multiple devices but share the same iTunes account on these same devices. This allows you to buy an app one time but it automatically installs on all devices depending on your settings. Buying an app in the app store requires a password before the purchase and this password is usually kept from the kids.

Now that we covered the bases, there are many free apps out there that have in app purchases available. Reading this article, it sounds like a kid can just go in some apps and purchase something without being prompted for a password using the default iTunes account. Guess what? That crap is NOT COOL and NOT THE PARENTS FAULT.

Settings should be put in place to prevent that from happening going forward. Disabling in-app purchases is a start but purchasing in-app should be the same as a normal purchase to begin with.
Rating: 19 Votes
88 months ago
How much of this is just bad parenting?
Rating: 17 Votes
88 months ago

So if you let a child drive a car and they wreck it you can take it back to the dealer for a refund? So sick of the lack of personal responsibility that's been a trend over the last decade. If you or your dependents screw up it's your fault, own up to it.

Exactly, because, i mean, clearly letting a 5 year old drive a car is on EXACTLY the same moral plane as saying "yes you can play dress-up dolly on my phone". Exactly the same thing.

Why don't all you nuts try this.

Exact same situation but replace "Apple" with "Samsung" or "Android"

Oooohhhh those evil companies are taking advantage of people. They are horrible blah blah blah...
Rating: 16 Votes
88 months ago

Sorry, but thats BS. If you hand a payment method to a child, you shouldn't be surprised when they buy something. Thats the parents fault.

The phone by itself shouldn't be a payment method is the arguement. And it isn't now. It was before, but only in one specific instance which certain developers optimized for, in the hopes of tricking some kids into buying things.

These weren't "accidental" purchases on the part of many of the app developers, but carefully crafted in app buying guided experiences.

Rating: 16 Votes

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