Posts Tagged ‘ Apple ’

Apple to Refund Millions for Apps Purchased by Kids

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Kids who purchased apps for their iPhones, iPods, or iPads without their parents’ permission have provoked the ire of not only their parents, but also the Federal Trade Commission, which has ordered Apple to refund at least $32.5 million to families.  More from The Washington Post:

The Federal Trade Commission’s settlement with Apple is the first punishment handed to a major tech company over the handling of children’s apps. It comes amid growing concern that as children clamor to use mobile devices, companies are doing little to protect their privacy or provide parents with the tools to supervise online behavior.

Apple drew the attention of FTC investigators nearly three years ago after a storm of consumer complaints from parents who were surprised by charges on their credit cards when their children used games such as Tap Pet Hotel and Smurf’s Village. These parents complained to regulators and joined a separate class-action lawsuit against Apple that claimed the company had approved games in its iTunes store that enticed children to buy virtual coins or “smurfberries” for real money — as much as $500 per item — without making sure the games had safeguards.

The FTC said Apple unfairly deceived consumers by allowing unlimited in-app purchases for a 15-minute period without telling users of the policy. Normally, any charges on Apple’s iOS operating system require users to enter a password to prevent accidental or unauthorized purchases.

Some parents reported that their young children had racked up thousands of dollars in charges.

“This settlement is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple’s unfair billing and a signal to the business community,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “You cannot charge consumers for charges they did not authorize.”

Image: Kid on tablet device, via Shutterstock

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Apple to Pay Back Parents $100M From Kids’ Unauthorized In-App Spending

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Apple is responsible for paying $100 million to parents whose children made unauthorized purchases in game apps, under the terms of a class-action settlement that was originally filed in 2011, according to ABC News.

There have since been multiple stories of children going on buying sprees on their parents’ iPhone and iPad applications where they are purchasing imaginary goods and services offered by some game apps. In one instance, an 8-year-old girl bought $1,400 worth of “Smurfberries” in the Smurf Village game app.

This issue was brought to the attention of the Federal Trade Commission. Parents protested that the children playing these games may not be aware that the virtual coins or tokens used to buy imaginary goods through apps must be paid for by their parents with real money. Apple has since made changes to it’s policy that makes it more difficult for kids to charge their parents’ iTunes accounts without parental consent.

As a result of the settlement, parents may submit a claim through a special “Apple In-App Purchase Litigation” website prior to August 30, 2013. Claims from parents whose children accrued unauthorized charges of $30 or less will result in compensation for the parent in the form of $5 in iTunes Store credit or $5 cash if they no longer have an account. For claims exceeding $30, parents must also submit the date and amount of each purchase. Any U.S. citizen is eligible for compensation if the charge was accrued by a minor acting without the parent’s consent through a qualified app prior to May 2, 2013.

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