Apple Has To Pay Back Parents Whose Kids Bought Stuff In iPhone Games

Illustration for article titled Apple Has To Pay Back Parents Whose Kids Bought Stuff In iPhone Games

Apple will pay at least $32.5 million and change its billing practices in order to settle complaints over children racking up in-app purchases in iPhone games without their parents consent. The Federal Trade Commission announced the agreement today.

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The $32.5 million figure is a minimum refund amount to consumers and not a fine. Last summer, Apple settled a class action lawsuit in which it promised to refund purchases made by children either mistakenly or without consent. The deadline for making those claims expired on Monday.

In an internal memo sent to Apple employees today, CEO Tim Cook said the FTC's complaint "smacked of double jeopardy," and noted that the agreement "does not require us to do anything we weren't already going to do." That is why the company chose to settle the complaint, he said.

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Apple, says the FTC, "will be required to change its billing practices to ensure that it has obtained express, informed consent from consumers before charging them for items sold in mobile apps."

The company had long fielded complaints from parents who discovered their kids had racked up huge bills for in-app purchases that needed little, if no verification to complete.

By March 31, Apple must not only ensure that it has customers' consent prior to billing them for in-app purchases, but also "if the company gets consumers' consent for future charges, consumers must have the option to withdraw their consent at any time."

The FTC alleged Apple violated the law by failing to notify parents that by entering a password, not only were they approving the immediate in-app purchase, but all in-app purchases made for the next 15 minutes, without additional action.

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"This settlement is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple's unfair billing, and a signal to the business community: whether you're doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. "You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize."

Apple Inc. Will Provide Full Consumer Refunds of At Least $32.5 Million to Settle FTC Complaint It Charged for Kids' In-App Purchases Without Parental Consent [FTC]

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image via The Examiner

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DISCUSSION

As I expected after reading the title alone. The comments are filled with rage against parents as if their sole purpose in life is to be tied to their children 24/7 x 365 days a year.

I don’t have children either, yet I haven’t forgotten how difficult it was for my parents to keep watch over me and my siblings. Unless Alzheimer’s starts hitting at a young age, in which case the guys who have forgotten are excused.

Before complaining and shouting “oh they should not have allowed automatic purchase” read the original lawsuit. Parents did their due diligence and required a password. Their kids came to them and said daddy/mommy can you download this game for me? They checked the game, made sure it was ok, then downloaded it for their child and let them play with it, thinking everything is fine. The issue was Apple kept the login credentials for a few more minutes unbeknownst to parents. During the game the children got popups to purchase items and they clicked yes and login credentials were not asked for again. The original lawsuit forced Apple to make changes their App purchases.

And give parents a break, don’t be a selfish entitled snob. They have full time jobs, have to pick up and drop their kids to school, do shipping, make food, wash clothes, help them with homework, work around the house … etc etc. Their moment of peace is when their kids are safe at home, but now we expect them to be around their kids every time they access the internet, every time they watch TV, every time they play a game …

Seriously this current generation is ridiculously selfish.