Apple to Refund $32.5M to Settle FTC Issue with Kids’ In-App Purchases

Apple to Refund $32.5M to Settle FTC Issue with Kids’ In-App PurchasesApple has agreed to provide full refunds to consumers, at least $32.5 million, to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint that the tech giant billed younger users for kids’ mobile apps without their parents’ consent.
Under the  settlement, Apple also 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.
“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,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.  “You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize.”
The FTC’s complaint alleges that Apple violated the FTC Act by failing to tell parents that by entering a password they were approving a single in-app purchase. There was also the issue of the 15 minutes of additional unlimited purchases their children could make without further action by the parent.
Apple offers many kids’ apps in its App Store that allow users to incur charges within the apps.  Many of these charges are for virtual items or currency used in playing a game.
These charges generally range from 99 cents to $99.99 per in-app charge.
The complaint alleges that Apple does not inform account holders that entering their password will open a 15-minute window in which children can incur unlimited charges with no further action from the account holder.

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