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Apple Faces Class-Action Suit For In-App Purchases 283

Posted by Soulskill
from the deposit-three-slashbucks-to-continue-reading dept.
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "Garen Meguerian and a team of lawyers are taking Apple to task for 'inducing' children to spend hundreds of dollars of their parents' money on in-app game purchases. Meguerian filed a class-action lawsuit this week in California, acknowledging that Apple has already addressed the problem, but saying that the company continues to unfairly profit from sales of virtual 'smurfberries' and 'fish bucks.' The issue at hand is related to games that rely on a 'freemium' business model, giving away the game for free on the App Store and relying on in-app purchases of virtual currency, extra levels, or other add-ons as a revenue stream."
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Apple Faces Class-Action Suit For In-App Purchases

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  • Re:Easy Way Out (Score:4, Informative)

    by cptdondo (59460) on Friday April 15, 2011 @05:21PM (#35833570) Journal

    OTOH I've had my kids' phones "virused" with pay-per-month crap... The invitation is sent as a text, and it's the typical "Hey check this out!" and all the kid has to do is reply. Bang! $10/month for ever for a monthly fortune. I don't know what stuff Apple was pulling, but certainly the texts my kids got were deceiving and not clear. And T-Mobile was complicit in allowing these operators to continue, no doubt getting a big slice of the action. I asked my daughter if she ever subscribed intentionally; she didn't even know she had subscribed. And T-Mobile admitted when I bitched about it that the come-on was often deceptive.

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday April 15, 2011 @05:30PM (#35833698) Homepage

    From the complaint: "The sale of an App and/or Game Currency is a transaction between Apple and the consumer. There is no privity between the user and the developer of the App...."

    They're so right. Remember how Apple won't approve apps which do transactions that don't go through Apple? This is where that bites Apple. Apple is the seller, and the developers are its suppliers. There's no contractual relationship between the consumer and the developer. ("Privity" refers to the legal concept that if A has a contract with B, and B has a contract with C, A does not have a contract with C.)

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday April 15, 2011 @05:31PM (#35833724) Homepage Journal

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    With chocolate and stuff!

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    You bought a cookie!
    It was nummy!
    Your pet wuvs oo!
     
    Buy another?

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    Charging $483.75 to account.

    +_+

  • Re:Easy Way Out (Score:3, Informative)

    by Drakino (10965) <{ten.ofniinim} {ta} {todhsals_d}> on Friday April 15, 2011 @05:37PM (#35833806) Journal

    I don't know what stuff Apple was pulling

    From Day 1, Apple has had parental controls that can disable the ability to make any App Store purchases on the device. And by default the phone would ask for the iTunes password whenever a new app was downloaded. The problem initially is that in app purchases didn't require a password every time. Apple has since corrected that.

    Outside of that, Apple has done nothing. App developers are the ones putting in the in app purchases and promoting them in a way that children were getting to them. There may be some liability since Apple does have a curated app store, but it's going to be hard to prove intent that Apple was in any way doing this intentionally.

  • Re:Bad parenting (Score:4, Informative)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday April 15, 2011 @05:45PM (#35833914) Journal

    An obvious problem with all these "stupid parent posts" is that these kids in most jurisdictions can't enter contracts without the consent of their parents or guardians, so I'm curious as to why everyone is saying "stupid parent", when they should be saying "stupid Apple lawyers".

  • Re:Bad parenting (Score:3, Informative)

    by macs4all (973270) on Friday April 15, 2011 @06:06PM (#35834146)

    An obvious problem with all these "stupid parent posts" is that these kids in most jurisdictions can't enter contracts without the consent of their parents or guardians, so I'm curious as to why everyone is saying "stupid parent", when they should be saying "stupid Apple lawyers".

    Um, because parents, as ADULTS, are expected to have the requisite judgment to not simply allow unfettered access to their bank accounts by their children?

    Apple promptly fixed this loophole when the "child abuse" (see what I did there?) was uncovered. It was one of those, in retrospect, "ease-of-use over security" decisions, and Apple, to their credit (no pun), promptly fixed their usability-hole problem, so the issue would be done and over with.

    There was no willful and wanton attempt by Apple to defraud or fleece consumers. If anyone deserves your ire, it should ultimately be the greedy App developers, not one of whom, AFAIK, has refunded a single penny of those in-app purchases that THEY DID NOT PUT REASONABLE LIMITS ON THEMSELVES.

    And yes, the parents share at least some of the blame, for using their iOS devices as nothing more than a glorified pacifier/electronic restraint (like "chemical restraint") system.

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