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Apple Will Refund $32.5M To Settle In-App Purchase Complaints With FTC 252

coondoggie writes "Apple today agreed to refund at least $32.5 million to iTunes customers in order to settle FTC complaints about charges incurred by children in kids' mobile apps without their parents' consent. 'As alleged in the Commission's complaint, Apple violated this basic principle by failing to inform parents that, by entering a password, they were permitting a charge for virtual goods or currency to be used by their child in playing a children's app and at the same time triggering a 15-minute window during which their child could make unlimited additional purchases without further parental action."
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Apple Will Refund $32.5M To Settle In-App Purchase Complaints With FTC

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  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @06:33PM (#45970281) Homepage

    When I buy an app and discover it is a steaming turd, I should be able to click to remove it and get a refund within 15 minutes. That way the parent should see the charges and then reverse them easily. Granted if the parent is too stupid to check why they are getting 30 email alerts in a row after little johnny jumped on the ipad... That's their own fault.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @07:09PM (#45970639) Homepage Journal

    Because everyone is required to have a constant, always on internet connection tethered to them every moment of their lives?

    Haven't met anyone under the age of 30 lately, have you?

    Like in particular kids. If they can't, like, stay connected then they would simply die, like!

    I'm sitting at an intersection watching high school kids go by and at least 60% of the girls have a phone in their hand, which they are looking at.

    There's a skyrocketing market for behavior modification counselling if ever there was one.

    so, you think Justin's egg throwing was merited and you had to share that with all your friends ... let's work on why that is so important to you ...

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @07:09PM (#45970641)

    why need an password for free apps? needs more control like say no password for free / updates and or an pin / password for buying stuff.

    I think cable vod systems now have the free stuff not need to use the same buy screen with a price of 0 that PPV VOD gets.


  • by jmcbain ( 1233044 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @07:11PM (#45970661)
    Perhaps you should have applied better parental supervision and not just check up on him after "a couple months later." Apple is not in the business of being your child's parent.
  • by david_thornley ( 598059 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @07:16PM (#45970709)

    When doing something that I knew would bore my young son, I'd often give him something to do. If I'd had an iPhone back then, I would have sometimes found a game I thought he'd like and hand it over. I wouldn't monitor him closely in those situations; if I were going to pay that much attention to him, I wouldn't need something to distract him.

    Now, suppose I downloaded and paid for a game. Game purchase authorized. What Apple didn't in general tell people is that that authorization would last past the initial purpose, unless the user dug deep in Settings to turn that feature off. What the game app probably didn't say was that it had in-app purchases that would be tempting to young children. It would be really, really easy for a parent to think he or she was handing something safe to the child without realizing it. Note that, given situations that involve young children, spending five minutes to research something that appears safe isn't always going to happen.

    Young children don't understand money. Enough adults have problems thinking of credit purchases as actually spending money on something. I distinctly remember not understanding money as anything except bills and coins.

    I have absolutely no sympathy with people who write apps like this, that are designed to siphon money from busy parents who don't fully understand technicalities.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @07:25PM (#45970787)

    You need money in your iTunes account to download a free app.

    Bullshit. You do not need any money (CC#, gift card, or otherwise) attached to your Apple ID to download free apps.

    He got very upset and pleaded with me that he had only downloaded free app and he had not gone crazy downloading high priced junk.

    I was able to generate a detailed listing of his iTunes purchases. All the gift card money has been spent on in-game purchases. He had no idea that he was purchasing anything. He showed me. The game would ask if the player wanted something (more time, more bullets, more lives, etc.) and ask for the AppleID password. It was entirely unclear that he was spending real money.

    Bullshit. From the start, in-app purchases popped up a notification confirming the purchase, with the dollar amount right there in the confirmation [].

    No sales receipt was ever generated.

    Bullshit. Apple sends purchase receipts (for apps, in-app purchases, everything) to the primary email address you registered with the Apple ID.

    This here is a perfect example of how stupid and inattentive a parent had to be to allow a kid to rack up crazy charges. You put money on your kids account, and gave him full access to spend it all - and, despite notifications that he was spending actual money (which he and, apparently, YOU both clicked through without even reading), he went ahead and spent it all. And now you're whining about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @07:30PM (#45970829)

    Aww cmon,
    Apple has to specifically approve every App. A few moments playing with those apps would reveal some of the most devious price gouging tactics used, eg; what was it $25 USD for happy berries for smurfs? A game targeted specifically at children.
    Then there was copious amounts of news coverage of these types of Apps - highlighting the dubiously targeted child purchases.
    Are you really thinking that Apple didn't know of these purchases? And that their accountants didn't notice the percentages of each purchase they were accumulating? And that they weren't aware of such unethical immoral behaviour by app developers?

  • by immaterial ( 1520413 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @07:46PM (#45970981)

    I know I can't figure out my AT&T bill, no matter how I try. I imagine Apple has imitated that art.

    It is truly complicated [].

  • by dk20 ( 914954 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:34PM (#45972245)
    Spoken as a parent?

    So your logic is apple has no fault here even though they approve every app, and these apps with in-app purchases are approved for kids?

    I know, apple is settling because they are correct but feel like handing over some money to reduce their cash balances and its in their shareholders interest?
    PS. There is a huge difference between "owes you money" and "a refund".

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?