Apple has settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to pay $32.5 million in refunds for unauthorized, in-app purchases.
The settlement will be used to refund customers who were subjected to unauthorized in-app purchases from Apple’s App Store. Apple has until the end of the year to refund customers and if the minimum is not met, the remainder will go directly to the FTC. Apple also has until March 31 to change it’s app features to require consent for all in-app purchases.
The problem arose with Apple’s 15 minute window that allowed users to make purchases without requiring a password. The intent was to make purchasing less of a hassle for users; however, kids were able to use the time to buy apps or in-game purchases without parental consent.
The kick-start to the complaint came in February 2011 when Stephanie Kay received a bill for $1,400 in Smurfberrie purchases for the iPad game, Smurf Village. A game Kay’s daughter, Madison, had accidentally built up not knowing the free-to-play game’s in-app purchases cost real money.
“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
Source: The Escapist