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Apple offers $5 to parents after children rack up in-app bills

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By Reuters and Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 26 Feb 2013 at 10:00

Apple has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by US customers who were charged when their children racked up bills for in-app payments.

According to a court filing, Apple has proposed a settlement that would see the company offer a $5 iTunes store credit or cash to account holders who were stung by more than $30 when their children racked up big bills in so-called "bait apps", where virtual currency purchases cost real money.

The settlement could mean Apple paying out as much as $100m. The company said notice of the payment would be sent to 23 million account holders who bought the apps in question.

The lawsuit, originally filed by five parents in 2011, involved allegations surrounding purchases in certain apps, which plaintiffs claim were made by children without the knowledge or permission of the account holder.

The lawsuit also alleged that "Apple failed to adequately disclose that third-party game apps, largely available for free and rated as containing content suitable for children, contained the ability to make in-app purchases."

The proposed settlement requires court approval, with a court due to hear the settlement on 1 March.

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User comments

Talk about getting off lightly.

The settlement could mean Apple paying out as little as $100m for actively allowing these companies to steal billions. Being evil clearly pays well.

By tirons1 on 26 Feb 2013

Free games, but....

Almost every new game is of the 'Free, with optional purchases' model. No dilemma there. The problem is twofold - You won't get very far (or it'll take years) in-game without making purchases, which are always highly-priced (you don't get much for a lot of cash). And secondly it is too simple to 'click-and-buy', sometimes not even requiring an Account Password for example, making kids fair-game to be milked. But the model must be working very nicely for the Game Companies, as another side-effect is constant pop-up offers for their other 'free' games, and these are (to me) worse than the early days of Browser pop-ups, when your screen could fill up with windows quicker than you could close them! It would be hard to blame Apple for the games 'attitude', except for the fact they control the 'acceptance' of programs in the Appstore, and also all payments go through Apple, so they are skimming all the cream off the top. So yes, its entirely Apples fault these programs are even available.

By Wilbert3 on 28 Feb 2013

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