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Old Feb 25, 2013, 06:20 PM   #1
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Apple Settles In-App Purchase Lawsuit, Offers iTunes Credits and Refunds to Parents




Apple has settled a lawsuit brought in 2011 after children ran up hundreds of dollars in spending on in-app purchases in freemium games.

The company will give iTunes credits to parents who claim their minor bought in-app items without permission and the option of cash refunds for claims over $30.

Reports GigaOm:
Quote:
The proposed settlement comes after parents sued Apple in 2011 upon discovering that their minor children had racked up credit card charges in supposedly free games. The issue was the subject of a Daily Show feature about a father whose kids racked up hundreds of dollars to keep virtual fish alive in a game called "Tap Fish."

[...]

In order to collect under the settlement, Apple users will have to attest that a minor bought "game currency" and that the user did not provide the minor with the Apple password.
The FTC looked into parental concerns over in-app purchases, but apparently let the lawsuit run its course before acting. The agency has examined other issues with kids using mobile apps, particularly around privacy. Late last year, the agency expanded the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act to cover mobile games and social media.

Apple will send email notices to the 23 million iTunes account holders who are affected by the settlement. The full settlement document is available on Scribd.

The company began requiring passwords for in-app purchases in iOS 4.3, soon after concerns over unauthorized purchases came to light. In-app purchases can now also be shut off entirely.

Article Link: Apple Settles In-App Purchase Lawsuit, Offers iTunes Credits and Refunds to Parents
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 06:21 PM   #2
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How is this Apple's fault?
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 06:22 PM   #3
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"but I gave my child full access to my phone, and my child did something I didn't want my child to do. WAHHHHHHH IT'S YOUR FAULT APPLE"
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 06:24 PM   #4
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More like parenting fail. I rarely am on Apple's side on some issues, but this is one where parenting needs to happen. Things as common as telling your kids, don't buy stuff even if its the game are common sense.

Parenting now a days is easier than ever and yet, parents keep finding the blame anywhere but themselves.
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 06:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jav6454 View Post
More like parenting fail. I rarely am on Apple's side on some issues, but this is one where parenting needs to happen. Things as common as telling your kids, don't buy stuff even if its the game are common sense.

Parenting now a days is easier than ever and yet, parents keep finding the blame anywhere but themselves.
it's not as straightforward as that.

Many games were designed to take advantage of this fact by making the in-app-purchase deceptively easy to purchase, and it not being very clear that real money was being charged (since no password was required).

arn
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 06:56 PM   #6
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Ha, Apple's finally found a use for all it's excess cash!
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 07:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by arn View Post
it's not as straightforward as that.

Many games were designed to take advantage of this fact by making the in-app-purchase deceptively easy to purchase, and it not being very clear that real money was being charged (since no password was required).

arn
Thanks for that Arn. It looks like nobody here makes mistakes

I had this experience with an app that my daughter was using. She ran up about $60 in cost on both my phone and my mothers phone. I went into the app to see how it was possible and found it to be very easy and deceptive. They used language to make it seem like the money was "play money" to be used in the game.

I contacted Apple and they promptly refunded our money. Days later, the password requirement option and confirmation popup became mandatory so it never happened again. I just assumed they did this for everyone who was affected so I was a bit surprised to see that it went to a lawsuit.

All this from a responsible parent of above average children.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weerez935 View Post
They probably thought people who could afford a 700$ phone or a 2000$ contract wouldn't have a problem with a .99$ app.
The problem wasn't the $0.99 stuff, it was the $10, $20, $30 in app purchases that were able to be purchased without any password or confirmation. These apps were deliberately using language to get children to click on these purchases.
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 07:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by arn View Post
it's not as straightforward as that.

Many games were designed to take advantage of this fact by making the in-app-purchase deceptively easy to purchase, and it not being very clear that real money was being charged (since no password was required).

arn
THANK YOU Arn...!

So many Apple fanatics that don't know what the case was about, but still trash parents, assuming Apple is incapable of any mistakes or wrongdoing.

Why do you think Apple settled???

This was a sleazy tactic by many game developers. Apple knew about it for a long time, profited from it, and then tried to sneak out of its responsibility.

This is good news.
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 08:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arn View Post
it's not as straightforward as that.

Many games were designed to take advantage of this fact by making the in-app-purchase deceptively easy to purchase, and it not being very clear that real money was being charged (since no password was required).

arn
While that is true, I was still cautious about it. A parent should be even more cautious given that its your child. Like I said, blame is on parents. I don't blame Apple since in the end, the App Store has evolved as we learned and this wasn't something that was done by Apple on purpose, but by developers trying to make a quick penny.
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Old Feb 26, 2013, 06:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jav6454 View Post
Parenting now a days is easier than ever and yet, parents keep finding the blame anywhere but themselves.
Parenting is easy? As a parent I wish I could share your sentiment- yet it is so wrong in do many ways.
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Old Feb 26, 2013, 08:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by tigres View Post
Parenting is easy? As a parent I wish I could share your sentiment- yet it is so wrong in do many ways.
So tell me, being able to preblock channels and shows on TVs isn't making it easier? yet parenting groups still moan and cry when shows on the air do something not child friendly... screw logic apparently.

So many things allow parenting to be easy no a days. Don't know where your child is? Find my iPhone.
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 06:24 PM   #12
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How much of this is just bad parenting?
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 06:27 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by whammink View Post
How much of this is just bad parenting?
At least 95%
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Old Feb 26, 2013, 07:23 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by madsci954 View Post
At least 95%
What's the other 5%?

Orphans?
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 06:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by whammink View Post
How much of this is just bad parenting?
Yeah, but not suing Apple means you take responsibility for your own actions and children. Besides, Apple has deep pockets... they deserve to be sued!

Only in America!
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 06:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Squilly View Post
How is this Apple's fault?
It wasn't but it is now. Apple stored the credit card number and let children use the number without parent's approval.
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 08:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squilly View Post
How is this Apple's fault?
Apple gave no warning to parents about it. Sure I believe that it shouldn't be considered Apple's fault for that, but I also believe that you shouldn't be able to sue someone for falling down his stairs while you're robbing his house. But that's how it is in America.

----------

If my kid had an iOS device, I'd install the in-app purchase cracker and make all of them free so I don't have to deal with this.
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Old Feb 26, 2013, 02:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squilly View Post
How is this Apple's fault?
Who says it is Apple's fault? But when kids make in-app purchases, the money is collected by Apple, so if parents want to get the money back, it should be Apple refunding the money. Apple then has a contract with the developer and it's their problem getting the money back from the developer.

Every purchase is a contract. Someone who is underage can enter a contract, but the contract is voidable. If you sell to children, then the child or their guardian (usually the parents) can void the contract and you have to refund the money, with some exceptions which mean kids can use their pocket money. Kids making in-app purchases with the parents' credit card paying is surely a voidable contract where you can ask for a refund.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Batavian View Post
What's to prevent anyone from claiming this? Wouldn't this apply to any in app purchase? How would Apple know if it was the parent or kid that made the purchase?
Because the parent says it was the kid, and if they are lying to get their money back then it is fraud, which is a serious crime. So Apple would rely on their customers not being criminals. It's not "I ask Apple and they will pay me", it's "I commit the serious crime of fraud by lying to Apple, and they will pay me".

Last edited by gnasher729; Feb 26, 2013 at 02:50 AM.
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Old Feb 26, 2013, 03:52 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Squilly View Post
How is this Apple's fault?
exactly..

However, on the flip-side, i rented the movie Hitchcock from iTunes, i had buffering issues, terrible experience, totally un-playable.

I emailed Apple, and they actually game me back my money. (even though the movie played perfectly fine after) hehehe..

Point is, Apple is going against their own TOS....

They boast about, all fees/credits are final from In-App Purchases, iTunes & App Store, but they then end up refunding you of you tell then you have issues.

Totally un-belivable.

Talk about bending over backwards from the customer :P

I thought agreements were binding......... I guess when it comes to Apple, their not.

Personally, in this articles case, it should be the parent who knew what their kids would do.

Parental controls may have helped here, but if the kids are smart, they know how to turn them off... so .... basically, i guess anything is better than nothing, but really.. its useless in the end.

I wondered why the parents just didn't take the phone ? and or have their stuff on them ? Thats the real issue. I've never done in-app purchases, so i dunno, but wouldn't you need to confirm with CSV digits on the back of the card ? If so... flag#2 for parents.

By the way, to the above comment... didn't this happen before the in-app password was required in IOS ?, is not, then ya, a"better" password would have prevented this too.
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Last edited by Tech198; Feb 26, 2013 at 04:36 AM.
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Old Feb 26, 2013, 07:17 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squilly View Post
How is this Apple's fault?
Did you read the complaint that they filed? Me neither.

But my guess is that Apple was vulnerable, because the parents had good and convincing points. If not, it seems unlikely that Apple would have settled.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by MultiMediaWill View Post
Why can't there be an option to disable in-app purchases?
Because Apple makes higher profits that way? Any time you wonder why Apple does anything, that is the answer, every time.

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Originally Posted by ELMNT925 View Post
ohhh you mentioned christ.
Well, at least he didn't mention Quetzalcoatl or Odin. Now THAT would have been offensive!
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Old Feb 26, 2013, 07:22 AM   #21
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this reminds me of that segment on The Daily Show about Tap Fish

edit: found link

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/th...o-game-dealers

hilarious

----------

also it's not like iTunes credits costs them that much so this saves lots of money vs a lawsuit
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Old Feb 26, 2013, 10:09 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by iGrip View Post
Did you read the complaint that they filed? Me neither.

But my guess is that Apple was vulnerable, because the parents had good and convincing points. If not, it seems unlikely that Apple would have settled.
You really can't say that. Apple may have known they were in the right, as they changed the system to block such things if the parents had bothered to use the systems, refunded all the monies and added the whole 'top in app purchases' line as a big flag that there are in app purchase and so on. But the legal costs of making these arguments would have been more than settling and giving everyone that didn't get their full money back a pay out. Thus they settled

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by samcraig View Post

Parents SHOULD always keep tabs on their children and what apps they install/have access to. I don't think anyone would argue that point. That's completely irrelevant to the actual issue here.
No,that is very relevant to the issue. Saying parents should keep tabs in their kids but that doesn't matter to this issue when it was in some cases the major factor is like saying parents shouldn't be dumping their kids at the mall to hangout but if they do and the kid is arrested for shoplifting the parents aren't to blame for not watching their kids. If you should be supervising your kid you should be supervising your kid, period.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by samcraig View Post
.

The bottom line is - the purchasing process was flawed. Even if you want to argue parenting - it doesn't change the fact that their was a flawed purchasing process.
The system was only 'flawed' because it didn't take into account parents handing their devices to their kids and not bothering to turn on restrictions, log out of iTunes and/or pay attention.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beesneeze View Post
Except for the In app purchases (I had no idea what they were, and there is no explanation in the control panel)
The word 'purchases' didn't give you pause and make you find out what it meant before you handed a logged in account to a young child? Sorry but that makes it not Apple's fault.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beesneeze View Post
or why just make parental controls more intuitive to use? Is there any parent in the world who would seriously consider giving a child a credit card? Perhaps, but they are a very rare breed. All they need to do is make it so when you chose to set up parental controls, that the default is to have in app purchasing off. Those with money to burn can turn it on if they want.
Even better idea. Make parental controls all on by default. Then when you prove to Apple that you are a mature adult who understands how to use your account they will tell you the password to turn it on and off yourself.

If the word purchase doesn't make you realize money etc then you are to blame when you leave it in and your kid takes advantage
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Old Feb 26, 2013, 08:03 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Squilly View Post
How is this Apple's fault?
It's not, it's a parenting problem. Personal responsibility is a dying art.
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Old Feb 26, 2013, 08:08 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by phillipduran View Post
It's not, it's a parenting problem. Personal responsibility is a dying art.
Except your logic falls apart when you consider that the same issue occurs if you lend your iPad or iPhone to a buddy to play a game and they purposely (or not) rack up charges on your card.

Bad parenting?

Too easy of an excuse - and smoke and mirrors.

The bottom line is - the purchasing process was flawed. Even if you want to argue parenting - it doesn't change the fact that their was a flawed purchasing process.
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Old Feb 26, 2013, 08:21 AM   #25
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Except your logic falls apart when you consider that the same issue occurs if you lend your iPad or iPhone to a buddy to play a game and they purposely (or not) rack up charges on your card.

Bad parenting?

Too easy of an excuse - and smoke and mirrors.

The bottom line is - the purchasing process was flawed. Even if you want to argue parenting - it doesn't change the fact that their was a flawed purchasing process.
The purchasing process may be flawed, but people still need to take responsibility for their actions, including the actions of others to whom they have lended their possessions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flat five View Post
it would be neat to see you explain how this is a parenting problem.. in a way that shows you actually know what the original post is about.
It's no different than if you lend your car to your buddy who doesn't have sufficient insurance and then gets into an auto accident. You then become liable (at least in my state). Same with lending a friend anything, e.g., a lawn mower. If they use the lawn mower but damage it, whether through neglect or through normal use, you don't sue your friend. You accept (in advance) that this might happen and you fix it. If your friend is really a person of integrity, then that person will offer to (pay to) fix or to help (pay to) fix the problem. When you let someone use something you own, you assume partial responsibility for that person and are in essence vouching for that person. If you don't want that risk, don't lend out your possessions.
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Last edited by Val-kyrie; Feb 26, 2013 at 08:24 AM. Reason: Response to wrong quote
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