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Old Dec 13, 2011, 09:29 AM   #26
FightPocketGems
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In app purchases by kids violate FTC rules

Pocket Gems game Travel Zoo 2 appears to be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), 15 U.S.C. §§ 6501-6508, in 1998. COPPA contains a requirement that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission) issue and enforce a rule concerning children’s online privacy, which the Commission did in 1999. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule, 16 C.F.R. Part 312, became effective on April 21, 2000.

Pocket Gems Travel Zoo 2 is targeted at children below the age of 13. Apple appears to be complicit with Pocket Gems in this violation and may also be liable. The game encourages little kids to provide private information--a credit card number--without clear parental consent.

Here is a link for more information:

http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/coppafaqs.shtm

It explains how to file a complaint with the FTC. I am looking into class action possibilities and will post relevant details later.
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Old Jan 18, 2012, 11:17 AM   #27
sully12
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Has everyone received reimbursement for unauthorized purchases regarding Tap Zoo? My daughter unknowingly purchased $300 of gems & coins. I emailed itunes but street wise labs cannot be contacted. Can anyone help me?
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Old Jan 18, 2012, 10:30 PM   #28
ViperDesign
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Originally Posted by sully12 View Post
Has everyone received reimbursement for unauthorized purchases regarding Tap Zoo? My daughter unknowingly purchased $300 of gems & coins. I emailed itunes but street wise labs cannot be contacted. Can anyone help me?
I got a reply to my email quickly and was refunded fully.
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Old Jan 21, 2012, 07:38 PM   #29
iEvolution
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As tight as apple is with the app submission program they sure let blantant scams in, there are many games that have nearly nothing without paying an arm and a leg with in app purchases.

Quite frankly I don't think games should even have in app purchases they ruin the fun and some games make it impossible to further progress without buying points.

Its even worse when the app itself already costs money. Talk about nickel and diming customers.
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Old Jan 22, 2012, 03:24 AM   #30
neversink
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it shows where Apple is going...

I am a big fan of Apple computers... but it shows me where Apple is heading as the largest corporation in the world....

They are tossing out their professional applications like final cut pro, where they are way behind the curve by abandoning upgrades to this professional video software. They have lost so many professional television, movie and independent film producers to Avid and Premier because of this. Aperture upgrades more and more look like iPhoto. Rumor has it the Mac Pro is headed for oblivion.

Apple has chosen to protect scurrilous app developers like those who make Tap zoo over the rights of children. They have chosen to keep in-App purchase on their iPods and iPads on as a default, allowing unsuspecting children to rack up credit card bills for unsuspecting parents.

Apple has also chosen this route over developing and enhancing their professional line of software. You would think that even though the profit margin may not be as great on software as it is on an App or on an iPod or iPad, that given their cash flow and overall profit, Apple would not want to risk losing professional clients. But unfortunately they already have.

I am disgusted with Apple and I was one of their biggest fans... Oh well.... They are now the largest corporation in the world. What else could we expect????
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 01:02 PM   #31
germanyuser
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Angry Same Problem, Different App

I just Googled "Tiny Zoo Complaints" and got to this thread. We got charged $363 in the summer of 2011 for coins in Tiny Zoo, which is made by TinyCo in SF. My son is allowed to click on Apps which are Free, after checking with me about the content. His iPod Touch was brand new and like others, I am not computer illiterate but did not know of the "dangers" of in-App purchases. When I got the credit card bill and freaked out, he showed me how the coins were listed as "400% FREE", in normal-sized, bold font, and in very small font there were various prices listed, from $19.99-$99.99. Why in the hell would they combine the word "FREE" with a price??? And why are most Apps either free, or available for $1.99-$4.99 but these dumb coins are a hundred bucks a pop? This is misleading at best, criminal at worst.
I contacted Apple and got the same response that most of you did, and then I wrote to TinyCo and the Better Business Bureau of CA, but never got a refund and got tired of dealing with it. Now it's 2013 and people are shooting up shopping malls and schools and I feel like the USA has bigger fish to fry. Am so glad to be living in Germany these days. Very frustrated with the state of our nation.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 02:19 PM   #32
Brian Y
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Apple will usually compassionately refund it once providing you get in touch with them quickly - but it's their choice.

However, as much as I hate to pour water on it - it's not Apple's responsibility to check what your kids do. The controls are there on the phone for you to turn on, and as a parent - giving your child access to something which it linked to your credit card without checking these is kind of irresponsible.

All information about parental controls is available online, on the iPhone user guide, and information about purchases/in app purchases is available in the iTunes terms and conditions. You not understanding these isn't Apple's fault - they make the features available to you. But blaming Apple isn't fair either - you need to take responsibility for what your child does, and protecting your child from it. If you gave your child your wallet, and sat them in a toy store unsupervised (which is essentially what they were doing with the iPhone), would you be surprised if you were a few $$ lighter and a few toys heavier?

I don't agree with in app purchases like this, but, at the end of the day, when you click the button - you'll be asked for a password (unless you haven't set parental controls and have made another recent IAP), and it will say "Do you want to buy xxx for $yyy". And if you even get to that stage, then you've set parental controls wrongly.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 02:36 PM   #33
Pklink04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bma View Post
Apple will usually compassionately refund it once providing you get in touch with them quickly - but it's their choice.

However, as much as I hate to pour water on it - it's not Apple's responsibility to check what your kids do. The controls are there on the phone for you to turn on, and as a parent - giving your child access to something which it linked to your credit card without checking these is kind of irresponsible.

All information about parental controls is available online, on the iPhone user guide, and information about purchases/in app purchases is available in the iTunes terms and conditions. You not understanding these isn't Apple's fault - they make the features available to you. But blaming Apple isn't fair either - you need to take responsibility for what your child does, and protecting your child from it. If you gave your child your wallet, and sat them in a toy store unsupervised (which is essentially what they were doing with the iPhone), would you be surprised if you were a few $$ lighter and a few toys heavier?

I don't agree with in app purchases like this, but, at the end of the day, when you click the button - you'll be asked for a password (unless you haven't set parental controls and have made another recent IAP), and it will say "Do you want to buy xxx for $yyy". And if you even get to that stage, then you've set parental controls wrongly.
Couldnt agree with you more! A simple google search of "ipod touch right for child" provides many links on tips to help prevent your child from accessing adult content or pruchasing apps or making in app purchases.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:07 PM   #34
burgundyyears
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Rarely do you see someone so proudly advertise their belief that they should lack responsibility when it comes to their children, even after they got $1000 worth of goodwill from Apple. Thanks for the laughs.

Tell me, do you complain to amazon when you leave your account logged in and let your kid use the computer and they use the account to purchase $1000 worth of toys? Oh the humanity! How can they target children with toys and a web site? And where are Dell's parental controls to prevent in-browser purchases being made with the computer?! Tsk tsk.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:17 PM   #35
Brian Y
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The lack of responsibility in this thread (and society in general sucks).

If you left your kid on a bus - would you sue the bus company? It's your child. Your responsibility. If you don't want to take responsibility - don't have kids.

Apple provide a service to developers. Kinda like eBay. If someone lists something on eBay at 200 times RRP, and you buy it - do you expect PayPal to refund you? No. If you're stupid enough to buy it (or let your kid buy it) - deal with it.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 09:27 AM   #36
neversink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bma View Post
The lack of responsibility in this thread (and society in general sucks).

If you left your kid on a bus - would you sue the bus company? It's your child. Your responsibility. If you don't want to take responsibility - don't have kids.

Apple provide a service to developers. Kinda like eBay. If someone lists something on eBay at 200 times RRP, and you buy it - do you expect PayPal to refund you? No. If you're stupid enough to buy it (or let your kid buy it) - deal with it.
Here's my reply which I have edited... I hope you enjoy it!!!

Ah, the difference is that eBay is known as an online auction site. Most people who buy an iPhone for the first time don’t know anything about something called in-App purchases, nor is in-App purchases advertised anywhere as something to be aware of. Nor do they know about many of the myriad other features in the phone. They think of the iPhone as a phone, not as a device where third-party developers can seduce and mislead children into making in-App purchase, many of these add-ons falsely advertised as being free. However, when something like in-App purchases can target your kids surreptitiously and charge you money unsuspectingly then there is something wrong with a company in which a consumer buys a product that they think they can trust.

It is bad for Apple to continue this opaque policy of not loudly informing every iPhone, iPad and iPod purchaser of the existence and dangers and consequences of in-App purchases. Put it out in the open, like the warning on a cigarette package. Let the consumers know up front about in-App purchases, instead of finding out after many charges are made to a credit card.

But to target children this way just to make some extra $ is unethical. I stand by my points and suggestions in the above posts.

I also reiterate the last two posts are proof that many Apple supporters will always come to Apple's defense no matter what. I have tons of Apple devices and computers, but I am not naive enough to think that Apple is a kind and caring company, nor to think that it is above allowing the third-party Apps it puts on its devices to seduce kids into downloading Apps they didn't understand that their parents would have to pay for.

Apple, for its own reputation, needs to be more transparent about in-App purchases.
Intelligently criticizing Apple’s in - App policies may help to change Apple for the better. I doubt Apple really wants to be looked at by society as a company that targets children.

You say Apple provides a service to developers. However, it isn't developers that purchase most of their phones, it is consumers and Apple needs to protect their *consumers from shifty practices, and they know this. So Apple is also providing a service to the millions of consumers who buy their products, and therefore Apple has an obligation to protect these consumers from unscrupulous developers

By the way, your comparison to a school bus is like apples and oranges. However, I will use that school bus analogy. My kids know when to get off a school bus and they know it is their responsibility to get off the bus stop at the right corner in the city. The rules of the bus ride is made perfectly clear. Nothing is hidden under 10,000 words of legal mumbo jumbo, as is in the iPhone terms-of-agreement that no one reads or understands, but has to press "agree" in order to use the product.

My kids also take ethics in school, and such practices have been debated in their school and Apple's failure to openly inform people of the existence and dangers of in-App purchases is deemed unethical by all the students. And at my daughters' school, all of the kids have iPhones, yet they realize that Apple is allowing children to be used and targeted by third-party developers -- a practice that many people here appear to defend.

If my girls and I had known about the existence of in-App purchases (which are far from obvious when you buy an iPhone) we would have avoided a situation where I had to complain, and Apple had to waste time reimbursing me. My message to Apple: Keep your customers happy. Be transparent about the existence of in-App purchases and inform your consumer up front. Do this; and you will have happier customers. No one wants to open up a credit card bill and see charges they never intended to make
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