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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:11 PM   #1
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Apple Sends Email to iTunes Users Offering Refunds for Unauthorized In-App Purchases




As a part of its consent decree with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over in-app purchases in the App Store, Apple today sent out an email to some iTunes users, offering them a chance to obtain a refund by filling out a form through a special link.

Specifically, the email appears to be targeted toward users who have made recent in-app purchases, with Apple stating that unauthorized purchases "made by a minor" are eligible for a refund, with all requests required to be submitted by April 15.
Quote:
Dear iTunes account owner,

Apple is committed to providing parents and kids with a great experience on the App Store. We review all app content before allowing it on our store, provide a wide range of age-appropriate content, and include parental controls in iOS to make it easy for parents to restrict or disable access to content.

We've heard from some customers that it was too easy for their kids to make in-app purchases. As a result, we've improved controls for parents so they can better manage their children's purchases, or restrict them entirely. Additionally, we are offering refunds in certain cases.

Please follow the steps to submit a refund request:

Find your in-app purchase records. Check your email for iTunes receipts or use a computer to sign in to your iTunes account and view your Purchase History.

Use this link to submit your refund request to Apple.

Provide the requested information and enter "Refund for in-App Purchases made by a minor" in the Details section.

Apple will review your request and contact you via email about your refund status. All refund requests must be submitted no later than April 15, 2015.
According to its agreement signed with the FTC in January, Apple will be required to provide full refunds to parents whose children purchased unauthorized in-app items, totaling $32 million in refunds. Apple also added a pop-up warning message in iOS 7.1 detailing a 15-minute window which allows users to make in-app purchases for 15 minutes without reentering a password.

Article Link: Apple Sends Email to iTunes Users Offering Refunds for Unauthorized In-App Purchases
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:13 PM   #2
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Apple will be required to provide full refunds to parents whose children purchased unauthorized in-app items, totaling $32 million in refunds.
equivalent to 7 minutes of business at an Apple store
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:13 PM   #3
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Didn't get one because I don't give my expensive equipment to children to use.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:14 PM   #4
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'mass email to some iTunes users'
mass to some sounds redundant

Last edited by needfx; Mar 24, 2014 at 05:19 PM.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:18 PM   #5
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Refund my in-app purchases? Yes please
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:20 PM   #6
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Did they really write...
'Use this link to submit your refund quest to Apple.'

Refund quest? They need a proofreader.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunyabinez View Post
Didn't get one because I don't give my expensive equipment to children to use.
Apple would potentially lose a lot of money if people didn't buy these things for their kids.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by MacHiavelli View Post
Did they really write...
'Use this link to submit your refund quest to Apple.'

Refund quest? They need a proofreader.
"Refund quest" doesn't sound like the most fun game in the world, doesn't it? That's a typo, the email is fine and I fixed it now!
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:30 PM   #9
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Ha! Stupid parents with their terrible parenting skills asking for a free handout from Apple because they're too stupid to know what their stupid kids are doing with their stupid iPads. LOOK AT ME! I'M BEING JUDGMENTAL ON THE INTERNET!
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:34 PM   #10
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Ha! Stupid parents with their terrible parenting skills asking for a free handout from Apple because they're too stupid to know what their stupid kids are doing with their stupid iPads. LOOK AT ME! I'M BEING JUDGMENTAL ON THE INTERNET!
You seem...upset.

Would you like a hug?
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:36 PM   #11
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How is Apple going to verify the validity of some of these coming claims? Are there going to be more than a few deceitful or 'questionable' claims, or is my faith in human beings perhaps lacking?…..
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:36 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by parasprite View Post
you seem...upset.

Would you like a hug?
hold me until the anger goes away!
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:39 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by needfx View Post
mass to some sounds redundant

Seems, to me, to be more contradictory than redundant.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:43 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by StyxMaker View Post
Seems, to me, to be more contradictory than redundant.
it does indeed
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by thekev View Post
Apple would potentially lose a lot of money if people didn't buy these things for their kids.
What does Apple's revenue have to do with whether I should give my iDevices to toddlers? I want Apple to continue making good products, but I'm not going to take one for the team.

I see plenty of people buying devices for young children and I disagree with their decisions. I built a computer for my mom, but my nephews and nieces were always on it, so she got an iPad and guess what? Now she has to wrestle it away from them.

Their social skills are limited to one-word responses that don't require them to look away from their screen.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:50 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by macs4nw View Post
How is Apple going to verify the validity of some of these coming claims? Are there going to be more than a few deceitful or 'questionable' claims, or is my faith in human beings perhaps lacking?…..
They're not. This is just a PR exercise for apple.

I would like to know if these refunds are coming from apple or if apple will take the money from developer accounts (so apple just loses the 30%). The latter seems unfair since the developers were operating within apples system and it was apple's in-app purchase system which was the problem.

Anyone know?
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 05:59 PM   #17
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Sad

The problem with all this is not Apple or parents or children, its the "Freemium" model which has corrupted gaming. The idea of getting a free game which is simply made easier by, often, dumping hundreds of dollars into it has ruined gaming in general.

What Apple should do instead of placating parents who have fallen victim to the greedy freemium model is instead to turn against the app developers that are victimizing users with ridiculous schemes to make a game playable through what is essentially extortion.

But Apple is too prideful of their whole "millions and millions of Apps" tag line and so will never do anything to reduce the amount of greedy crapware that has plagued the App store and instead seem to want to protect the freemium model by ensuring that parents and children will fall victim to this scheme over and over again. Whatever millions Apple has to give back to parents pales in comparison to the billions Apple makes every year through in-app transactions.

Say what you will about Microsoft, but Microsoft did not create a market of greedy *******s developing trojan horses with a direct connection to people's credit cards. Hackers may have tried to exploit security holes in Windows to steal your identity or bank information, but Apple simply made this a prominent "feature" of gaming on an iDevice, and I think more people have been exploited by Freemium overall then anything Microsoft was at fault for doing.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 06:02 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by macs4nw View Post
How is Apple going to verify the validity of some of these coming claims? Are there going to be more than a few deceitful or 'questionable' claims, or is my faith in human beings perhaps lacking?…..
They had to submit information to the class action website.

Those e-mails went out to people who have at one point complained to Apple about IAP. Which I did, but it was because my mom was buying some with my card, and the game in question was freezing up and not giving her the currency.

I just deleted it. I had gotten a refund from my bank anyway.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 06:03 PM   #19
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Kudos to Apple. I couldn't imagine another company even bothering.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 06:10 PM   #20
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Kudos to Apple. I couldn't imagine another company even bothering.
Kudos for what? Compliance with the FTC?

from the original post: "According to its agreement signed with the FTC in January, Apple will be required to provide full refunds to parents whose children purchased unauthorized in-app items, totaling $32 million in refunds. Apple also added a pop-up warning message in iOS 7.1 detailing a 15-minute window which allows users to make in-app purchases for 15 minutes without reentering a password. "

You shouldn't mistake this for altruism.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 06:15 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunyabinez View Post
What does Apple's revenue have to do with whether I should give my iDevices to toddlers? I want Apple to continue making good products, but I'm not going to take one for the team.

I see plenty of people buying devices for young children and I disagree with their decisions. I built a computer for my mom, but my nephews and nieces were always on it, so she got an iPad and guess what? Now she has to wrestle it away from them.

Their social skills are limited to one-word responses that don't require them to look away from their screen.
I wouldn't hand one of these to a young child either, but that's me. It's weird that you're trying to hone in on toddlers, as I thought you were referring to kids in general. As for Apple, I was pointing out that in spite of this, they would have made less if people didn't buy these things for their kids. The original issue was that in app purchases could be made without further credit card verification for 15 minutes after the first purchase authorization, typically the app itself. The other problem was that this was set as default behavior, rather than a one click purchasing option that could only be manually enabled. It's unlikely that all of these users understood that this was default behavior. It may not have been the case on previous devices owned by many of those users, or they just never encountered it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clubber View Post
Kudos to Apple. I couldn't imagine another company even bothering.
It was probably part of the settlement. There have been other articles that focused more on the settlement terms themselves. Anyway your kudos is misguided.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 06:17 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by alohamade View Post
"Refund quest" doesn't sound like the most fun game in the world, doesn't it? That's a typo, the email is fine and I fixed it now!
I think you've just thought up the next Flappy Bird hit.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 06:23 PM   #23
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Small correction to the article: all submissions have to be before April 15...2015! So there's a year+ left - it sounded like people had to submit them in the next two weeks.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 06:30 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by wikiverse View Post
They're not. This is just a PR exercise for apple.

I would like to know if these refunds are coming from apple or if apple will take the money from developer accounts (so apple just loses the 30%). The latter seems unfair since the developers were operating within apples system and it was apple's in-app purchase system which was the problem.

Anyone know?
Apple holds onto the money for 30-60 days after a purchase is made and before giving it to the developer - I'm pretty sure whenever refunds occur they just reduce the amount that they pay to the developer when they're done holding it.

So the developers won't get the 70% of the purchase that is getting refunded. Maybe.

This will really blow for someone if it turns out they were just successful from invalid IAPs.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 06:36 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by thekev View Post
The original issue was that in app purchases could be made without further credit card verification for 15 minutes after the first purchase authorization, typically the app itself. The other problem was that this was set as default behavior, rather than a one click purchasing option that could only be manually enabled. It's unlikely that all of these users understood that this was default behavior. It may not have been the case on previous devices owned by many of those users, or they just never encountered it.
I know some people believed that Apple was after revenue and did this on purpose. I'm of the opinion that they just didn't anticipate the behavior you describe, i.e. parent purchases an app, hands the phone to a kid who in 15 minutes racks up thousands in purchases.

I think the current system is better anyway, though I am unhappy with the trend to advertise "Free" games that are almost unplayable without making purchases.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by thekev View Post
I wouldn't hand one of these to a young child either, but that's me. It's weird that you're trying to hone in on toddlers, as I thought you were referring to kids in general.
I'm assuming that older children know that they are making a purchase (I know, dangerous assumption) as opposed to toddlers who might be more unaware.
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