The amount of times my two year old has been playing on my iPad and accidentally gone into the app store is too numerous to count! Most free apps have a feature that allows you to make in-app purchases: especially in children’s games. But this has proven detrimental to many unsuspecting parents. Parents have been left paying large amounts of money, even on password protected accounts, on bills their children have racked up while playing games.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) struck a deal with Apple to pay back those parents whose children charged their accounts while playing mobile applications. The FTC’s chair, Edith Ramirez, made known that Apple will refund $32.5m to ‘buyers’.
The government announced that this federal case, which involves in-app purchases by children without parental permission, will be settled when Apple refunds $32.5m to customers.
The Federal Trade Commission has received many complaints from distressed parents about unauthorised charges to their accounts by their own children. Many such purchases included things such as ‘virtual currency’ and even ‘dragon food’ in another case. Edith Ramirez states that the settlement will ONLY include children’s mobile applications and not others. Intersting to note; some charges to parents’ accounts were even in the thousands of dollars!
Apparently, some applications include a ‘fifteen minute window’ where the usual password protected game play were not needed in order to make purchases. However, the problem lies in the fact that Apple did not tell users about this policy. Apple is an extremely popular and valued company so people trust them.
So should Apple be punished for this obvious problem? Should parents be watching their young ones more closely while they play games? Please feel free to leave comments below!
[Image via apartmenttherapy]