UNAUTHORIZED KIDS SPENDING: APPLE TO PAY $100 MILLION IN CASH OR REFUNDS TO PARENTS OF KIDS WHO SPLURGED ON APPLE APPS WITHOUT PARENTS CONSENT

 Common: The kitchen family was shocked when son Danny, center, racked up £1,700 pounds ($2,600) for add-ons in a free-to-download game

Common: The kitchen family was shocked when son Danny, center, racked up £1,700 pounds ($2,600) for add-ons in a free-to-download game

Apple loses $100MILLION class action suit to parents of kids who went on unauthorized app spending sprees

By Joshua Gardner

Apple has settled a $100 million class action suit with parents who demanded the return of money their kids blew on app store spending splurges they never authorized.

The settlement stems from a suit first filed in 2011 in the wake of a Washington Post report about naughty kids using parents’ hard-earned money to buy games and game add-ons for their iPhones and iPads. Apple will make amends with cash or iTunes credits of $5 for parents claiming the lowest losses, with restitution going up from there.

 
Sneaky: Apple settled a $100 million class action suit filed by parents whose kids racked up unauthorized charges for app game add-ons without permissionSneaky: Apple settled a $100 million class action suit filed by parents whose kids racked up unauthorized charges for app game add-ons without permission

 Prior to the suit the surge of complaints that ensued from the WaPo article caught the eyes of the Federal Trade Commission.

The agency ‘vowed to look closely into the marketing practices of such apps, especially as they related to children’ according to ABC News.

 The problem, parents complained, was often with games that seemed at their face to be free. But when given a closer examination, some of the supposedly free apps could easily be enhanced by add-ons. For a fee.

ABC News gives the ‘highly publicized’ example of an 8-year-old who managed to spend $1,400 on ‘Smurfberries’ within the ‘free to play’ app of Smurf Village, available on iTunes.

 
No free lunch: The complaint was over the fear that, though certain games were free to download, kids were unknowingly (or sneakily) paying for extras within the free gamesNo free lunch: The complaint was over the fear that, though certain games were free to download, kids were unknowingly (or sneakily) paying for extras within the free games

 In a UK incident earlier this year, a little boy spent £1,700 ($2,600) on add-ons in the free to download and play Zombie vs. Ninjas in a single evening of game playing.

In March,  the boy’s parents warned other spoke out about the danger of allowing children to play free games which come with hidden costs. Although Apple has since refunded the full amount, the family said it has been a tough lesson to learn.

Subsequent to the Smurfberries incident, Apple made is more difficult for children to access for-fee items within apps without permission.

 
Common: The kitchen family was shocked when son Danny, center, racked up £1,700 pounds ($2,600) for add-ons in a free-to-download gameCommon: The kitchen family was shocked when son Danny, center, racked up £1,700 pounds ($2,600) for add-ons in a free-to-download game

 The top of the iTunes download page for Smurf Village currently reads ‘PLEASE NOTE: Smurfs’ Village is free to play, but charges real money for additional in-app content. You may lock out the ability to purchase in-app content by adjusting your device’s settings.’

The suit asked for restitution for unauthorized charges made prior to the changes.
Apple has now settled the class action suit and is set to pay $100 million.

 
Berried alive: In the free Smurfs Village game, players may purchase 'Smurfberries' for enhanced gameplay. One 8-year-old spent $1,400 dollars on the imaginary berries Berried alive: In the free Smurfs Village game, players may purchase ‘Smurfberries’ for enhanced gameplay. One 8-year-old spent $1,400 dollars on the imaginary berries

 The tech giant lost a separate class action in April in the amount of $53 million that will go to certain early iPhone and iPod owners whose warranties were unfairly voided due to a faulty indicator of water damage within the devices.

Parents who incurred charges higher than $30 will receive a cash refund so long as they submit the required information through the designated claim site before August 30.

All claims must be for charges made by minors unbeknownst to their parents prior to May 2.

 
Changes: Apple has made it harder for kids to access for-fee products and added parental warnings. Those in the suit will receive gift cards and cash refunds that total $100millionChanges: Apple has made it harder for kids to access for-fee products and added parental warnings. Those in the suit will receive gift cards and cash refunds that total $100million

 
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