Apple Refund $32.5m For (Bold) Kids Splurges

Written by Oonagh Reidy     16/01/2014 | 16:45 | Category: INDUSTRY

Cupertino to cough up $32.5 million for unauthorized in-app purchase by kids

Apple Refund $32.5m For (Bold) Kids SplurgesApple and U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement over a dispute over iOS apps, yesterday, where minors were allowed to access and make in-app purchases with alarming ease. And without parental consent.

Apple will now refund US$32.5 million to at least 37,000 angry customers, who have made claims to Apple over unauthorised in-app payments from their account.

One kid spent US$6,000 on Smurfs' Village, Hay Day, My Horse and Campus Life games, which Apple has also refunded, reports Apple Insider. 

The settlement also means Apple now has to ensure "express, informed consent from consumers before charging them for items sold in mobile apps."

The investigation into children making excessive in-app purchases on iPad and iPhones started in 2011. 

However, Apple, being Apple, did not go down without a fight. 

And even, following yesterday's settlement CEO, Tim Cook, was not happy with the outcome, if an email he sent to employees yesterday is anything to go by. 

"It doesn't feel right for the FTC to sue over a case that had already been settled," Cook said.  

"To us, it smacked of double jeopardy. However, the consent decree the FTC proposed does not require us to do anything we weren't already going to do, so we decided to accept it rather than take on a long and distracting legal fight."

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, said the settlement "is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple's unfair billing, and a signal to the business community: whether you're doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply.

"You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize."