Apple notifies parents of In-App Purchase settlement details

“Apple has begun notifying the parents how they will be compensated for large bills racked up by their children through unauthorized use of in-app purchases in games and apps sold through the App Store,” Steven Musil reports for CNET.

“An e-mail sent by the ‘Apple In-App Purchase Litigation Administrator’ describes how the approximately 23 million people, as part of a class-action lawsuit, can apply for compensation,” Musil reports. “Parents have until January 13, 2014, to claim a $5 iTunes gift cards for charges less than $30, according to the e-mail. The maximum compensation parents can expect is the total amount charged during a single 45-day period without their permission.”

Musil reports, “Parents who complained that it was far too easy to buy digital goods in games without the need to re-enter an Apple ID password sued Apple in 2011… Apple changed that behavior as part of a system software update in March 2011, but not before some parents were hit with massive bills.”

Read more in the full article here.

15 Comments

  1. Uhhh, handing a child something that is linked to you credit/debit card should be a no brainer. Don’t do it!

    For us older folks can you imagine your parents handing you their checkbook when you were a child? No! Because people were less stupid back then.

  2. In all fairness, vast majority of people I know, who are otherwise sharp, educated, intelligent and responsible parents, don’t know how the in-app purchases work. Actually most aren’t even aware that such system even exists. Keep in mind, folks, the concept of downloadable games never existed before the iPhone. The people then learned how the App Store works and how they can download games. But the in-app concept is still quite abstract and foreign to a very large number of them. None of the mainstream applications (such as Skype, Yelp, Adobe Reader, Evernote, Pandora and similar don’t require any in-app purchases for normal use, so most people are really oblivious.

    1. But if you sit with your child, spend time with them, learn with them, communicate with them instead of handing them an iPad and then getting back to your own mommy blogging about the stress of parenting, this would never be a problem.

      1. Obviously, you are not a working parent.

        My children spend maximum of 30 minutes per day on the iPad (now that the school is out; on school days, they don’t get it). Because I am one of the people reading MDN (and also because I make a living supporting Macs, among other things), I know what to do about the in-app purchases. But my wife doesn’t, and the same thing could have easily happened to her. For our kids, iPad time is a reward.They get it when they’re done with other work / chores (during which either my wife, or I, or both, spend time with them, learn with them and communicate with them). Both my “mommy”, as well as my wife’s “mommy” have passed away a long, long time ago. So neither of us can “get back to our mommy blogging about the stress of parenting”.

        Through our children’s school, I know many parents. None of them are irresponsible; they all are quite engaged with their children. And for many, iPad time (or Mac time, or iPod touch time) is a reward, and is dolled out judiciously.

        If I sounded a bit offended by your generalisation, I may have been, since what I see around me is not what you describe.

        1. First off, I have been a working parent. Second, I should have said “mommy-blogging,” by which I mean parents (mostly moms form what I see) who spend more time online complaining and telling others how to parent than they spend actually parenting their own children. Third, I apologize for offending you. I know parenting is hard.

          It sounds like you are a good parent. Have you ever had an on-app purchase problem?

  3. Doesn’t affect me. I wasn’t stupid enough to let my kid use my account with my cc on it. She has her own that we can it money into if needed.

    1. No, not really. iOS devices are meant to be personal, private devices, which is what they generally are. There are very few people who share their devices with family members (usually iPads), but that doesn’t justify developing a layer of unnecessary complexity on top of a fairly simple and intuitive interface.

  4. Why don’t they just make it a part of parental controls that the kid can buy whatever they want or that they can only buy up to a certain amount per period of time or that all purchases must first be approved by the parent via an accept or decline text message sent to the parents device. Simple. This is the kind of stuff that we expect Apple to be the first to bring to market. Why are they not doing so?

  5. Even better, install a setting that blocks all apps with in-app purchases. If you don’t want them, never download them. Should help raise the integrity level on the developer side of the system.

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