When a free children’s app can really cost $99
An “in-app purchase” is one that gives the user of a downloaded application the opportunity to buy additional virtual features or even real products from within the app itself after it has been installed. Of course it’s a nice way for app makers to cash in on extra add-ons after an app has already been downloaded, but it doesn’t work out so well when parents download a seemingly free game for their kids, only to find that their kids have started charging up big bills through in-app purchases.
Apple had to deal with just such a catastrophe though a couple years back in previous versions of iOS when a 15 min window of opportunity was given after the downloading of an app where your little whippersnappers could make in-app buying decisions on their own – even without re-confirming the Apple ID password. So although your child’s mobile apps may cost only .99 (or even be free), children were reportedly stockpiling $99 worth of Smurfberries from one particular game, and of course that didn’t sit well with parents.
So a class action lawsuit was filed against Apple. A lawsuit that claims Apple failed to adequately disclose the capability of in-app purchases, even by children. Apple is finally beginning to put the lawsuit to rest.
According to GigaOM, “Under the terms of the settlement, Apple will offer a $5 iTunes credit to those who claim that a minor bought in-game items without their knowledge or permission. If the amount in question is more than $5, Apple will offer a credit for that amount. If the amount in question is over $30, an Apple user can claim a cash refund.”
It’s not certain just how much Apple will end up paying for this in the end. Thus far its said that Apple has contacted more than 20 million iTunes users regarding the matter.