TECHNOLOGY giant Apple will refund around £20m worth of in-app purchases made by children without their parent’s permission, it announced yesterday.
Following a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), bosses agreed to refund $32.5m worth of the in-game buys after thousands of complaints came to light. The company will also be forced to change its billing procedure so that bill-payers give informed permission before purchases are made.
“You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorise,” said Chairwoman of the FTC Edith Ramirez. “This 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,” she added.
Apple was criticised after it failed to notify bill-payers that they would be charged for in-app purchases when prompted for a password, nor that this then allowed a 15 minute window where further purchases would be allowed without any prompt. Apple said it settled to avoid a “long legal fight”.