The Washington Post

Apple settles suit over kids’ in-app purchases

Apple has settled with parents who sued the company for making it too easy for kids to rack up charges by buying add-ons to games and other apps.

Think twice before you plan a vacation with your settlement money, though. According to the court documents, posted in full on Monday by Apple Insider’s Mikey Campbell, the company is agreeing to give qualifying customers a $5 iTunes credit or, in certain cases, $5 in cash.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr declined to comment on the settlement.

The company has always required users to enter their passwords when they download an app, but the company used to also allow them to make additional in-app purchases for 15 minutes without reentering a password.

As The Washington Post reported, parents complained that some children were able to accumulate hundreds of dollars in charges during that small window, drawing the scrutiny of state and federal regulators. The suit highlights children who spent between $99 and $300 on in-app purchases — charges that were then passed on to the credit card bills of their unsuspecting parents, the Apple Insider report said.

Apple changed the policy in March 2011 to require a password for purchases, even on newly downloaded apps.

Under the terms of the new settlement, Apple will send notices to more than 23 million iTunes accounts that made in-app purchases, but the size of the class is still not clear. To qualify, Apple customers have to prove that they were charged for in-app purchases made by a minor, had not given their account password to the child and have not already received a refund for their charges.

Users who spent more than $30 on in-app purchases can opt to get the $5 payment in cash, but will have to file paperwork detailing which apps they used to accumulate those charges.

Related stories:

Microsoft joins Apple, Facebook as target of hackers

Apple loss to Einhorm raises pressure to pay investors cash

Apple changes policy for in-app purchases

Sign up today to receive The Circuit, a daily roundup of the latest tech policy news from Washington and how it is shaping business, entertainment and science.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Be a man and cry
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
Play Videos
Drawing as an act of defiance
A flood of refugees from Syria but only a trickle to America
Chicago's tacos, four ways
Play Videos
What you need to know about filming the police
What you need to know about trans fats
Syrian refugee: 'I’m committed to the power of music'
Play Videos
Riding the X2 with D.C.'s most famous rapper
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Europe's migrant crisis, explained

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.