Apple to Refund Millions for App Purchases Without Parental Consent
Updated: Wednesday, January 15 2014, 09:10 PM EST
Apple is shelling out millions of dollars in refunds to parents whose kids purchased apps on their iPhones or iPads without permission.
The company will have to pay a minimum of $32.5 million after reaching a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez laid out the claims on Wednesday. "Children ran up millions of dollars in charges without their parents' knowledge or consent," Ramirez said. "Apple failed to tell parent that when they entered their Apple password they were authorizing a charge for a virtual item to be used in the app as well as opening a 15 minute window during which the child could make unlimited additional purchases without further action by the parent."
The FTC built its complaint on individual stories; in some cases parents were charged thousands of dollars for purchases they knew nothing about. In one case, a consumer reported that her daughter spend $2,600 in the app 'Tap Pet Hotel.'
As part of the deal, Apple will also have to change its billing practice by notifying parents of the 15 minute window and ensure it has expressed consent from users before charging them for content.
Apple CEO Tim Cooks says the company is already working with the FTC and the settlement quote "does not require us to do anything we weren't already going to do."