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Apple Settles With FTC in Case Focusing on Kids Who Buy Apps Without Permission

| January 15, 2014
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(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Federal Trade Commission has just announced that Apple will pay customers at least $32.5 million in a case centering on kids who bought apps without their parents’ permission. The FTC release on the settlement: Apple Inc. Will Provide Full Consumer Refunds of At Least $32.5 Million to Settle FTC Complaint It Charged for Kids’ In-App Purchases Without Parental ConsentAn excerpt of the release:

Apple Inc. has agreed to provide full refunds to consumers, paying a minimum of $32.5 million, to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint that the company billed consumers for millions of dollars of charges incurred by children in kids’ mobile apps without their parents’ consent. Under the terms of the settlement with the FTC, Apple also will be required to change its billing practices to ensure that it has obtained express, informed consent from consumers before charging them for items sold in mobile apps. “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,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize.” The FTC’s complaint alleges that Apple violated the FTC Act by failing to tell parents that by entering a password they were approving a single in-app purchase and also 15 minutes of additional unlimited purchases their children could make without further action by the parent. Apple offers many kids’ apps in its App Store that allow users to incur charges within the apps. Many of these charges are for virtual items or currency used in playing a game. These charges generally range from 99 cents to $99.99 per in-app charge.

And here’s the FTC’s settlement with Apple over children’s app purchases:

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About the Author ()

Dan Brekke has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.

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