Apple Inc. recently agreed to provide full refunds to parents whose kids accidentally spent money on microtransactions. Sometimes families can rack up thousands of dollars in debt without even noticing. The Federal Trade Commission took notice after tens of thousands of consumers complained about Apple’s policies.
How does this affect you? Apple’s billing practices will change. Items sold in mobile apps will now need parents’ express, informed consent in order for the purchase to go through. Prior to the ruling, if a password was entered in an app or game, kids would then be able to use that password to purchase items for the next 15 minutes, and it was unclear to some kids that the password was giving them access to real money. This is no longer the case.
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said:
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. You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize.
Apple will pay its customers full refunds totaling at least $32.5 million.
For more on microtransactions, check out Pixelkin’s interview with US News, and click the button below to learn more about how to manage kids’ spending.