Apple has announced that it has come to a settlement with the FTC over allegation that the company billed consumers millions of dollars for charges made by children without parental consent. The charges stem from kids apps that allow children to make purchases of in-game items within a 15-minute window of the parent entering their password.
Apple has agreed with the FTC to pay out at least $32.5 million. The FTC settlement also requires Apple to change billing practices to be sure express permission is given and people are informed of a charge before items are sold in 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 complaint maintains that Apple violated the FTC Act when it didn’t tell parents that by entering their password for kids they were approving any in-app purchases made for the next 15 minutes. The FTC complaint says that Apple has been informed of millions of dollars in unauthorized purchases made by children. It’s unclear how the charges will be reimbursed at this time.