Apple to pay at least $32.5 million in refunds for accidental in-app purchases

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By Brandy Shaul Comment

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Apple has agreed to refund consumers whose children made in-app purchases in apps on iPhone and iPad, without parental consent. Apple will pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to settle a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission, the FTC reports.

In addition, Apple has agreed to modify its billing practices to better inform consumers of payment options before charging them for items sold in mobile apps.

The original FTC complaint alleged that Apple failed to tell parents that by entering their password, they were approving not only a single in-app purchase, but also 15 minutes of additional purchases children could make without the need to continually re-enter their password.

According to the settlement, Apple must provide users with a notice of the availability of refunds, allowing them to request refunds for accidental charges on their accounts. Going forward, Apple must obtain “express, informed consent” from users before charging them for any item sold in a mobile app.

Apple has until March 31, 2014 to put the changes into effect.

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