Federal Trade Commission orders Apple to pay back parents
The Federal Trade Commission has approved a settlement between Apple and angry parents who say they were unfairly charged when their kids bought in-app purchases on their iPhones or iPads without the parents' approval.
In the complaint, the FTC alleged that Apple failed to tell parents that entering a password one time while making an initial purchase also approved subsequent purchases for a 15-minute window in which unlimited charges could be made without authorization. The complaint provided examples of parents who were incurred thousands of dollars in in-app purchases by their children without their consent.
The agency's approval paves the way now for Apple to begin $32.5 million in refunds to customers whose children paid for in-app purchases without their parents' approval. Apple agreed to settle with the affected customers last January. Apple must send a notification to those affected customers by April 15 with instructions on how to obtain their refund.
The settlement also orders Apple to change its billing practices so that customers give expressed consent before making in-app purchases.