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Apple Will Refund Parents Millions for Their Kids’ Unauthorized In-App Purchases

Apple issues refunds for kid in-app purchasesUh-oh Apple, looks like you will be paying for in-app purchases made by kids that didn’t have mom or dad’s permission to make the purchase.

Apple has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission – costing the company at least $32.5 million. Apple failed to notify parents that once they enter their Apple password into their iOS device, it leaves a 15-minute window for purchases without needing additional authorization.

We have heard the stories about kids spending hundreds to thousands of dollars by making in-app purchases for virtual items. One of my good friends went through a similar situation when her son went on an in-app purchasing spree.The FTC says that this 15-minute window allowed kids to run up millions of dollars in charges in various apps (hello Tiny Zoo and Candy Crush, I’m looking at you and your in-app purchases.)

Apple will provide full refunds to customers who have been affected because of this window. Last year they emailed 28 million App Store customers who had made in-app purchases in games designed for kids, setting out to refund any in-app purchases which may have been made without the parent’s consent. Out of the 28 million customers notified, Apple received 37,000 claims – which will all be reimbursed. If your kids made an in-app purchase without your permission, reach out to Apple for information on how to be reimbursed.

If the total amount of refunds is less than $32.5 million, Apple will pay the balance to the FTC.

“Today’s agreement with the FTC extends our existing refund program for in-app purchases which may have been made without a parent’s permission,” the company said in a statement.

Apple will have to modify its billing practices as a result of the settlement by notifying parents of the 15-minute window and giving them the option to cancel at any time. Apple has until the end of March to make the changes. – View more at CNN

The app store has functioned with the 15-minute window since opening in 2009.

Has Your Child Made In-App Purchases Without Your Permission?

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Molly blogs technologyparenting and geekery at Digital Mom Blog and provides blogging tips at How to Blog Camp. Follow her on FacebookPinterest or Twitter.

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