Apple Gets Sued by Parent Over In-App Purchasing

By , Apr 16, 2011

Remember when we told you about the in-app purchasing changes that came with iOS 4.3? Apple removed the 15 minute window of password-free app purchasing in wake of consumer complaints. At the time, several angry parents were asking the FCC for an investigation into Apple’s in-app purchasing practices.

Well, it appears that the recent update didn’t make the situation blow over, because the complaints have started to materialize. A Pennsylvanian man adds his name to a long list of people in litigation with Apple, filing a lawsuit citing breach of contract and unjust enrichment…

PCMag reports that Garen Meguerian let his 9-year-old daughter download several free games from the App Store. Several weeks later, he discovered his daughter had purchased approximately $200 of virtual currency like Zombie Toxin and City Cash. Meguerian is suing Apple for damages plus attorney fees.

The lawsuit paints a pretty grim picture of the in-app purchasing platform and accuses Apple of using a “bait-and-switch business scheme.” Meguerian claims he had no idea that the apps allowed in-game purchases and was shocked to see the charges on his monthly statement. It is important to note that the receipts submitted for evidence are from February, before Apple released the iOS 4.3 update.

Will increasing pressure from consumers and the government force major changes with in-app purchasing? Doubtful. Now that Apple requires a password for every download, pricey purchases should definitely lay at the feet of the consumer. To be honest, it was probably their fault before Apple changed anything. However, I do agree that companies selling $99 buckets of Smurf Berries to little kids is completely ridiculous.

What do you think?

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  • Jesse

    That’s why I only use iTunes gift cards

  • Cecilia

    Something similar happened to a friend of mine with charges of over $150.00 but she contacted Apple and they gave her the money back, why didn’t these parents do the same? Or is Apple refusing to return the money?

    • tytehjjkjygh

      Lawsuit will get you rich. Refund will just get your money back.

      • Bert

        Yes, but they are suing for damages and lawyers fees, so they aren’t trying to get rich. These parents probably sued out of principle. Calling Apple and getting your money back won’t change the practice of in app purchases but suing certainly gives Apple something to think about n

    • Jon Garrett

      Im the father of an 18 year old and an 8yr old whose practically addicted to my iphone 4 and I say this.

      As a parent its YOUR job to police your children !! Im so sick and tired of parents (who are really just trying to get rich quick) who want to sue anybody and everybody every time their child does something.

      From the Lady who sued McDonalds because toys inside happy meals makes it harder for her to say NO to her child to the Man who sued Pfizer because his daughter asked him what is erectile dysfunction after seeing a Viagra commercial.

  • MFCH

    My daughter bought $4 worth of digital apples to feed some talking giraffe. I just chalked it up to parenting/life-lesson-learned. Mine just happened to be cheaper than some others.

    A smart parent would, well, wouldtnt let their kid use their iPhone at all, but at least turn off wifi, and log out of their store account THAT IS TIED TO A CREDIT CARD. Dummies.

    • Manule

      Agree. Its not Apples fault based on something like this. Its like the guy suing Apple for giving his daughter his iPhone 4, it broke and he blamed them for faulty glass. Some times I wonder how these parents become parents, have kids, and think watching them isn’t part of the parenting.

      • Thor

        Just going to get worse if the teabaggers get their way and ban all family planning

  • Leo

    This is American you sue everything even if you fell on the ground inside a store by accident you will sue the store!!!!!! Why? Because this is American luckily not all American are like that!!

    • G

      America!

  • Aelisium

    Am I the only one missing the parental controls that allow you to disable in app purchasing? They’ve been in iOS for a long, long time now.

    I don’t see a case. Apple has enough in place to prevent this sort of thing. At some point, the onus falls on the individual to learn how to use their device and it’s operating system.

    A complete mockery of the justice system.

    • Nick

      My point exactly! :)

      • Aelisium

        Moreover, every free app lists the availabity of in app purchases right under the price and download button. To my knowledge, there does not exist an app that doesn’t blatantly advertise.

        So this user ignored the parental controls. Then he ignored the huge banner that ran under the apps he downloaded advertising the availability of app purchases.

        I’d say a reasonable person would know the step to protect themselves in such a case.

        Frankly, I don’t see this getting past the initial hearing. It sounds like he’s retained a smarmy lawyer looking to churn up some bad PR unto Apple in hopes of settling for some cash. As I said, a mockery of the US legal system.

      • 877

        My kids purchased £40 of smurfberries! I complained to apple and was refunded, now in-app purchasing is locked. Still think it is wrong to allow these games though. Ps I now use hexeditor to get free berries/ toxin for my son, have that!! :-)

  • Nick4G

    That’s why I jailbroke my iPhone and get the free apps from installous ;)

  • Ras

    To all you retards who are saying is it not apples fault go fuck yourself

    • Manule

      Ahh, did your son run up your credit bill too? The ones saying its not Apples fault are the ones who don’t let this stupidity happen, then sue to get their money back because they failed at being a responsible parent. Enough said.

    • MFCH

      Haha you idiot.

      I see you trollin. I hatin

    • http://www.wix.com/pwnhkr/phi PwnHkr

      haha Just a hater. someone doesn’t know what they are talkin bout.

    • krakit

      @Ras,

      if your kid or future kid gets an F in his/her class, you should sue his/her school for not teaching right.

      • Manuel

        Nah, hes going to sue Apple Lol

  • XepptizZ

    Parents these days tend to think all responsibility for raising their kid belongs to everyone but them.

    And yes, this is a mockery of the justice system, but surely not the first and listing them all would take a while.

  • Paul Zammit

    Settings -> General -> Restrictions

    Voila. Apple will win this lawsuit.

  • http://www.sniperriflemusic.com Todd

    That’s why you don’t give your kid the password to the iTunes account. Done! Problem fixed.

    • Bert

      Lol Good point

  • Jef

    it is a trap when they asked you to input your CREDIT CARD info inorder to download the free game.

  • Sal Vitolo

    .. When it happens to you, .. and you have a $200 debit from your checking or credit card then you will see things differently.

    When a company is charging $200 for “smurf money” on a game that is for little kids.. in a way that little kids can make a $200 purchase right under your nose .. COME ON PEOPLE .. HOW DUMB DO YOU HAVE TO BE NOT REALIZE THAT IT’S A SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM !!!!!

  • Sal Vitolo

    for anyone that has had this happen to them.. on your bank account is a number to call iTunes for app billing.. when you call it.. it’s a RECORDING that says look up the probelm on the website. If someone can find the EXACT link to dispute the carge.. Someone will send you $200 !!!