Apple settles in-app purchasing lawsuit with iTunes credits and refunds

By , Feb 25, 2013

iOS in-app purchase (teaser)

Apple today has agreed to settle a nearly two year-old lawsuit with a group of parents over unauthorized in-app purchases made by their kids. The parents complained that the process’ lack of password requirement led to massive iTunes bills.

As part of the preliminary deal, which has yet to be finalized by a judge, Apple will pay eligible class members with a $5 iTunes gift card or the same amount in cash. And for those users who spent more than $30, it’s offering a full refund… 

Here’s a look back at the original complaint:

“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.”

Several parents would later join the complaint, including one father whose son racked up a $1200 iTunes bill after purchasing several wagons of ‘virtual smurf berries’ at $99 a pop. This, of course, was before Apple released its iOS 4.3 update.

Prior to iOS 4.3, the App Store would give users a 15-minute window after password authentication to freely make in-app purchases. It was meant to streamline the experience, but after receiving complaints from angry parents, it changed it.

For the proposed settlement (via GigaOm), Apple will be required to send notices to more than 23 million iTunes account holders who bought something in-game from one of of the “qualified apps.” But it’s not known how many were actually affected.

The deal still needs approval from a federal judge. When that occurs, the notification period will begin and Apple will begin accepting claims. After the claims are in, a judge will approve the final settlement and Apple will begin making payments.

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  • TesticularFortitude

    When I was a kid, I ordered porn on TV behind my parents back. My parents didn’t sue anyone. My dad whipped the tar out of me, paid the bill, and I never did that again. lol

    • Damian W

      Hahahaha

    • Liam Mulcahy

      WTF

    • chepeloni

      the way it should be.

  • Damian W

    Just couple of days ago I did in-app purchase In real racing 3 for 1000 dollars. Thank god for IAPfree from cydia. :p

    • smtp25

      Seriously how could anyone legitimately compete/complete in that game with out spending $10,000+ or IAPFree

      • Damian W

        If I had kids i would forbid them to touch my ipad because of the games like real racing 3. One press of the button and 125 dollars are gone. What is wrong with these developers?

      • David

        How do you have Real Racing 3? I don’t see it in the AppStore.

      • Damian W

        i think it is only available in few stores right now. I can see it in New Zealand store, but not in Canadian store.

      • David

        Thank You Sir, looking forward to it.

      • Damian W

        try downloading the ipa file from some websites.

      • smtp25

        Don’t do this, game is free, and doing it the Iap way breaks updating easily via appstore

      • TesticularFortitude

        Create a dummy account and use New Zealand as your country. And don’t put your credit card on file. Just download free apps with it..

      • smtp25

        I’m on the New Zealand AppStore, we always seem to be first to get releases.

    • chepeloni

      what’s the latest version of iAPfree? i have found 3.3 from insanelyi

      • Damian W

        yes, this seems to be the latest

  • a smit

    “virtual smurf berries” ROFL

  • Pmcaa TM

    It is frustrating that I buy Longman American dictionary which cost me $29.99 with tax $31.78. After 3 and half month I backup my device and restore from ICloud I lost the dictionary. I call apple asked me to redound the money they didn’t do that either. They pulled out from App Store that dictionary and put 19.99 long man dictionary which I have to buy again.

    • richardnorthcott

      You do not have to buy the app again.

      LDOCE5 is what you would have bought for $29.99.

      The $19.99 app is Longman American Dictionary. They are different products.

      Contact the developers about the LDOCE5 upgrade -which is free.