in-app purchase fail

In a settlement with the FTC earlier this year regarding a lawsuit over in-app purchases, Apple told the commission that it would issue refunds to those affected and modify its in-app billing system to make things more clear. The FTC agreed and gave the company until March 31, 2014 to make the changes.

In order to meet the government’s orders, Apple must alter its billing practices to obtain a user’s express consent before billing them for an in-app purchase, and provide them with an easy way to withdraw that consent. And according to a new report, Apple engineers are scrambling to meet the deadline…

ZDNET (via MacRumors) reports:

“One source I spoke to says that it’s taking Apple longer than expected to make the required changes. In order to meet the government’s second criteria (the option to withdraw their consent at any time) Apple must require a password for all IAPs by default, and perhaps make a no-password window an option via settings. 

It’s not only iOS that’s affected, Apple also needs to make changes to the aging iTunes codebase as well. Since the App Store is also available in the desktop version of iTunes (currently at v11.1.5) Apple would be wise to make changes in it to avoid further FTC scrutiny. Although only apps can be purchased (not IAPs), a no-password window is also present in iTunes on the desktop.”

The site notes that while it might sound like a minor undertaking, changing the App Store to obtain a user’s express, informed consent before billing them would require significant modification to the App Store checkout process. It would also probably necessitate some changes to iTunes and possibly even iOS 7.

In fact, the consensus is that Apple is likely trying to squeeze these changes into its upcoming iOS 7.1 update, which is expected to land sometime this month. The latest report says that Apple’s app for next week’s SXSW iTunes Festival will depend on the new firmware, so theoretically we could see it any day now.

Complaints and lawsuits over in-app purchases have cost Apple quite a bit of money over the years. In addition to issuing individual refunds of up to $6000, Apple has settled two major lawsuits worth in upwards of $30 million a piece. It’ll be interesting to see how these upcoming changes will affect the business.

  • Shane Cook

    Is it bad that the first thing I think about when I read this is ‘I wonder will this effect my Cydia Free IAP tweak?’

    • AndroidDogHeatandSteelersFan

      lol. does that even work.

      • Shane Cook

        Yes. But mainly for apps that don’t require an Internet connection. Like Jetpack joyride. Infinity blade 1, and Zenoia 4. Those are a few that I use it on.

      • h4nd0fg0d

        If IAPfree standalone doesn’t work try ‘GameGem,’. Let’s u modify currency amounts to whatev u want. And some apps restart when u open the app switcher so use a backgrounding tweak to force app to stay running while u go between gamegem and ur target app. I use ‘Background Manager,’

      • Shane Cook

        I tried that but didn’t know how to use it nonetheless start changing the values for games.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Simple usage:

        1. Search for the amount you want to change
        2. Change this amount in the game
        3. Repeat until you have narrowed down the found value
        4. Change the values to a new value (let’s just say 9999999999999999999

      • Fundy fish

        So like gamecih on android?

    • jack

      LocalIAPstore works great on iOS7. In my view you gotta be such a moron to pay U$99.9 in T-coins or whatever.

      • Shane Cook

        Agreed.

    • Christian Mejía

      Iap free works iOS 7

      • Joshob1987

        Localiapstore is way better. It works like it should and doesnt need plugins like iapfree

      • Christian Mejía

        I only download the core plugin and it works like a charm. No complains here

    • Martin

      I was about to comment that on here x)

    • Arthur Geron

      does anyone know which one works with Pou? It would be a great surprise if she opens her pou app and finds out shes “rich” ; P

  • Roger Riekki

    I tried an iAP with Clash of Clans today and it failed. Took my money but didn’t get my gems. :/

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    Good! Password every time = no more accidental in app purchases