Apple sets aside $100m for in-app purchase refunds

Apple sets aside $100m for in-app purchase refunds
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

June 24th 2013 at 2:20PM

Compensation available to US consumers affected by unauthorised IAPs made by children

Apple has revealed the details of its $100 million settlement to refund parents whose children have racked up huge costs by spending money on in-app purchases without permission.

As spotted by 9to5Mac, the deal is part of a settlement from a class action lawsuit against Apple, and if approved would mean US residents who are affected by unauthorised in-app purchases can receive refunds or other forms of compensation.

Claims which exceed $30 in total stand to receive a full refund in the form of iTunes Store credit, as long as the transactions took place in a single 45 day period. Parents claiming for refunds under this amount will receive $5 iTunes Store credit.

Apps affected by the settlement include games with a minimum age rating of 4+, 9+, or 12+ that offer in-app purchases. You can view a full list of qualified apps here.

To claim, parents must submit a valid Claim Form on or before January 13th, 2014. Those who do receive compensation will not however be able to take part in any further lawsuit against Apple about the same claims and allegations from the case.

Apple has denied all allegations that it is in anyway responsible for allowing minors to pay for IAPs without their parents' permission. It claimed that it was entering into such a settlement to “avoid burdensome and costly litigation”.

Only current or former iTunes users in the US are covered. People outside of the country will not be able to request a refund under the terms of the settlement.

News of the settlement comes amidst the UK Office of Fair Trading's investigation into in-app purchases in games, which is looking into whether children are being unfairly pressured or encouraged to buy additional content in free web or app-based games.

An investigation by Develop into the matter last month discovered that only 29 per cent of apps featuring IAPs in the top 200 highest grossing games directly mentioned they contained microtransactions, with fewer noting how to disable them. Of these, only a handful warned in-app purchases were incoming once the game was loaded.

For its part, since March Apple has made efforts to point out if a game has IAPs on the latest version of iTunes, although these warnings will not appear if a device's operating system isn't updated.

You can view the full investigation here.

You can also view the full Apple settlement here.