Business, Economics and Jobs

Apple to compensate parents whose kids made huge purchases from apps


Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple product launch event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 7, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the launch of the new iPad 3, but forgot to tell anyone that they made some big changes to the App store as well.


Kevork Djansezian

Apple will compensate millions of parents whose children made purchases from apps downloaded from iTunes store without permission.

The Washington Post wrote that the California-based computer giant agreed to pay out more than $100 million to parents who sued the company for making it too easy for kids to rack up charges by buying add-ons to games and other "free" apps.

In the class-action suit, filed in 2011, parents had complained that their children used their iPhones and iPads to make "in-app" purchases for virtual items bought within games.

In some cases, kids were able to rack up hundreds of dollars in purchases with their parents' credit card and PayPal accounts within a few minutes.

And the problem went "well beyond" in-app purchases, the San Jose Mercury News cited Caroline Knorr, parenting editor at the nonprofit San Francisco-based Common Sense Media, as saying.

"A lot of parents feel, 'I don't know anything about technology. That's how they got sucker-punched with the in-app purchases."

Meanwhile, the paper quoted Naren Prabhu, a Silicon Valley networking engineer, as saying:

"I've had my 7-year-old charge up a storm of over $600 via the in-app purchases. I was not able to get any refunds from customer service for the iTunes Store, who said they could do nothing to help me."

Under the settlement, people who can show that a minor made an in-app purchase (IAP) can claim either iTunes Store credits, or cash settlements in cases where parents say the cost of purchases exceeded $30. 

It is understood to apply only to the US.

The proposed settlement will be reviewed by US District Court Judge Edward J. Davila in San Jose on Friday, the Mercury News reported.