Apple Settles With FTC Over Kid Purchases In App Store Without Parent Consent

The FTC Alleges Kids Made Purchases in Apple's App Store without Parental Consent

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FTC Commissioner Edith Ramirez
FTC Commissioner Edith Ramirez Credit: FTC

An Apple settlement with the Federal Trade Commission is déjà vu all over again as far as the tech giant is concerned. Apple is on the hook for a minimum of $32.5 million as a result of an FTC settlement with Apple, which alleges children were able to make purchases in Apple's App Store without informed consent of their parents.

"In aggregate, children ran up millions of dollars in charges without their parents' knowledge or consent," said FTC Chairman Edith Ramirez.

The FTC claims Apple did not inform users of a 15-minute time period during which kids could buy virtual items such as player points or "dragon food" in apps after parents approved an initial purchase for a child.

Apple is required to promptly refund people for unauthorized purchases, placing a "$32.5 million floor" on its payments. If Apple does not refund at least that amount to consumers, said Ms. Ramirez, the remainder must be paid to the FTC.

She said the FTC is aware of "tens of thousands of consumer complaints" of unapproved charges within the App Store.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the settlement "smacked of double jeopardy," in a memo to Apple staff, published on Re/Code. The company settled a previous case alleging the company enabled minors to buy goods in digital games.

Apple is required to send an email to consumers.

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