Apple ordered to refund $32.5 million to parents over in-app purchase policy
Apple has agreed to pay no less than $32.5 million in refunds to parents who were billed after their children made in-app purchases on the App Store without their consent.
The original class action lawsuit, which saw parents seeking compensation after claiming that Apple's in-app purchase policy failed to prevent their kids from making unauthorized purchases, was actually settled by a US judge last year.
However, it turns out that the promise of a $5 iTunes voucher for each affected customer (or up to $30 cash) wasn't enough for the Federal Trade Commission.
By failing to alert parents to the 15 minute window of additional purchases their kids could make after entering a password, the Cupertino giant apparently violated the FTC Act created to protect consumers against dubious business practises.
In addition to handing over a minimum of $32.5 million to affected parents, Apple has also been ordered by the FTC to change the way it bills customers for in-app purchases to prevent similar confusion in the future.
In a memo distributed among employees yesterday (and published by Re/code), company CEO Tim Cook said that, though it "smacked of double jeopardy," Apple decided to comply with the FTC's ruling regardless.
"The consent decree the FTC proposed does not require us to do anything we weren’t already going to do, so we decided to accept it rather than take on a long and distracting legal fight," Cook said.