Kids love Apple. Between educational apps like Reading Raven and games like Candy Crush Saga, an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch can keep toddlers and young children engaged for hours. Unfortunately, some kids a few years ago got a little too engaged with their apps and made in-game purchases without their parents’ knowledge.
After the outcry from parents, Apple changed their app store policies to ensure that kids can’t rack up a costly bill playing Angry Birds on Mom or Dad’s iPad Mini. But the tech giants were also hit with a class-action lawsuit that has resulted in a $100 million settlement.
Did your kid ever make an in-app purchase on your iPad or iPhone without your permission? You might be eligible for part of the settlement. Let’s review the facts so you can find out if you qualify:
Kids Make the Darndest In-App Purchases
Mobile gaming has been the “next big thing” for years now, and just about everyone’s got a smartphone or tablet in their pocket or purse. This also means that more and more kids are playing with these tablets and smartphones.
The best part is that most of these mobile games, unlike regular video games, are free to download and play. Instead of a retail price tag, these games make their money with something called in-app purchases.
And since most mobile smartphone devices are designed to be used by one person, your iPhone or iPad will save and store information like credit card info for easy purchasing.
iPhones and iPads, specifically, are wired into a user’s iTunes account, meaning that apps allow users to quickly make purchases by charging the credit card saved to the account.
In other words, it would be very easy for a kid to make purchases without their parents’ permission.
Parents Demand Money Back from Apple
So many kids made unauthorized in-app purchases on their parents’ iPhones and iPads that a group got together to file a class-action lawsuit. The suit alleges that Apple’s iTunes store policies were too lax, which enabled their children to buy things with their money right under their noses.
Apple has changed their purchasing policy since the lawsuit, which won’t get final court approval until mid-October 2013. However, if you think you might have a claim, you’ve got until January 13th of next year to submit.
Not sure if you’re eligible? Consumerist has a bit more info:
“The settlement defines the affected class as U.S. residents who paid for an in-app purchase of game currency charged to their iTunes account by a minor without their knowledge or permission in a ‘Qualified App.'”
Class-Action Settlement Details: How Much You’ll Get
To submit a claim, parents will need to determine how much money their kids spent on in-app purchases and provide evidence based on that amount.
Planning to claim less than $30 in damages? You’re only going to be able to make off with $5, but you won’t have to provide as much information.
You get cash if you don’t have an iTunes account, otherwise it’s an iTunes Store credit gift card.
Should your claim exceed $30, you’ve got to list each purchase’s date, and how much was paid.
The catch is that if all these purchases weren’t within the same 45-day period, you’ve got to provide a note explaining how your kid was able to keep making them without your knowledge for so long.
If you’ve got any more information on the settlement, feel free to share it in the comments!