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Apple Lawsuit For In-App Purchases Will Continue

Judge rules that suit can proceed despite Apple’s objections.

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Apple Lawsuit For In-App Purchases Will Continue
[ Technology]

A lawsuit against Apple will proceed, as Apple’s request for a dismissal has been denied, according to recent reports. Apple had argued that the suit was no longer valid, thanks to changes made to its in-app purchase system. U.S. District Judge Edward Davila disagreed, however, and ruled that the suit would proceed to trial.

If you’ve spent much time in the iOS App Store recently, you may have noticed an increasing number of so-called “freemium” apps: apps that you can download for free, but then require you to pay a certain amount of money to unlock various features or, in the case of games, acquire items, in-game money, and the like. Of course, just like purchasing an app from the App Store, making an in-app purchase requires a password. Originally, though, your password remained in effect for fifteen minutes after it was input. While this can be handy when downloading multiple apps, it can create problems when you hand your phone off to your kid.

The freemium model is extremely popular with developers, as it generates far more revenue than simply charging for an app. Shortly after it was introduced last year, though, parents began to notice problems. It seemed that their kids were making in-app purchases – sometimes lots and lots of them – without their knowledge or consent. Some parents knew nothing about the problem until the got bills that ran into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It seems that between kids who knew their parents’ iTunes password and those who managed to make purchases inside that 15-minute window while the password was still good, kids were able to make lots and lots of in-game purchases.

Apple quickly introduced updates to close the 15-minute window and even allow in-app purchases to be turned off. By that time, though, it was too late. In April of 2011, Garen Meguerian filed a class action lawsuit against Apple over the debacle. In the complaint (PDF) Meguerian claimed that Apple did not do enough to make users aware that free games – many of which are deliberately designed to be highly addictive and to appeal to children –
had in-app purchases available.

Apple argued in court that the suit should be dismissed, since the conditions under which the complaint was made no longer apply. The judge, however, disagreed and the suit is scheduled to continue.

What do you think? Was Apple at fault for iPhone users’ kids racking up huge bills from in-app purchases? Let us know in the comments.

[Source: BBC]

Apple Lawsuit For In-App Purchases Will Continue
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  • Abby

    I definitely think Apple is responsible, someone should have thought ahead. It’s too bad we can’t all get our money back (even though I am smart enough to realize the schemes before they affect my wallet)! It’s also too bad that big corporations and these app companies can’t just make a good product, and then just let us enjoy it! I love apple, and kudos to them for changing the functions and trying to get it dismissed. It is what it is I guess : / I wonder how much money they’ll pay is vs how money the brief loophole made them?

  • Abby

    I definitely think Apple is responsible, someone should have thought ahead. It’s too bad we can’t all get our money back (even though I am smart enough to realize the schemes before they affect my wallet)! It’s also too bad that big corporations and these app companies can’t just make a good product, and then just let us enjoy it! I love apple, and kudos to them for changing the functions and trying to get it dismissed. It is what it is I guess : / I wonder how much money they’ll pay is vs how much money the brief loophole made them?

  • John

    We were totally raped. $208 in charges made by a virtual racoon on the popular Diamond Dash in a period of 4 days. It was not made apparent to both the kid and the adult that they were being changed, how much we were being charged until my bank account hit overdraft. No prompts for passwords or boxes indicating charges. I really don’t think it is fair to give a virtual racoon free rain over my bank account… incredibly slick and sly! If this is the direction Apple is going in after Steve Jobs died, they can take my movies, songs, and any future business and shove it where the sun don’t shine. Attempts to resove this issues have not gone well short of calling my bank to dispute the visa charges because who in their right mind would pay knowingly $50/day to move color tiles around a screen. I’m getting so screwed. 

  • Lloyd

    I think Apple should take more responsibility in the content they make available for user, such as giving users the ability to turn in app purchases on or off, shame on you apple

  • Liam

    For the people who are to naive or stupid to think this the fault lies with apple I shake my head. Just because you don’t know of a handy feature that apple has put on to its devices doesn’t mean they should be taken to court. I personally love in app purchases as it allows me to try out demo’s of apps before purchasing the real thing. Your mischievous (more than likely this because most children do see the “ohh i want (item)” and click to buy full knowing that the (item) costs real money, unless your naming your child naive or dumb which rests upon the parents heads over 80% of the time)children should be none Apple’s business.

  • Fed Up AppleUSer

    Look at it this way…if Apple was not such a control freak whereas everyone had to go through “them” then the actual company who created the App would be the one taking the heat. Very few of these apps are really “free” today. We continue to find out that the apps that are ‘free” are major data miners of our personal information via constant updates. How many updates does the game of chess need…seriously?

    Read the so-called Apple privacy policy of late and see how you are not really owning anything after you buy a Mac or Ipad because everything that comes with it that you disagree with in terms of losing your privacy is the sacrifice you pay “if” you want to use all those programs and apps that came with the Ipad you jus paid hundreds of dollars for. Otherwise you just bought a very expensive monthly calendar reminder.

    In terms of blaming kids for being ‘tricked”…they are kids…hence they are naive. See tons of these apps for yourself. Dragonvale is another…so-called “free” app, but every upgrade (to continue this game) cost in money or your privacy via using Facebook to drag all your friends in to continue this “free” game. Nothing is free in Appleland.

    Either way, many Mac users are sick of losing control of what they have paid thousands of dollars for. These computers and apps reach deep into our pockets and our privacy…enough already. It is time for consumers to take back control.If they refuse to stop robbing us blind and if they refuse to respect our privacy…stop buying from them until they remember without us there is no them. I hope this court sends a very strong message to Apple because far too many have already been harmed by these bait and switch tactics.

  • Fed Up AppleUSer

    Lloyd I agree Apple should allow users to turn app purchases on or off…Guess what? You can ‘buy” an app to do that. Then again that would mean Apple would cede control to the actual buyers of their products and when we see they are going the opposite direction in monopoly control we understand why court cases like this are so needed.

    Here it is years later and they still refuse to allow users a way to turn off facial recognition for Iphoto. All new Ipads come with Face as a standard ‘built in” and a “built in” camera regardless if buyers want it or not. they force users to use Safari and do not allow us to set another preferred browser. Knowing how they operate and seeing how the could care less about what buyers want..Without court orders I won’t hold my breath waiting for them to turn off a major cash cow that is using children as the scapegoat to fleece families dry. Apple cannot have it both ways…they cannot act like making everyone go through them makes us more secure then bail when what they made consumers believe was an up and up company turns out to be scamming children. If they demand to keep all that control then they need to pay for the scams that “they approved” as legit.

  • Mary

    The changes they made were not enough to help me avoid $220 in surprises. I am outraged that a game clearly targeting young kids includes $37 in-app purchases. After screaming at my daughter and taking away privileges, I realized it’s Apple I should be going after. She is seven, and thought it was play money. This is a SCAM. Apple and the game designers are counting on catching parents off-guard.

    • Glenn

      I think you’re all idiots. If you give your kids the password to your account its your fault. I’m sick to death of all the parents in the world trying to blame their actions on everyone else. YOUR KIDS, YOUR FAULT!!! Do a better job as a parent already!!

      G

  • Chewy83

    I got billed for over $17,000 yes 17 thousand dollars. iTunes agreed to refund $1,700. Lmao. I was left to handle the rest. I lost the credit card and now have phone calls daily from collections. I will have calls for the next few years. All cuz of free apps with In app purchases.