It’s not everyday that Apple admits to wrongdoing when it comes to the legal side of their business, but in the case of in-app purchases made by children, Apple is playing nice in the sandbox.
As an outcome to a lawsuit filed against Apple in 2011, the company has agreed to reimburse parents whose children purchased virtual goods in mobile apps without the parents’ knowledge. These transactions occurred within iPhone and iPad apps without the expressed permission of the iTunes account holder. The lawsuit originated when angry parents discovered that apps geared at young children were allowing the user to purchase virtual currency and other items which in some cases cost parents hundreds of dollars.
Under the settlement Apple will provide iTunes Store credits to people who claim that a minor bought less than $30 worth of virtual goods through in-app purchases using their accounts. Anyone who claims more than $30 in such purchases can be reimbursed in the form of cash.
Apple has since taken appropriate measures to manage how in-app purchases are handle in children’s apps. Now thanks to a software update in 2011, Apple now requires users to re-enter their iTunes password before making in-app purchase. The user can then make in-app purchases for a period of 15 minutes before having to re-enter their password again. Parents also have the option to turn off in-app purchases completely within their iTunes account settings.