FTC ropes Apple for at least another $32 million in in-app purchase repayments
The Federal Trade Commission is requiring Apple to change its practices for in-app purchases and to refund money parents have already paid. Although Apple's already settled a class-action lawsuit over in-app purchases, that isn't enough, according to the FTC:
The FTC’s complaint alleges that Apple violated the FTC Act by failing to tell parents that by entering a password they were approving a single in-app purchase and also 15 minutes of additional unlimited purchases their children could make without further action by the parent.
Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to employees outlining the terms of the agreement and recapping what Apple's already done, including arranging refunds for the 37,000 App Store customers who responded to e-mails and mailings sent by Apple in the wake of that class action settlement. The FTC decree clearly doesn't sit well with Cook, according to Re/code:
It doesn’t feel right for the FTC to sue over a case that had already been settled. To us, it smacked of double jeopardy. However, 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.
As part of the arrangement, Apple is required to refund any in-app purchase that was made by a child without their parent's consent, and the FTC is making Apple set aside $32.5 million at the minimum to pay back those charges. App Store customers affected by an errant in-app purchase made by a minor are eligible if the purchase was made between March, 2011 and March, 2014 - the deadline the FTC has imposed for Apple to make changes to the way the App Store works.