With older versions of iOS, it was possible to make in-app purchases without using a password for 15 minutes after signing in to iTunes. That meant that kids who were using their parents’ iPads occasionally racked up exorbitant in-app purchase fees. For example, in late 2010, several parents were exceedingly angry when children purchased high quantities of smurfberries in the Smurfs’ Village.
Crazy in-app purchase charges eventually led to a lawsuit, which was settled today. The lawsuit criticized Apple for “bait apps,” defined as games that are downloadable for free but then charge for in-game currency like virtual goods or fake money. As a part of the settlement, Apple will be forking over reimbursement cash or credit to parents who were affected.
The lawsuit originated in 2011, and was featured on the Daily Show, along with a father whose kids ended up paying out hundreds of dollars to feed virtual fish in the game Tap Fish, which charges cash for Fish Bucks and Coins.
Parents who claim that a minor child bought in-game items without permission can receive an iTunes credit in the amount of $5. If the amount of currency purchased exceeds $5, parents can file for a claim of the amount purchased, but if that amount exceeds $30, Apple will offer cash refunds.
To receive the funds, iTunes users will need to confirm that a minor purchased in-game currency and that the user did not provide said minor with a password. According to GigaOm, the settlement does not state exactly how much Apple is required to pay in total, or how many users might have been affected.
Apple will be sending out an email notice to more than 23 million iTunes account holders who made game currency purchases in one or more of the qualifying apps.