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Apple settle lawsuit over ‘bait’ apps for kids

Apple have offered to pay some money to parents who are frustrated that their kids have been buying applications via iTunes without their permission. They will be offering a $6 iTunes credit or cash if the amount was more than $30.

The company have said they will pay to settle a lawsuit over ‘bait apps’. These are games which can be downloaded for free but they then charge for ‘game currency’, such as virtual goods or character upgrades.

The settlement details that Apple will offer a $5 iTunes credit to those who claim that their child bought in game items without their knowledge or permission. If the amount is more than $5, Apple will offer a credit for that amount. If the amount is over $30 then the Apple user can claim a cash refund.

Parents sued Apple in 2011 after their discovered that their young children had charged money to their credit cards associated with the account inside these ‘free’ games. The issue came to a head when some kids racked up bills of hundreds of dollars to keep fish alive in a game called ‘Tap Fish’.

So far, information has not detailed how much money Apple will have to pay out, but Law360 reported on the settlement which indicates that Apple will have to send an email notice to ‘over 23 million iTunes account holders who made a Game Currency purchase in one or more qualified applications.”

The settlement still has to receive preliminary approval from a federal judge.  After approval and when Apple have the claims in hand the judge then has to approve the final settlement and Apple begin making the payments, likely to occur later this year or early 2014.

Kitguru says: This could cost the company a small fortune as we know these ‘bait’ apps are prolific now on many App Stores.

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