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Apple refunding $32.5 million in kids' in-game spending sprees

Screenshot - Tap Pet Hotel

The Federal Trade Commission has stuck Apple with a 32.5 million-dollar bill to cover excessive spending in situations where kids made in-app purchases without parental consent.

In-app purchases are easy enough to make on accident — it's a huge problem with mobile gaming and one reason I always keep IAP on my device turned off. That way, I have to manually switch it on before I can buy something in a game. But not everyone remembers to regulate this, and there's apparently a 15-minute window after you enter in your password that additional IAPs can be made freely.

Apple has agreed to pay the minimum amount of $32.5 million to provide full refunds. The company is also being forced to change its billing practices so that it obtains express consent from consumers before charging them for content in apps. This new policy will go into effect no later than March 31.

One extreme case of unauthorized spending is with a consumer whose daughter spent $2,600 in Tap Pet Hotel.

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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