news\ Apr 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Apple sued over in-app transactions


Apple is being sued by a group of parents for in-app transactions which they say are too easy for children to purchase without "authorization of their parents."

The parents claim the mobile tech giant is unfairly profiting from these in-app payments which are aimed at children.  Despite many of the games being free to download, most include some form of in-game micro-transaction system that allow users to purchase game add-ons or bonuses for a price - some as high as $100.

Although these transactions are completely optional, attorney Garen Meguerian, leading the group, argues these games are developed "strategically to induce purchases of Game Currency".

In the court filing first made in 2011, Meguerian points out the game Smurfs' Village which is free, but also includes in-app purchases from the "Smurfberry Shop" that range in price from £2.99 to £69.99.

There is a warning message in the game's description that reads Smurfs' Village "charges real money for additional in-app content."  While it is possible to play the game without purchasing this additional content, progress is typically far slower for the player.

Apple originally called for the suit to be dismissed on grounds that it had recently added a feature to iOS devices that allows parents to disable in-app purchases, but the US District Judge Edward Davila decided the case can now go to court.

Apple isn't the only company to include in-app purchasing functions.  Other mobile platforms, including Google's Android also offers these.   So I ask you, is Apple unfairly targeting children for in-app purchases?


Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley, and his wife.
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