Federal Court Approves Apple’s Proposed ‘Free-to-Play’ App Settlement Plan

Courthouse News reports that Apple's plan to settle with parents over its failure to get parental consent before minors made purchases in various apps has been approved by a federal court. Apple's settlement would provide all class members with a minimum $5 iTunes store credit (or cash payment for those who no longer have an iTunes account), according to court documents.

The settlement is to appease members of a class action suit originally filed in April 2011 by Garn Meguerian. The lawsuit and others like it making the same claims against Apple were later consolidated in the the Northern District of California court. Garn Meguerian's lawsuit charged that that Apple made "millions of dollars of ill-gotten gains" by selling game currency to children in free-to-play apps and did so without getting parental consent or providing a parental consent mechanism to deal with transactions.

"This practice enabled minors to buy Game Currency, in one click sums of $99.99 or more, without entering a password, causing Apple to pocket millions of dollars from such Game Currency transactions with minors and without the authorization of their parents, whose credit cards or PayPal accounts are automatically charged for the purchases," according to the complaint.

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila granted the proposed settlement preliminary last Thursday, which he described as "fair," and saying the minimum $5 payout was "adequate, if not exceptional." Consumers who are seeking a refund must submit a claim form attesting that they paid for game currency without authorizing the charges, and that they have not already received a refund. Judge Davila also ordered that any class members seeking to be excluded from this settlement to file a request with the court by July 31, and scheduled a hearing final approval of the settlement for Oct. 18.

You can read the entire document related to the settlement here (PDF).


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