The Federal Trade Commission ruled this week that Apple must refund at least $32.5 million to parents whose children made in-app purchases on iOS devices without their consent. In its ruling, the agency said that Apple did not do enough to ensure purchases made by children were knowingly authorized by their parents. The FTC also highlighted a practice it did not like: allowing users to enter their passwords once for a single purchase then continue to make purchases throughout a 15-minute window.
The FTC said "tens of thousands of parents" had complained to Apple about unauthorized in-app purchases made by their children, including one consumer who claimed that their daughter spent $2,600 in Tap Pet Hotel.
Apple must contact affected users and refund at least $32.5 million in purchases within the next 12 months or surrender the remaining balance to the FTC. The settlement also means Apple has to change some of its policies on app purchases and in-app purchases.