Apple’s FTC Settlement Puts Kids’ App Issue to Bed — Again

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The Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday that Apple agreed to provide full refunds to consumers whose children inadvertently made in-app purchases while using some of the company’s children’s apps.

“This settlement is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple’s unfair billing, and a signal to the business community: whether you’re doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply,” stated FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize.”

Although the FTC called its consent decree as a victory for consumers, the details of the case suggest the settlement with Apple was a meaningless PR stunt. As previously reported by All Things D, Apple had already settled a class-action suit over the unwanted in-app purchases last year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook cited the earlier settlement in an internal company memo obtained by Re/Code. “Last year, we set out to refund any in-app purchase which may have been made without a parent’s permission,” wrote Cook. “A federal judge agreed with our actions as a full settlement and we felt we had made things right for everyone.” ReCode reports that the FTC still decided to bring its own case against Apple over the same issue.

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