Apple agrees to issue in app purchase (IAP) refunds, and the deadline to get yours is 04/15/15. Apple’s in app purchase refund (“mea culpa”) stems from a class action lawsuit filed back in 2011 by parents who claimed their children purchased IAPs using their password, but without parent knowledge. An FTC investigation was also conducted as a result of parent complaints that IAPs were too easy for youngsters to access, resulting in large iTunes bills.
According to AppleInsider: “In January, Apple reached a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in which the company agreed to modify the in-app purchase process to ensure each purchase was expressly authorized by the consumer. The company also earmarked $32.5 million for refunds. Earlier this month, Apple had yet to introduce the promised changes as a Mar. 31 deadline looms.”
On 03/24/14, Apple began sending out emails to those whom have made IAPs during the specified time period and for those whom have made IAPs for specific games. As you can see by the email I received, there has been a big disparity from the original notification date beginning on 03/24 to my notification of 04/01. (Below is an the actual email from Apple):
How To Get Your Apple In App Purchase Refund
Dear iTunes account owner,
Apple is committed to providing parents and kids with a great experience on the App Store. We
review all app content before allowing it on our store, provide a wide range of age-appropriate
content, and include parental controls in iOS to make it easy for parents to restrict or disable
access to content.
We’ve heard from some customers that it was too easy for their kids to make in-app purchases.
As a result, we’ve improved controls for parents so they can better manage their children’s
purchases, or restrict them entirely. Additionally, we are offering refunds in certain cases.
Our records show that you made some in-app purchases, and if any of these were unauthorized purchases by a minor, you might be eligible for a refund from Apple.
Please follow the steps below to submit a refund request:
• Find your in-app purchase records. Check your email for iTunes receipts or use a computer to sign in to your iTunes account and view your Purchase History.
• Use this link to submit your refund request to Apple.
• Provide the requested information and enter “Refund for In-App Purchases made by a minor” in the Details section.
Apple will review your request and contact you via email about your refund status. All refund requests must be submitted no later than April 15, 2015.
If you have any questions or need further assistance with your refund request, please contact Apple.
To learn more about parental controls in iOS, please see this article.
This is good news for anyone whom has experienced large IAPs as a result of their child’s unauthorized purchases. If you get the above email, then you qualify for a reimbursement based on dates of IAPs and for iTunes apps from which those purchases were made in. If you feel you are due an IAP refund, but did not get the above email, you can contact Apple Support. If you are not sure what an in app purchase is and/or want to know how to disable in app purchases, keep on reading!
What Are Apple In App Purchases?
Apple in app purchases or IAPs are purchases that can be made from within an iOS or Mac application on an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, or Mac. IAPs can range from purchasing game currency, unlocking new game levels, to purchasing subscriptions for magazines. There are a wide variety of IAPs, and if you would like more information about in app purchases see iTunes Store: About In-App Purchases. There is a way to disable IAPs to prevent becoming a victim of an unauthorized purchase by your child or others.
How To Disable iOS In App Purchases
If you are concerned your child or someone else can access IAPs on your iOS device, there is a simple way to solve this: disable in app purchases. This is very easy to do, just follow the steps below:
GoTo > Settings
GoTo > General, scroll down to Restrictions
Open > Restrictions, create or enter 4 digit passcode, scroll down to disable in app purchases
Apple’s refund for IAPs is a good thing for consumers, but to prevent any unauthorized IAP it may be best to disable them as a cautionary measure. For Apple’s official IAP restrictions, see Restricting In-App Purchases.
One additional note is with the latest iOS 7 release, Apple now has a 1 time disclaimer that states, “You can now make additional purchases in any app for the next 15 minutes without reentering your password. To change this, tap Settings and go to Restrictions.” While Apple is paying back millions in IAPs, they are also putting consumers on notice with disclaimers that they are not responsible going forward for IAPs made on your device.
Also, the 15 minute window makes it even easier to purchase IAPs – and abuse IAP purchases. So, buyer beware!