Back in February, Apple issued a warning of sorts to Capcom in the wake of complaints about the game Smurfs Village. At the time, Smurfs Village was a top grossing iPhone game that while available as a free download, offered users the ability to make in-app purchases using real money. As a result, kids, without their parents knowledge, inadvertently generated exorbitant iTunes bills via the purchase of Smurf Berries that sometimes cost as much as $99.99.
Kids were able to make said purchases because iTunes does not require the re-entry of a password 15 minutes after an account password has been entered.
But Smurfs Village wasn’t the only game that tempted young users with in-app purchases.
And so, a contingent of parents from California back in April brought a class action lawsuit against Apple alleging that Apple wrongly allows children to make in-app purchases that can result in bills in hundreds of dollars, a problem exacerbated by apps that are free to download, but are chock full of in-app content where secondary purchases can add up quickly.
Apple tried to have the suit dismissed but a federal judge ruled last week that the suit can proceed.
That lawsuit and other complaints led to changes in iOS 4.3 that narrowed the window for when one’s iTunes password is needed when making purchases in the App Store and in-app purchases, but the lawsuit is based on the conditions before those changes were made.
Judge Davila agreed to dismiss one of the claims for relief the plaintiffs made, but allows four other claims for relief to proceed. That means the case is narrowed, but can progress.
So Apple made changes to address the problem and these parents are still suing? Man, these class actions are something else, I’ll tell ya. If the damages sought by these parents exceed the amount spent on in-app purchases, that’s something foul right there. But given the way our courts unfortunately work sometimes, that wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.
via LA Times