Complaint information
  • Author: Anonymous
  • Date: 07.3.2012
  • 0
 (Votes #: 0)


APPLE INC., the world’s largest corporation, has a lot of parents and
teenagers feeling scammed by in-app purchases made through an iTunes account.

The scam typically enables the user to download a game onto their iPod or iPad
for free from Apple’s App Store and then once the software for the game has been
downloaded it utilizes in-app purchases of virtual currency, extra levels, or other
add-ons and charges the credit card on the iTunes account without the informed
consent of the user.

The iTunes in-app scam first came to the surface in the United States in February
2011 when parents became outraged to find that games ostensibly geared towards kids,
such as Smurfs' Village or Tap Fish, relied on in-app purchases of in-game
virtual currency to do many tasks. Players in Smurfs' Village can buy a wagon of
"smurfberries" for $99.99 in the quest to build a Smurf hut while Tap Fish players
spend hundreds of "fish bucks" to buy food for exotic fish. Lawyers threatened to
take Apple to task for inducing children to spend hundreds of dollars of their
parents' money on in-app game purchases because it was very unlikely that parents
or children fully understood that a virtual purchases concluded through an
application downloaded for free via iTunes could cost users and parents hundreds of

US government officials including the FTC investigated the situation, but ultimately
nothing of any consequence was done to limit the charging of huge amounts of real
money to unsuspecting users or parents. The lack of action by governments to
curtail such obviously unethical business practices essentially changed the frontier
of Internet law. Sleazy developers would be free to use whatever means they wanted
to garner extra revenue as long as they fell within the scope of Apple’s in-app
purchase policies.

Apple Inc. turned the tables and turned in-app purchases into a lucrative
business. In March 2012, Apple sent out a memo to developers around the world
clarifying that in-app purchases would be allowed even in games targeted to kids,
but that Apple’s cut would be increased to 30% of the total collected through in-app
purchases using iTunes.

Several scrupulous companies, such as Beehive Europe, which has developed a
Snoopy Treasure Hunt app, have now inserted an auto-purchase function that
seems to charge the credit card on file with iTunes while the user is away from
the device. Virtual currency is translated to actual dollars charged
against the credit cards of a user or parent without anyone’s knowledge or legal
consent. I personally received charges of over $700 during a one-week period that
included many days when my iPad was not being actively used.

You may ask…why would Apple allow these unethical business practices to continue
and risk damaging their reputation? Although in-app purchases in games
marketed to minors is a clear scam, it is also very very profitable. When I
complained to iTunes about the improper charges, the Customer Service rep politely
agreed to waive the penalty – but on a one-time basis. Some Apple employees are
actually being trained to tell consumers and parents to assume responsibility for
these iTunes in-app purchases even though Apple is clearly complicit in allowing
scrupulous developers to utilize new software to victimize kids and other
unsuspecting users who are not aware that real money may be paid on account of
applications downloaded for free from the App Store.

Apple Inc. continues to garner millions of dollars of ill-gotten gains by allowing
the charging of in-app purchases to credit cards on file with the iTunes Store.
Although there is no dispute that in-app purchase schemes are the culpability of
unethical developers, the world’s largest corporation – Apple Inc. – must be held
ultimately responsible since it approves the apps for sale and facilitates the
in-app purchase mechanism.

and for those who try to justify this and pass the responsibility on to the parents.. which is also true, but Apple is the REAL problem here

comment from concerned parent..

Password or no password is not the issue. Embedding this type of “device” in a child’s game is highly manipulative and unethical. Have any of you played any of these games in which these types of purchases are embedded? I have and I can tell you that when you are in the middle of a game and totally focused and you have the opportunity to win or advance it is very, very difficult not to purchase the coins, points, whatever. I can’t imagine the power of the emotion that a kid must feel. This suit must go forward and regulations put in place.

Thank You for reading of this Complaint / Review.
Complaint author: Anonymous

Country: USA
State: California
City: Cupertino
Address: 1 Infinite Loop
ZIP code: 95014
Phone: 8002752273

Category: Miscellaneous

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