Apple 'To Pay £66m' Over Kids' App Downloads
Apple is set to pay out around £66m ($100m) to settle a US lawsuit which claims children were improperly charged while playing iPad and iPhone games.
It is alleged that poor safeguards meant kids were easily able to buy extra features for the free games without their parents' knowledge or permission.
Court papers claim: "Apple failed to adequately disclose that third-party Game Apps, largely available for free and rated as containing content suitable for children, contained the ability to make In-App Purchases."
The case dates back to 2010 and 2011, with Apple updating its software to put in more secure controls on in-game purchases from March 2011.
It has now agreed to give a £3.30 ($5) credit to an estimated 23 million people who were affected. However, if parents can show they were charged more than £20 ($30) then cash refunds will be offered.
The games that were downloaded were designed for children as young as four, claims the lawsuit - which was started by five parents.
One of the parents, Garen Meguerian, says his young daughter spent several hundred dollars on "game currency" while playing "highly addictive" apps like Zombie Cafe and Treasure Story.
Apple previously required a password to be entered for any download or purchase which was valid for 15 minutes without needing to be re-entered.
The system changed in 2011 to make the password mandatory for every transaction, and to warn users that free games might contain the option to buy extra features.
Some technology writers have said that parents should be more aware of the consequences of giving children access to their gadgets and passwords.
Lawyers bringing the case also want Apple to pay their legal fees of £860,000 ($1.3m). The proposed settlement needs court approval and will go before judges on March 1.
Apple has not yet commented on the case.