Apple Inc. has faced a number of lawsuits from a group of parents. These lawsuits resulted from the company’s way of charging customers without verification. The concerned parents criticized on how loose the company handles its terms of purchase of applications in the iTunes store. These parents discovered unauthorized charges made in their accounts only to find out their kids were the ones who purchased the application online. There seem to be no restrictions on purchasing in the online application store, which even the kids, can buy anytime.
The parents were extremely disappointed when there are charges that appeared on their statement. It was confirmed that their kids purchased applications in the iTunes store. Most of the charges cost almost a hundred dollars – $99 to be exact. The most famous application being purchased by the kids at this price is the Smurf’s Village application. They found it very alarming that their kids can purchase anything in just one click without them knowing.
A settlement is scheduled in a federal court this coming 1st of March. Apple agreed to a settlement with the complainants and wishes it to be approved. If the settlement will be officially approved, the company will have to issue refunds for over 23 million citizens. Since the lawsuit has been filed, the company has been never reluctant and took all the possible actions to revise some of its terms on how applications are purchased. It was a confirmation stated by Michael Boni, a representative of some of the complainants, and we quote:
“We’d like to that our actions had a hand in forcing Apple to make a number of changes. When we filed our lawsuit, and consistently thereafter, Apple has made a number of improvements to its system of in-app purchases.”
The customers are now asked to provide a personal password before allowing them to buy applications in the iTunes store. This is in relation to the mentioned revisions made by Apple after the lawsuits were filed. However, not all applications for sale need a password. There are still applications that can be purchased freely, especially the ones that appear on the pop-up window after entering the customer’s personal password. The company has also been receiving negative comment on its so called “freemium model” – wherein a certain application is free in its first download but will still have to purchase other items afterwards to make the application work. This process is insisting the customers to pay some more which wasn’t a good idea after all.
Apple remains not to release a statement about the issue. Once the settlement is finalized in the court, all the complainants will receive a $5 trans credit. Those who were charged more than $30 will be given a full refund, the entire 23 million citizens who file a complaint. Too bad, these refunds will have to use up a part of its total revenues.