Apple notifies parents of in-app purchase settlement details

E-mail lets parents know how they can claim compensation for unauthorized use of in-app purchase in games and apps sold through the App Store.

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Apple has begun notifying the parents how they will be compensated for large bills racked up by their children through unauthorized use of in-app purchases in games and apps sold through the App Store.

An e-mail sent by the "Apple In-App Purchase Litigation Administrator" describes how the approximately 23 million people, as part of a class-action lawsuit, can apply for compensation. Parents have until January 13, 2014, to claim a $5 iTunes gift cards for charges less than $30, according to the e-mail. The maximum compensation parents can expect is the total amount charged during a single 45-day period without their permission.

Parents who complained that it was far too easy to buy digital goods in games without the need to re-enter an Apple ID password sued Apple in 2011. After a parent downloaded a free or paid title using their password, the child (or someone else) could proceed to make purchases without those credentials, as long as it was within a certain time period.

Apple changed that behavior as part of a system software update in March 2011, but not before some parents were hit with massive bills.

The lawsuit was unrelated to another legal complaint involving in-app purchases. A patent holder named Lodsys made waves in early 2011, suing companies large and small, alleging that they were infringing on its intellectual property by including the option to buy things within the software. Apple joined that suit in April of last year in an effort to defend those developing on its platform.