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Apple could pay $100m to settle in-app purchases lawsuit

'Bait apps' are cause for concern, with Apple compensating customers in the US over in-app purchases.

Apple has agreed to settle a lawsuit in the US concerning 'bait apps', which target children and encourage them to spend big on virtual items. The Cupertino company could shell out around $100m (£66m) to disgruntled parents, the Telegraph reports.

It won't all be in cash though. Parents complaining will be eligible for $5 of iTunes credit, which seems a bit cheeky to me, seeing as that's where the problem started. If the bill was more than $5, they can claim up to $30 of iTunes vouchers, while if it was more than $30, Apple will front up with a cash refund.

Apple will notify more than 23 million US iTunes account holders about the proposal. It still needs to get the green light from a federal judge before Apple will listen to claims.

Anyone wanting to claim will have to attest that a minor bought game currency without their parent or guardian giving them the password.

Bait apps are controversial. Back in 2011, when the lawsuit was filed, anyone buying something within an app on iOS wouldn't be asked to re-enter their password if they'd typed it in the last 15 minutes. This could and did spell huge bills for unsuspecting parents.

Apple has since deactivated the 15-minute rule, making you enter your password every time you want to buy.

British consumer groups have weighed in with warnings about in-app purchases across all platforms. Last month, regulator PhonepayPlus claimed complaints about unexpectedly large bills resulting from in-app purchases had shot up by 300 per cent in a year. Two thirds of 11-to-16-year-olds downloaded their own apps, according to PhonepayPlus, which could mean nasty surprises for parents come bill time.

Have you been stung by in-app purchases? What can be done to curb ill-advised spending? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.