16 Jan 2014

Apple to refund parents over app bills

10:57 am on 16 January 2014

Apple has agreed to pay back at least $US32.5 million to parents who didn't know their children were running up huge bills via mobile apps.

The company struck the deal with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which said there had been tens of thousands of complaints.

Apple will be required to change its billing procedures.

Apple will be required to change its billing procedures. Photo: AFP

Some parents ended up being charged thousands of dollars for purchases made by their children without their consent.

As part of the settlement, Apple will also be required to change its billing procedures to make sure customers have given consent before they are charged for in-app purchases.

The FTC's complaint alleged that Apple failed to inform parents that by entering a password they were approving a single in-app purchase and also 15 minutes of additional unlimited purchases their children could make without further consent.

It also said that Apple often presented a password prompt screen for parents to enter their details without explaining that this would finalise any purchase made in the app.

One woman said her daughter had spent $2600 in one app.

This refund settlement only covers customers who have made purchases through Apple's US app store but the BBC said Apple had in the past almost always refunded parents in the UK who complained about big bills from their children's in-app purchases.