Apple reaches out to in-app purchase customers, offers refund for purchases made by minors


Police officer Doug Crossan reported his son Cameron for fraud after Cameron spent £3,700 on the App Store

Apple has sent an email to customers who recently made in-app purchases on their iOS devices informing them that any purchases made by a minor were subject to a refund. This is the latest in a series of steps Apple has taken to ensure that children do not make unauthorized purchases on a parent’s device or iTunes account.

The email tells customers that if they suspect a purchase was made by a minor, they can request a refund by logging into their iTunes account and reporting a problem with the purchase:

Dear iTunes account owner,

Apple is committed to providing parents and kids with a great experience on the App Store. We review all app content before allowing it on our store, provide a wide range of age-appropriate content, and include parental controls in iOS to make it easy for parents to restrict or disable access to content.

We’ve heard from some customers that it was too easy for their kids to make in-app purchases. As a result, we’ve improved controls for parents so they can better manage their children’s purchases, or restrict them entirely. Additionally, we are offering refunds in certain cases.

Please follow the steps to submit a refund request:

Find your in-app purchase records. Check your email for iTunes receipts or use a computer to sign in to your iTunes account and view your Purchase History.

Use this link to submit your refund quest to Apple.

Provide the requested information and enter “Refund for in-App Purchases made by a minor” in the Details section.

Apple will review your request and contact you via email about your refund status. All refund requests must be submitted no later than April 15, 2015.

Apple has been wary of minors making in-app purchases in games and other apps since the company faced a class-action lawsuit from parents whose children had racked up impossibly high bills as well as an investigation by the FTC. The story of a police officer who reported his teenage son for fraud after the son spent over £3,700 on the App Store—which Apple refused to refund—certainly didn’t help things either.

In an attempt to prevent such issues, Apple added an in-app purchase label to the descriptions of apps that support the feature. A new page about how in-app purchases work was added to the App Store as well.

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  1. ryanlindsley - 9 years ago

    Still bugs me. If a parent gives a kid their credit card info, and lets them run loose in a toy/candy store, is it really the store’s fault?

    • B Vox (@B_Vox_Pro) - 9 years ago

      Look at the father face! Soon this Police officer will sue The Police Department when his son use his gun…

    • Sharon McManus - 9 years ago

      The main point here is that 3rd party billing was not authorized. They need to get a second level of authorization. They make it very easy for charges to run up; however, it’s not easy to find the little button you are supposed to click in order to de-authorize in-app purchases. Being cheated and duped is too commonplace. You are only authorizing APPLE to charge your card, not every other application.

  2. 007pandas - 9 years ago

    Ok you have an educated child who want to use your or their iPad you purchased for them and you didn’t set ground rules for use?

    So the child violates your rule as most children will do since the beginning of time. The parent want the maker of the app to refund the parent because their child violated a house rule.

    I wonder if theses are the same iPads that have features allowing the adult/parent owner to program the device preventing the child from making purchases from sites that the parent would not approve of?

    I guess these are the same parents who sue the maker/owner of rocks when their child threw a rock and broke a window.

    I think Doug’s son owes his dad not the app maker.

  3. allowmetopost - 9 years ago

    If the kid in your photo at the head of this article bought in-app purchases and didn’t know it? Then his father, also in the photo has a lot more to worry about his son and his parenting. If that kid didn’t know what he was doing? Then son, you have a long road of life ahead of you that daddy, let alone Apple will not be bailing you out of.

    Any kid, gee let’s see – 8 years on up knows what in-app purchasing is. And if mommy or daddy hasn’t given them an iTunes allowance – let alone protected their iOS device if using that – you pay.

    Apple must play for stupid kids? AND parents? Amazing.

  4. You can tell from the pic that the family is stupid.

  5. sardonick - 9 years ago

    Glad the dad stepped up with hard love. However, those “kids” should pay off their debts, not get refunds. There’s very little that’s innocent anymore, and this isn’t even in the ballpark.

  6. Roger J. Caldwell - 9 years ago

    I believe this would be another Penn & Teller Bullshit moment. Brought to you by irresponsible parents & children; and the Corporation for Public Decline.

    When will the responsibility return to where it belongs….the parents! If you choose to have children, then you must accept the responsibility for their actions. Also, teach them to be responsible citizens and that their actions have consequences. Stop the scape-goating and expecting everyone to pay for your choices.

  7. iMacheads - 9 years ago

    Reblogged this on iMacheads and commented:
    This is good news.