Lawsuit Filed Against Apple Over In-App Purchases

A father from Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against Apple over its consent of allowing in-app purchases in free iPhone games. He claims that children will have to spend real money to purchases certain items or upgrades that are often required to continue playing the game.

In behalf of other parents and legal guardians, the lawsuit charges the company for allowing unauthorized for in-game contents tantamount to “unlawful exploitation” of people especially children who certainly do not know that purchasing items would cost their parents some penny.

Moreover, the suit specifically targets games built for iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. These device allow option for digital merchandise and online purchases.

Among the games that ignited the lawsuit are City Story, Zombie Café and Treasure Story iPhone games.

Garen Meguerian of Phoenixville, PA, the father who sued Apple, said his two daughters, 9 and 12 years old, have piled up $200 for buying in-game items like “Gems,” “City Cash” and “Zombie Toxin.”

As stated in the lawsuit, Meguerian said that Apple allows in-app purchases for 15 minutes after the password for iTunes account has been entered. Logically, anybody who will get hold of the device would be able to purchase anything they like even without permission from the account holder.

Apple, however, defended itself saying that such policy has already been changed for in-app purchases since the release of iOS 4.3 wherein the password is required for every purchase. A password is never good enough, said Meguerian, who charges Apple for pocketing “millions of dollars” before they finally implemented such policy.

“Because the passwords now required for purchases of Game Currency are the same passwords required for any Apple purchase, minors aware of such password may purchase Game Currency without authorization from their parents for that purchase,” states Meguerian’s lawsuit.

The lawsuit maybe just in time as it follows an instance in which an 8-year-old girl racked up a generous $1,400 bill purchasing in-game items while playing Capcom game Smurf’s Village. For this, the US Federal Trade Commission conducts an investigation regarding Apple’s in-app purchase policies and system.

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