Apple To Refund App Purchases Void Of Parental Consent

Jan 16, 2014
Originally published on January 16, 2014 1:07 pm
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


Apple has agreed to compensate consumers who bought more than they realized from the company. The company will also fix a problem that led to some unauthorized spending.


The problem they have to fix here requires some explanation. Owners of iPhones and iPads know that Apple has an app store. Press a button and you can shop for applications - those specialized programs to use in your device; playing games, recording videos, whatever. You were supposed to enter a password, to prove that you really want to make the purchase.

MONTAGNE: But apparently, some kids were exploiting a vulnerability in the security system. Your kid asked to download some game for $1.99.

INSKEEP: You - the conscientious and seemingly attentive parent say, OK, and enter the password.

MONTAGNE: But for 15 minutes after you give that approval, the system allows additional purchases without entering the password again. Kids took advantage of that 15 minutes, to buy hundreds or even thousands of dollars' worth of extra stuff. They made so many purchases that Apple has now agreed to pay back $32 million.

INSKEEP: The Federal Trade Commission says Apple must also change its billing methods. So, from now on, your kid will have to peer over your shoulder and memorize your password.


INSKEEP: You’re listening to MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.