Parents sue Apple over “unfair profiting” from cash transactions in children’s games.
Parents outraged at the large bills run up by their children when playing games on their iPads and iPhones have directed their anger at Apple.
They believe that the electronics giant and maker of iPhone and iPad devices is unfairly profiting from in-app payments in games specifically aimed at children, such as the addictive Smurfs’ Village.
Although many games available on the iOS platform cost nothing to download, making them enticing to children, players are often required to pay for in-play extras such as virtual currency, which allow them to progress more quickly.
Add-ons purchased in the Smurfs’ Village Smurfberry Shop cost between £2.99 and £69.99, making it easy for children to run up huge bills without any understanding of the ramifications of their purchases, or any need for parental authorisation.
In-App purchases are simply billed to the iTunes account and associated credit card - the details of which are entered just once upon registration - coming as a nasty surprise to some parents, especially when bills have sailed over a thousand pounds.
Niamh Bolton told the BBC she felt “physically sick” after receiving a bill for £1,500 which was run up by her 10-year-old daughter while playing Tap Pet Hotel.
Apple has attempted to get the case thrown out by arguing that parents do have the option to restrict in-app purchasing by applying the relevant controls in iOS.
However, the parents believe Apple hasn’t gone far enough. They argue that children are still being encouraged to buy items due to the addictive nature of the games, and that parents are not being made fully aware of the potential costs.