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.