Here’s a blast form the past: all the way back in March… 2011, that is, we were looking at the release of iOS 4.3 and talking about the changes being made to how it handled in-app billing. Before then, there was a 15-minute grace period after a user entered his or her password to authenticate a purchase, when subsequent in-app purchases wouldn’t require password confirmation of their own. iOS 4.3 reversed that behavior, but not before Apple drew some complaints from parents whose children has been ringing-up in-app purchases on their bills. The FTC got involved, and now nearly three years later we finally learn what’s become of its investigation, with Apple agreeing to refund some $32.5M worth of in-app purchases.
Beyond just giving back full refunds to affected parents, Apple has to get “express, informed consent” for any and all in-app purchases going forward; sure, it seems to have learned its lesson a while back, but this codifies its responsibilities from here on out.
The FTC complaint hinged on Apple not adequately notifying users about that 15-minute during which purchases could be made without individual authorization.