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(Kotaku)   Court rules that parents are not responsible for their precious snowflakes making in-app purchases without their permission, orders Apple to pay $32.5 million   (kotaku.com) divider line 75
    More: Obvious, regulations, mobile apps, CEO Tim Cook, parents, iPhone, informed consent  
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2397 clicks; posted to Business » on 15 Jan 2014 at 8:24 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



75 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-01-16 03:26:49 AM  
Step 1: Disable Wi-Fi and cellular modem on mobile device
Step 2: Hand device to kid
Step 3: Profit


Why you are handing an internet enabled device to a kid that young?  There are a lot of other stupid things kids can get into.
 
2014-01-16 03:34:39 AM  

Trainspotr: So Apple makes money off the in-app purchases? I always figured that money went to the game publisher.


Off the top of my head, i think it's something like 30% of in app purchases go to Apple.

I've not own an iOS device for years, so can't check if it's still the case, but that's why Amazon's apps (like Kindle) go to their website rather than being able to buy directly from the app.
 
2014-01-16 04:06:15 AM  

bingethinker: Mikey1969: Flappyhead: Mikey1969: Yeah, I have no problem with this decision... They have had years to fix this shiat, this cropped up awhile ago, and they haven't worked to prevent it because it has them rolling in dough.

I seem to recall an incident last year with a Simpsons freemium game that operated along those same lines.  You'd input the password for an in-game purchase once and then you could just keep buying shiat without ever entering it again during that play session.  Some kid racked up a few thousand in a month and mom didn't even realize it until the bill arrived.

And THAT'S why I have no problem with this, it's obviously doing exactly what it's designed to do, which is take advantage of kids being kids while the parents think they're safe because they entered the password. Hell, it's so easy to do that I can even see younger kids buying things without even realizing that they are costing their parents more money.

The amount of money Apple gained is too small to be important to them, and it's cost them far more in bad publicity. I see no evil intent, just some lack of attention to detail.


Of course you don't, you consistently defend Apple in these threads.

/don't really see any evil intent either, just calling you out as usual
 
2014-01-16 04:33:51 AM  

TheManWho: Trainspotr: So Apple makes money off the in-app purchases? I always figured that money went to the game publisher.

Off the top of my head, i think it's something like 30% of in app purchases go to Apple.

I've not own an iOS device for years, so can't check if it's still the case, but that's why Amazon's apps (like Kindle) go to their website rather than being able to buy directly from the app.


Yeah, spot on. 30%. 
https://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/distribute.html

You pick the price
You get 70% of sales revenue
Receive payments monthly
No charge for free apps
No credit card fees
No hosting fees
No marketing fees
 
2014-01-16 06:58:14 AM  

Mikey1969: Yeah, I got tired of iTunes last year when they farked it up, now I use an alternate player and only use iTunes to manage my iPod (Still the best mp3 player design, really). Otherwise I don't touch iTunes.

BTW, if you're looking for a good media player and haven't settled on one, check out Clementine. It's free, cross platform, and will manage an iPod. You still need ITunes on there, and have to load at least 1 song thru iTunes, but after that, you're free to ignore ITunes forever...


Itunes is a damn virus, refuse to have it on any of my boxes.
 
2014-01-16 07:00:40 AM  
So, parents let their kids have their phone/tablet. They don't put a password on it and have it set to required for in game purchases, and Apple has to pay? WTF is wrong with this world.

My kids made a purchase once. We now have data/wifi turned off unless the game requires it and all purchases need a password.
 
2014-01-16 08:00:04 AM  
Amazon was the wrost when the first gen Fire came out.  When you set a credit card on Amazon everything was one click with no passwords.  So if you gave your kids the device to use they could always buy stuff with no password needed.  I complained to them for months, they would refund and they gave me gift cards and then finally patched it to prevent one click purchases without some kind of security.
 
2014-01-16 08:05:25 AM  

thecactusman17: The6502Man: Hell, I don't know.... Turn on Airplane mode before handing the phone off to little johnny?  If I can't lock out in-app purchasing somehow, AND the game MUST be on-line to play, then they ain't playing.  It's not like there aren't a bazillion games on the iPhone store.

They had no reason to expect that the card could be charged again without entering another password. No doubt there's some escape clause for Apple but it's a crock of shiat excuse. Parents did everything as responsibly as anyone could expect, Apple farked them over.


It's only logical that there would be a window of time during which a purchase could be made. If that window was too short (say, 1 second), then people who were slow or who paused for a moment during the purchase would have to enter their password over and over.

And the fact is not 'buried' in the legalese. Go to Apple.com, click the 'Support' tab, and search for "Restricting In-App Purchases" to get this page, where it clearly states:

"After you authenticate your account with your passcode, you won't have to enter your passcode again for additional purchases made within 15 minutes (except for In-App Purchases, which require a separate authentication). After you authenticate an In-App Purchase, no further authentication will be required for subsequent In-App Purchases made within 15 minutes. To disable the 15-minute rule so that a passcode is required for every purchase, follow these steps:"...

This is just yet another case of people being too stupid to read and/or follow the rules, and blaming everyone else but themselves for the consequences.
 
2014-01-16 08:29:55 AM  

fredklein: This is just yet another case of people being too stupid to read and/or follow the rules, and blaming everyone else but themselves for the consequences.


I'm sure everyone that has an iDevice went to Apple.com  then suport then searched for "Restricing In-App Purchases".  Just because information is buried somewhere on a website doesn't mean you are free and clear.  I'm sure you follow every law and rule everywhere....

15 minutes is excessive, 5 minutes tops, maybe 3; or maybe stop requiring you to enter the stupid password and just use a pin number.  I'm so tired of having to enter my password for free apps.
 
2014-01-16 09:48:37 AM  

Mikey1969: JohnAnnArbor: Mikey1969: Yeah, I have no problem with this decision... They have had years to fix this shiat, this cropped up awhile ago, and they haven't worked to prevent it because it has them rolling in dough.

At least the Google store now has a setting to require a password for purchases even if the credit card is stored, but it isn't on by default, and I don't know if you have that 15-minute window like iTunes has.

Or not.  Actually, Apple was on its way to refunding all of it before the FTC got involved.

Only because they got caught. There's no way that this is an "accident" on anyone's part, whether it's Apple, Google or the game developers. The more they can give you a "free" app and then make it impossible to beat unless you spend money, or the more they can just trick you in any way, the more serioius money they make.

It may have originally been something that nobody thought about, but I can guarantee you that they knew about it well before any stories broke, and continued to let it ride as long as possible.


They've actually been pretty good about making these refunds for a while.  A couple of years ago, my friend helped her parents get a refund through Apple when her little sister spent a couple hundred without knowing it.
 
2014-01-16 10:28:25 AM  

change1211: One more loss for personal responsibility!


Well, a lot of people just don't know any better.  How can you be responsible for something you didn't even know existed so that you couldn't know to educate yourself about it?
 
2014-01-16 10:40:31 AM  

fredklein: thecactusman17: The6502Man: Hell, I don't know.... Turn on Airplane mode before handing the phone off to little johnny?  If I can't lock out in-app purchasing somehow, AND the game MUST be on-line to play, then they ain't playing.  It's not like there aren't a bazillion games on the iPhone store.

They had no reason to expect that the card could be charged again without entering another password. No doubt there's some escape clause for Apple but it's a crock of shiat excuse. Parents did everything as responsibly as anyone could expect, Apple farked them over.

It's only logical that there would be a window of time during which a purchase could be made. If that window was too short (say, 1 second), then people who were slow or who paused for a moment during the purchase would have to enter their password over and over.

And the fact is not 'buried' in the legalese. Go to Apple.com, click the 'Support' tab, and search for "Restricting In-App Purchases" to get this page, where it clearly states:

"After you authenticate your account with your passcode, you won't have to enter your passcode again for additional purchases made within 15 minutes (except for In-App Purchases, which require a separate authentication). After you authenticate an In-App Purchase, no further authentication will be required for subsequent In-App Purchases made within 15 minutes. To disable the 15-minute rule so that a passcode is required for every purchase, follow these steps:"...

This is just yet another case of people being too stupid to read and/or follow the rules, and blaming everyone else but themselves for the consequences.


Why does there need to be a window? Why not tie in data entry with the purchase? That is what happens with most internet transactions and most people reasonably assume that is what is happening if they are not told otherwise.

Or, if it is needed for some reason, close the window once a purchase has been made.

Sure, the convenience is nice, but it seems really silly to have that as a default.
 
2014-01-16 11:18:07 AM  

hitmanric: Can you buy aps, music, etc.... without an itunes card? If you can use a credit card and you leave that info on your kids iphone then maybe it's not really apples fault.


The basic problem came from parents entering the password to do something and not realizing the password would remain active for 15 minutes--time in which the kid then did an unauthorized charge.  The parents *THOUGHT* they had control.

Mikey1969: And THAT'S why I have no problem with this, it's obviously doing exactly what it's designed to do, which is take advantage of kids being kids while the parents think they're safe because they entered the password. Hell, it's so easy to do that I can even see younger kids buying things without even realizing that they are costing their parents more money.


Exactly.  There were a lot of games obviously designed to exploit this--in-app purchase options that were totally out of line with what one would reasonably spend on such a game.
 
2014-01-16 11:31:31 AM  

reillan: change1211: One more loss for personal responsibility!

Well, a lot of people just don't know any better.  How can you be responsible for something you didn't even know existed so that you couldn't know to educate yourself about it?


It was in the iPad manual wasn't it... I'm sure it was in the manual.
 
2014-01-16 12:05:16 PM  

flak attack: Mikey1969: JohnAnnArbor: Mikey1969: Yeah, I have no problem with this decision... They have had years to fix this shiat, this cropped up awhile ago, and they haven't worked to prevent it because it has them rolling in dough.

At least the Google store now has a setting to require a password for purchases even if the credit card is stored, but it isn't on by default, and I don't know if you have that 15-minute window like iTunes has.

Or not.  Actually, Apple was on its way to refunding all of it before the FTC got involved.

Only because they got caught. There's no way that this is an "accident" on anyone's part, whether it's Apple, Google or the game developers. The more they can give you a "free" app and then make it impossible to beat unless you spend money, or the more they can just trick you in any way, the more serioius money they make.

It may have originally been something that nobody thought about, but I can guarantee you that they knew about it well before any stories broke, and continued to let it ride as long as possible.

They've actually been pretty good about making these refunds for a while.  A couple of years ago, my friend helped her parents get a refund through Apple when her little sister spent a couple hundred without knowing it.


Which just makes me suspect that they know damn well how douchy this is, and would prefer a refund to airing this out in court.

I'm all for personal responsibility, but ONLY when combined with corporate responsibility. They don't get to do everything possible to screw us and then fall back on responsibility.
 
2014-01-16 12:06:09 PM  

Magorn: In other news subby is a dumbass who thinks six year old children should be able to contract for goods and services on their own


Damn you for making me remember anything from B-Law.

/these parents may not be "in the eyes of the law" negligent, but they're still morans
 
2014-01-16 12:21:23 PM  
Hopefully seeing stuff like this would encourage the people who are making apps to make it a little bit harder to "accidentally" click on purchase buttons.
 
2014-01-16 12:25:21 PM  

if_i_really_have_to: You're required to either give a credit card or an itunes card number when you create your account.


I didn't have to give them my credit card info when I created my account.
 
2014-01-16 02:45:19 PM  

reillan: change1211: One more loss for personal responsibility!

Well, a lot of people just don't know any better.  How can you be responsible for something you didn't even know existed so that you couldn't know to educate yourself about it?


You go out an educate yourself.  Being ignorant is not a defense, so being stupid certainly isn't.
You let your brat play with it, you pay for the results.  This ruling is BS.

Your snot-nose doesn't need a phone, and iPad, a tablet, or a video game.  Accept the responsibility for your own decisions.
 
2014-01-16 03:06:33 PM  
This is how a lot of companies ripped folks off back in the day with those dial-in hint lines that charged by the minute. They knew kids would pick up the phone without permission and reverse charges start accruing.

In app purchases, mircotransaction, etc. all take advantage of this crap and shouldn't be allowed. It is too easy to take advantage of the kid's compulsiveness and lack of understanding when it comes to the real money behind a digital price tag.
 
2014-01-16 03:08:01 PM  

fredklein: thecactusman17: The6502Man: Hell, I don't know.... Turn on Airplane mode before handing the phone off to little johnny?  If I can't lock out in-app purchasing somehow, AND the game MUST be on-line to play, then they ain't playing.  It's not like there aren't a bazillion games on the iPhone store.

They had no reason to expect that the card could be charged again without entering another password. No doubt there's some escape clause for Apple but it's a crock of shiat excuse. Parents did everything as responsibly as anyone could expect, Apple farked them over.

It's only logical that there would be a window of time during which a purchase could be made. If that window was too short (say, 1 second), then people who were slow or who paused for a moment during the purchase would have to enter their password over and over.

And the fact is not 'buried' in the legalese. Go to Apple.com, click the 'Support' tab, and search for "Restricting In-App Purchases" to get this page, where it clearly states:

"After you authenticate your account with your passcode, you won't have to enter your passcode again for additional purchases made within 15 minutes (except for In-App Purchases, which require a separate authentication). After you authenticate an In-App Purchase, no further authentication will be required for subsequent In-App Purchases made within 15 minutes. To disable the 15-minute rule so that a passcode is required for every purchase, follow these steps:"...

This is just yet another case of people being too stupid to read and/or follow the rules, and blaming everyone else but themselves for the consequences.


Yes, it's very clear and obvious that to find out more about a feature you don't know about, you should go to a website, click on something and search for the thing you don't know about.
 
2014-01-16 03:10:06 PM  

ds615: reillan: change1211: One more loss for personal responsibility!

Well, a lot of people just don't know any better.  How can you be responsible for something you didn't even know existed so that you couldn't know to educate yourself about it?

You go out an educate yourself.  Being ignorant is not a defense, so being stupid certainly isn't.
You let your brat play with it, you pay for the results.  This ruling is BS.

Your snot-nose doesn't need a phone, and iPad, a tablet, or a video game.  Accept the responsibility for your own decisions.


But again, you don't know that it's even possible to educate yourself about it.  Let's say you buy an iPhone, you download a few apps, you talk to the guys at the genius bar, etc.   You're good with your phone.  You even manage to fix it when downloads don't go through properly, or when it fails to update the iOS properly.  You're an iPhone power-user.  Yet, you don't know that the system keeps you logged in after making a purchase.  You watch your child play, and nothing is out of the ordinary, so you figure it's OK to let your child play without your attention.  There's no warning, no trigger for your brain to say "hey, maybe I need to learn more about how iPhone payments work."

Let me put this another way... Let's say you like toast.  You read articles online about healthy eating, and you see that you should eat wheat breads instead of white, so you buy wheat bread.  You see articles saying that toast is easier for your stomach, and that toasting bread unleashes flavor compounds that make it better.  You consider yourself an expert on toast.  All your life - as a young child getting toast from your parents, as an adult making toast on your own, as a weirdo going to Waffle House for gods-know-why reaosn - you've had your toast burnt to a crisp.  How would you know that all the healthy articles are talking about lightly-browned toast?  How would you know that you need to research burning toast to know that it contains carcinogens?

You can't.  Unless you stumble upon the information, or someone else sees what your doing and knows to warn you about it, you're going to continue in blissful ignorance until something goes horribly, horribly wrong.  In the case of Apple, that something horribly wrong is their fault for setting up a system that easily enables that wrongness.
 
2014-01-16 04:41:15 PM  

Somaticasual: In the 90s, parents did this amazing thing called "take responsibility, lecture the kid, and pay it anyways". What the heck happened, america? I realize we've given away a lot of our freedom over the years, but did we give away the personal responsibility with it?


Bullcrap. I my friend and a few friends made the mistake of thinking we could call the 800 numbers in the back of certain magazines for free, since they weren't 900 numbers. When the $150 charge came through, my parents did this amazing thing called "get in touch with the phone company, have the charges dropped, and beat my, err my friend's, ass". Worked well; no more calls were ever made.
 
2014-01-16 05:28:48 PM  

ds615: reillan: change1211: One more loss for personal responsibility!

Well, a lot of people just don't know any better.  How can you be responsible for something you didn't even know existed so that you couldn't know to educate yourself about it?

You go out an educate yourself.  Being ignorant is not a defense, so being stupid certainly isn't.
You let your brat play with it, you pay for the results.  This ruling is BS.

Your snot-nose doesn't need a phone, and iPad, a tablet, or a video game.  Accept the responsibility for your own decisions.


Nope.

Apple has a duty to inform you of things like, "Your authorization covers all transactions over the next 15 minutes." If they don't inform people, they can be held liable for the results.

You ever open a bank account and they go through the entire document with you and/or make you initial clauses? This is because if they didn't make the clause clear to you there is a chance that it will be deemed unenforceable. It isn't guaranteed either way, but it minimizes their risk.

The court basically ruled that there is no reason to expect a rational person to know this policy. Which makes sense because, for most transactions (online and off), your authorization only applies to a single transaction. As such, a reasonable person can assume this to be the case unless they are told otherwise.

On that basis, it is up to Apple to make it clear what is happening.

Plus you have the angle that children cannot sign an enforceable contract (except in very limited circumstances). Which is simple, straightforward, and common sense. And if you are ever contracting with someone below the age of majority, always get somone older to cosign. Cell phone providers were worried about this for a while, teenagers could get the phone at the contract price and then void the contract.

So your angle then becomes that the parents are negligent in allowing their kids to do this. Which brings us back to reasonable expectations and Apple needing to make the policy blindingly clear.
 
2014-01-16 11:57:26 PM  
My kid made some unauthorized in-app purchases and Apple was really cool about it and refunded the $ immediately.

I bought him an Apple card to buy his stuff with next time, but the AppleStore cards don't allow purchasing of about half the games for some reason.
 
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