App purchases, child 'exploitation' lead to new Apple suit

 
on April 16 2011 2:11 PM

A new lawsuit is alleging that Apple's iPhone and iPad does not do enough to prevent unauthorized purchases of applications by children, allowing the company to bank millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains.

Garen Meguerian of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, is the lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit claiming that Apple's purchase policy makes for unlawful exploitation of children by not doing enough to prevent purchases from iTunes and Apple's App Store.

Minors 13 and older are permitted to open their own Apple accounts, and minors younger than 13 may purchase Game Currency by using their parents' general Apple password (no special Apple password is required to purchase Game Currency, according to the suit, which was filed in a Northern California district court.

Meguerian claims that the company's approach allowed his 9-year-old daughter to purchase roughly $200 in virtual goods without permission. He was completely unaware that these games included in-game currency and was shocked to find the charges on his account.

This isn't the first time Apple's purchase policies have come into question.

Last February Congress asked the Federal Trade Commission to examine in-app purchases from Apple and whether or not consumers are being unfairly charged.

I am concerned about how these applications are being promoted and delivered to consumers with respect to children, who are unlikely to understand the ramifications of in-app purchases, Edward Markey (D) wrote to FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz at the time.

Since that time, Apple changed its approach with iOS 4.3, requiring a password for all in-app purchases, but not before the company allegedly pocketed millions of dollars on unauthorized purchases, Meguerian charges.

Apple did not comment.

Meguerian is suing Apple for breach of contract and unjust enrichment, among other things. He wants damages as well as attorneys' fees and costs.

 

Share this article