Apple has several games in their app store that can be downloaded for free, but have add-ons that have to be paid for. This is causing a major problem for a number of parents, who have now decided to sue Apple in this regard.
While it is true that the original game is downloaded for free, the add-ons can be quite expensive, and can cost upto ₤70 each. It is also true that the progress of the game without these add-ons can be painfully slow.
It has been found that 65% of revenue generated in the App store comes from “freemium” games. When children play these games, they are possibly tempted by offers displayed within the game to use the credit card details of their parents in order to upgrade or purchase additional features.
When such apps are downloaded by children who get lured into purchasing these add-on features, it is the parents who end up getting quite a shock when they have to make the payment for the purchase.
A group of parents has gone ahead and filed a suit against Apple saying that it is very easy for children to download these apps without authorisation from the parents. Apple requires credit card details to be filled in once and future purchases can be made with just a password.
Apple had asked for the case to be dismissed on the grounds that it is possible to disable the in-app purchasing feature.
US District Judge Edward Davila has however turned down their plea, as the games are addictive in nature and parents are often not aware of the child’s antecedents until it is too late.
While it is possible for parents to get a refund, it is an extremely tedious process, and Apple would do well to put in more controls, by which children cannot easily misuse the credit card or password in the first place.