WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 16, 2014, 07:40 PM

Apple to pay $32.5 million to consumers

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -If you have an iPhone or iPad, you may be in line for part of at least $32.5 million.

By: WDAY Staff Reports , WDAY

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -If you have an iPhone or iPad, you may be in line for part of at least $32.5 million.

An agreement between federal regulators and Apple means Apple will pay parents millions because it was too easy for kids to make purchases in apps without parental consent.

With $10 billion spent in the Apple store last year, apparently, kids found a lot of apps for that.

If you can't figure out something on your smartphone , it may be your tech savvy kids that help you with your wi-fi, downloading and data space issues.

But, their slick smartphone skills have cost parents across the country hundreds, even thousands of dollars in purchases that didn't get mom or dad's ok.

Now, thanks to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, Apple has agreed to refund those purchases in full and make changes to make sure parents have more control in the future.

To simplify the issue, It all surrounds a 15 minute window.

Parents typed in their password for kids to get a "free" app, and unknowingly the kids had 15 minutes after to buy products or items within the ministores in the app before the password was needed again.

The charges ranged from 99 cents to $100. One mom said her daughter racked up a $2,600 bill in the game "tap pet hotel;" Other parents had $500 bills in Dragon story and Tiny Zoo friends.

The Federal Trade Commission says Apple need to make sure people are clear about the 15 minute window and give them the option to opt out. Apple has agreed and says it started working on the problem in 2011 - after a class action lawsuit then. They say this is like double jeopardy, being penalized twice. Then they sent out 28 million notifications and are re-funding 37,000 people. But the FTC says the problems have continued.

And $32.5 million is the very least Apple will play. If claims come in below that number, the FTC gets the difference. And if claims come in for more, there is no limit to what Apple will pay.

You'll be hearing from Apple by March 31 about the refunds and other changes. If you feel like you are owed money and don't get contacted, you should contact Apple directly.