You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Apple will refund at least $32.5m to customers in app case

Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez at a press conference Wednesday in Washington, DC.

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez at a press conference Wednesday in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Apple will refund at least $32.5 million to consumers to settle a federal case involving purchases that kids made without their parents’ permission while playing on mobile apps, the government announced Wednesday.

The Federal Trade Commission said Apple will make full refunds for any such in-app purchases made by kids while playing on mobile phones and other devices, and incurring charges without parents’ knowledge or permission.

Continue reading below

The commission said it had received tens of thousands of complaints about unauthorized charges.

Edith Ramirez, the agency’s head, said the settlement only involves children’s mobile apps and charges racked up when kids bought things such as virtual currency or dragon food. In some cases, Ramirez said, charges ran into the hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

The $32.5 million is the minimum that Apple would pay. As part of the settlement, Apple is required to pay full refunds to consumers for kids’ unauthorized purchases, so the number could go higher. If it doesn’t rise to $32.5 million, the difference would be paid to the FTC, Ramirez said.

The FTC said the apps included a 15-minute window in which passwords were not needed to make the purchases, but that Apple did not inform users about that.

Apple is the world’s most valued company as measured by market capitalization.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.