Apple Owes 32M USD to Parents for Allowing Kids’ Unauthorized Purchases

March 5, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. reimburse /ˌriɪmˈbɜrs/ (v.) – to give back the exact amount of money that a person has spent or paid
Example: The store will reimburse the customers for defective items.

2. owe /oʊ/ (v.) – to be required to pay
Example: The customer owes one dollar to the store.

3. consent /kənˈsɛnt/ (n.) – permission or approval to do something
Example: Downloading mobile apps requires the users’ consent.

4. complaint /kəmˈpleɪnt/ (n.) – a statement of disapproval or dissatisfaction
Example: The store received various complaints about the faulty product.

5. decree /dɪˈkri/ (n.) – an official decision or order from the authorities
Example: The company followed the decree sent by the government agency.


Read the text below.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Apple Inc. is required to reimburse customers whose kids were able to purchase apps even without parental consent.

Apple owes at least $32.5 million to the said consumers. According to the FTC, Apple provided weak security in approving in-app purchases, which led to unauthorized downloads by children.

When a parent enters his or her password to authorize the download of an app, the next purchases will not require a password for 15 minutes. Because of this, the FTC received numerous complaints from Apple users. A mother reported that her child shopped $2,600 worth of items in the Tap Pet Hotel app. This purchase was charged directly from the account holder’s credit card.

Most children’s games can be downloaded for free. But while playing, the app may require other purchases for users to fully enjoy the game. A store item can cost from 99 cents to $99.99.   

Apple agreed with the customers’ sentiments and accepted the decree imposed by the FTC. The company said the issue of refund is being addressed since last year.

An FTC commissioner said Apple did the adjustments in response to the complaints. However, the company still failed to inform users about the 15-minute period in which unrestricted purchases can be done. Also, the FTC noted that the App Store’s billing information should be more user-friendly and fair to consumers.

Before March 31, 2014, Apple needs to notify users that refunds are open to those who made accidental purchases. If the total repayments do not reach $32.5 million, Apple will have to give the remaining amount to the FTC.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Should the accidental purchases be blamed only on Apple? Why or why not?
·         How do you think this issue will affect Apple and its apps? Kindly discuss.

Discussion B

·         How does technology affect kids?
·         How can we encourage kids to become less attached to technology? Kindly explain.


March 5, 2014