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How many times have you got your iPad back from the kids only to find that they have just added five in-app purchases to your credit card bills?

Not anymore. Apple just gave you a reason to let your kids play and rest assured the bills won’t ramp up.

The company sent out an email to all iTunes account owners who recently made in-app purchases, saying that refunds will be made if the purchases were made by minors without their parents’ knowledge.

“We’ve heard from some customers that it was too easy for their kids to make in-app purchases. As a result, we’ve improved controls for parents so they can better manage their children’s purchases, or restrict them entirely,” the email said.

The new rule comes after a lawsuit filed in 2011 by consumers claiming the company’s malfeasance in not requiring authentication for downloads. Prior to early 2011, anyone could make any in-app purchases without entering a password for up to fifteen minutes, which resulted in huge charges on the order of $99.99 to $388.72 for particularly aggressive young gamers.

Trying to assure worried parents, Apple now announced users can submit their request for a refund along with the purchase history and the note “refund for in-app purchases made by a minor” included.

In-app purchases accounted for 92 percent of Apple App Store’s revenue in 2013, according to a report by the app data analysis company Distimo. While games generated the most revenue among all categories, as much as 92 percent is offered at a freemium model — that is, free apps with in-app purchases.


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