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Google To Refund $19M In In-App Purchases Made By Kids

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the here's-your-money-kid dept.

Google 88

An anonymous reader writes "Google has agreed pay $19 million to refund customers unfairly charged for in-app purchases made by children without authorization from their parents. The company has agreed to change its billing practices to ensure that it obtains informed consent from customers before charging them for items sold within mobile apps, according to the FTC. "For millions of American families, smartphones and tablets have become a part of their daily lives," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "As more Americans embrace mobile technology, it's vital to remind companies that time-tested consumer protections still apply, including that consumers should not be charged for purchases they did not authorize.""

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Insane (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831101)

I have kids...I'm not a moron...I didn't save my password. It prompts me for each purchase.

I have no idea how they lost this.

Re:Insane (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831155)

I have no idea how they lost this.

"For millions of American families"
"As more Americans embrace mobile technology"

That's how, they need the stupidity police.

Re:Insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831711)

I have no idea how they lost this.

"For millions of American families"

"As more Americans embrace mobile technology"

That's how, they need the stupidity police.

As soon as you make something idiot proof, along comes another idiot. If you want your country's name listed in the summary, you to can by suing for the same purpose. I'm happy it is a refund and not a fine. At least some one has their head screwed on correctly.

Caveat Emptor (3, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831187)

I am inclined to agree with your general sentiment, but it's accurate to say some of the apps are predatory and targeted at those too young to make informed decisions.

$19 million to Google.... simply good PR at a bargain.

Re:Caveat Emptor (1)

Serenissima (1210562) | about a month and a half ago | (#47837645)

I used to work at the Apple Store and before they released the changes to the in-app purchasing. One day, a customer cam in and was pissed off that his kid had racked up $200 in some scammy game app. I'll never forget this, but one of his main counterpoints was him incredulously saying, "What am I supposed to do? Review every app my kid wants to play??"
I nodded and smiled in commiseration, but inside my head I said, "Yes. Yes you are. You're the adult, that's what you do."
So, yeah, there are definitely predatory apps out there, but there are also a lot of dumb parents.

Re:Caveat Emptor (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47838383)

Sigh. Yes. This parenting thing is rife with sacrifice. If you do it properly.

Re:Insane (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831191)

Joan Rivers died and all you can think about is your precious little apps? A pox on you sir!

Re:Insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831349)

Save your "get some priorities" for the "Joan Rivers died" article. This article is about in-app purchases.

Re:Insane (1)

hermitdev (2792385) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831695)

Yeah, and she's not biodegradable...

Re:Insane (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47832131)

Hmmm, has anyone approached Fleshlight with a recycling opportunity yet?

Re: Insane (1)

John Madsen (3809907) | about a month and a half ago | (#47836835)

I thought she was a 135 year old cyborg.

Re:Insane (5, Informative)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831289)

I have kids...I'm not a moron...I didn't save my password. It prompts me for each purchase.

I have no idea how they lost this.

Well, let's see, could it be because they didn't always offer the options that you think are so great now??

From TFA:

The FTC's complaint against Google says that when the company initially introduced in-app purchases in 2011, buyers did not have to input their passwords. When the company implemented the requirement the following year, Google did not tell users that entering a password triggered the opening of a 30-minute window where the password would not need to be entered again when making a purchase.

Since then, Google has added more password protection options, letting users control how often they need to input a password: every time they make a purchase, every 30 minutes, or never.

It doesn't take a moron to get caught in a situation where they don't offer the reasonable options you mention, or don't clearly warn you that it's a "free-for-all" for purchases for 30 minutes.

Frankly -- everytime Slashdot runs an article like this, a bunch of ACs (mostly) come out of the woodwork who want to "blame the victim." And yes -- that is precisely what you are doing. Taking money from someone without their express authorization is THEFT. I don't care if you are some app programmer who makes 90% of your profits off of ill-advised in-app purchases. It's wrong, unless you are damn sure that the purchase is authorized..

I don't care about the kids argument. As an ADULT, I don't want purchases without confirmation to be a default unless I expressly authorize it. For developers out there -- the moral thing to do in any system where you are going to take money from someone is to at least allow them to confirm that they want you to take it... at least once (probably twice). There's nothing wrong with offering an option, a la Amazon's "one-click" check-out, for people who OPT IN, but that is precisely what it should: a screen popping up and saying explicitly, "You are about to authorize password-less purchases for forever/next 30 minutes/whatever!! Please type in your password again and check this box if you agree you REALLY want this!"

Everyone around here seems to get offended in other situations where people "blame the victim" or where technology doesn't offer "opt-in." When someone's gonna take your money, you damn well should have a system that is opt-out by default.

Google didn't clearly have all of this a few years ago. Hence, they were taking money from people without permission. Hence, they should definitely give it back if people request it. This has nothing to do with kids or bad parents or morons or whatever -- it's basic ethics that you don't get to take people's money if they didn't say you could.

Re:Insane (2)

Pieroxy (222434) | about a month and a half ago | (#47832393)

There's also something called trust. Children are not idiots (at least most of them.) Instead of giving the phone to your kids hoping they won't find the purchase button, tell them exactly where it is, what it does and that they are very specifically NOT allowed to tap on it. And that you'll receive an automatic email if they do (which is true at least for Apple) so that they can't hide it.

Worked for me - early versions of iOS had the same issue. Never had to complain. Additionnally, I respect my kids a little more now that I know I can trust them for this as well. And respect goes both ways.

Re:Insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47832771)

And do you tell them where the purchase button is in every game they might want to play? Even those you've never seen?

Re:Insane (1)

gsslay (807818) | about a month and a half ago | (#47833387)

No, children are not idiots. They are children. That means they lack experience in all things in life. They can be easily mislead (either by design or accident) to do things that an adult wouldn't without appreciating the consequences. Because they know no better.

Unless you want to spend your time familiarising yourself with every app your children use, down to the detail, then you need to trust (your word) the app to play fair and not exploit (either by design or accident) your children's naivety.

That is what this about. Trust in Google and the app makers to get this right was misplaced, it turns out.

Re:Insane (1)

smkndrkn (3654) | about a month and a half ago | (#47833569)

I was getting banged for $9.99/mo until I tracked down my son had opted-in to the free music trial and never canceled. Google cleared it up for me in a few minutes and refunded the last bunch of charges. No biggie in the long run and my kids got a fresh talk about app downloads.

Re:Insane (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about a month and a half ago | (#47855743)

I don't know about Android, but on iOS, you can be mislead to click on an in-app purchase, but then the very familiar dialog pops out and you KNOW you're about to spend money. No, my kids at least cannot be fooled by that. I've seen them ask me if they could do it, so no, they are not that easily fooled.

Re:Insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47833655)

What? How many children do you actually have? I assure you, children are in fact idiots (at least most of them). Otherwise there would be no need for parental guidance.

Re:Insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47842633)

Only problem with adding more checks and balances to in-app purchases is that the interface is already a little flakey. I've lost $5-10 over 3 years or so when the play store drops the ball, or the app crashes going back to the foreground (make an OS that only allows one app active and you increase this risk). Certainly not a big show stopper, but there is a sweet spot between protecting unauthorized purchaces and blowing authorized ones.

Re:Insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47843139)

Purchases without confirmation as a default should not be an option at all. The obvious chances of it being abused are so great that there can't be any compensating benefits making it a good idea.

Imagine using your credit card at a store and then having it be available for use by anybody who comes along and uses tha same terminal in the next 30 minutes. Sound like a good idea?

Re:Insane (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47832351)

You are an American with kids. So I assume you are a cock sucking welfare queen and therefore a fucking moron.

Re:Insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47833201)

You are an American with kids. So I assume you are a cock sucking welfare queen and therefore a fucking moron.

You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding as to how babies are made [wikipedia.org] .

Sounds good, right? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831131)

Mom downloads a "free" game for their kid. Mom hands phone to kid to play "free" game. The mom shouldn't wind up with thousands of dollars in a bill.

Re:Sounds good, right? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831193)

No reason they couldn't jump into the app store and purchase whatever they want. Simple answer is be a responsible person and don't have it save your password, how fucking difficult is that? I know it's slightly more difficult than just blaming somebody else but not by much.

Re:Sounds good, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47836449)

And, like in many situations where someone offers up the 'simple answer.' it wouldn't have worked.

Re: Sounds good, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47836851)

But then you have to enter your password. What a hassle. One minute of you life gone.

Re:Sounds good, right? (1, Flamebait)

cheater512 (783349) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831201)

Mom shouldn't save credit card details on devices she gives to her kids.

Might as well give them the wallet to play with as well.

Re:Sounds good, right? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47832109)

But that's the problem. Before you had no choice. You want to purchase something, ok... buy it. Ten minutes later while your on the toilet your kids picks up your phone, and can purchase whatever they want.

Imagine if you bought something on Amazon, and then you had no choice to logout. That way anyone else who used the computer could buy stuff on Amazon.

Re:Sounds good, right? (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month and a half ago | (#47835509)

Not sure why it's modded flamebait.

It is the very description of the problem. Stop using a credit card attached to an iPad to babysit your kids.

Re:Sounds good, right? (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about a month and a half ago | (#47835541)

On the theory that a parent can always give the kids attention? Doesn't work that way. There's times when you really want to have a toy you can have the kid play with for a short while.

So, what do you have against toys? Is a toy truck necessarily a babysitter?

Re:Sounds good, right? (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month and a half ago | (#47836199)

I have no problem giving children toys.

I have a problem with giving a child a toy that has the ability to cause me to miss my mortgage payment if they press a flashing button too many times.

Any kid can burn the house down if he's determined, but there's no reason to hand them matches and take a nap.

Re:Sounds good, right? (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about a month and a half ago | (#47839479)

However, if the ability to "press button to miss mortgage payment" is hidden (such as when you think you need to enter the password for all spending, you haven't been told otherwise, and there's a window), it becomes a lot more reasonable to do it.

Re:Sounds good, right? (2)

Seumas (6865) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831847)

Maybe don't give your toddler your $800 cell phone?

Re:Sounds good, right? (1)

Known Nutter (988758) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831987)

Maybe don't give your toddler your $800 cell phone?

How else are the little snowflakes supposed to stare mindlessly into the device in a zombie-like state? Interaction with the world around them? Please.

Re:Sounds good, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47832219)

Did you guys not play video games as kids or something?

Re: Sounds good, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47833197)

Ummm. No. Video games showed after I was a kid.

Re:Sounds good, right? (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about a month and a half ago | (#47834661)

Some of us played outside as kids. The good side is we're not always sick.

Re:Sounds good, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47841485)

Maybe don't give your toddler your $800 cell phone?

That excuse didn't work for iPhones, why the fuck should it work for Androids that are supposedly cheaper even for the top-of-the-line-phones, let alone for the $20 cheered for here.

Re:Sounds good, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47832785)

Would "Mom" give the same child her purse with a large amount of money in it and send said child into a sweet shop without telling them how much they were allowed to spend then try and claim the money back from the shop?

Re:Sounds good, right? (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about a month and a half ago | (#47833179)

Mom downloads a "free" game for their kid. Mom hands phone to kid to play "free" game. The mom shouldn't wind up with thousands of dollars in a bill.

What Mom should be doing:
- Mom (or mum) teaches child about the basic concept of money.
- Mom shows the child the screen that says "buy" and explains that you need to ask mommy 1st.
- Mom disables all Google Play purchases without a password prompt. Doing their bit to ensure their child cant rack up $$$ of purchases.

The Result:
- Child learns some discipline and basic understand of money.
- Mom takes some responsibility for her child and their actions.

What We actually do
"blame everyone else" for their child's actions using every excuse in the book.

Re:Sounds good, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47834295)

- Mom shows the child the screen that says "buy" and explains that you need to ask mommy 1st.

...a screen she's unaware exists, after all, the game was free.

- Mom disables all Google Play purchases without a password prompt. Doing their bit to ensure their child cant rack up $$$ of purchases.

This option was not available for the period in question. Hence the compensation.

Re:Sounds good, right? (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about a month and a half ago | (#47835117)

.a screen she's unaware exists, after all, the game was free.

What ever happened to parents checking stuff before giving it to their children?
"Here son, heres a box that Joe Bloggs made from the red light district. I havnt checked whats inside it, but it has good reviews"

This option was not available for the period in question. Hence the compensation.

And by doing so, Google promotes bad parenting.

Re:Sounds good, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47834779)

Bringing herself to uncontrollable ecstasy ... ah sorry, wrong website

Re:Sounds good, right? (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about a month and a half ago | (#47835699)

Look, I was eight or so before I really realized that checks were money. It's an abstract concept, and kids have problems with those. It's not a matter of stupidity or bad education or bad parenting, it's just that the brain doesn't get wired up to deal with all of this for quite a few years. Sometimes you can see things click in a child's mind, and that's fun.

And, of course, Google Play purchases need a password, which the responsible parent keeps from the child (heck, I never even tried to figure out what my son's passwords were). The issue was that Google Play and in-app purchases in a certain time window didn't need the repeated passwords, and Google didn't make this clear. This wasn't necessarily a serious problem, but it was a security issue.

Therefore, companies started putting out games for younger children (who, I remind you, don't understand the basic concept of money) that would ask the children to do things that cost money, in the full knowledge that this had not been intentionally allowed by the person with authorization, and that it was likely not understood by the child. If that's not fraud, it skates awfully close. It takes advantage of a reasonable but false assumption on the parents' part.

Assuming that Google makes money on at least some in-app purchases (since it's going through Google Play, because that's where the authorization is cached), Google is financially benefiting from this. This means that Google was misinforming people and profiting from it, which I believe is fraud.

So, I have a lot of sympathy for people who act reasonably based on what they know, and get into trouble. I have none at all for people who deliberately profit off misconceptions.

Re:Sounds good, right? (1)

Lord Lemur (993283) | about a month and a half ago | (#47837145)

What Mom should be doing:
- Mom disables all Google Play purchases without a password prompt. Doing their bit to ensure their child cant rack up $$$ of purchases.

The Result:

And Goggle wasn't allowing that as an option, hense the lawsuit. Glad to see you agree with the decision.

Neat! (3, Funny)

penguinoid (724646) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831145)

I guess I'm going to have my kids buy all the in-app purchases from now on.

Nanny State Morons... (0)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831159)

Oh, big brother, please protect me from myself.

I handed my child a $700 computer that I had already entered my credit card information into, and somehow they went shopping for golden cookies.

PROTECT ME!

Re:Nanny State Morons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831259)

If Google wants my dollars, they'll offer me a way to prevent my kids from buying golden cookies.

Oh foo, they don't want to do that?

Well, I guess it's a good thing my abilities don't stop at Google.

Re:Nanny State Morons... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831269)

Watch as you get modded into oblivion for even suggesting that stupidity should have consequences. I'm going AC on this one for the same reason!

Re:Nanny State Morons... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month and a half ago | (#47835627)

I've got Karma to burn. Fuck 'em.

I've learned my share of expensive lessons with kids and mobile electronics, but it doesn't change the fact that the best prevention against this sort of problem was simply to not hand your child a device on which they could make purchases and then let that child use the device without sufficient oversight.

Blaming Google or Apple for "allowing" in-app purchases is like blaming General Electric for your kids burning themselves on the stove after you bought your kids groceries and then told them to cook while you took a nap.

Kids could always do things that cost you money. I've crashed plenty of bikes, broken plenty of windows, and some of those happened under good responsible parenting. That's the cost of HAVING kids. Kids are, at best, ignorant, and they'll make mistakes. ...but parents should use those mistakes as chances for them to learn too.

Re:Nanny State Morons... (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about a month and a half ago | (#47835713)

Actually, modding him into oblivion would show that stupidity has consequences.

Re: Nanny State Morons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831317)

The problem is that you don't need to have cc info entered. Some mobile carriers will link your play store to your phone bill and carriers will let charges, as well as long distance calls, (happened to me on tmobile due to phone theft) add up infinitely (depending on state laws) without notifying the account holder.

I'm still fighting a 2000 dollars in fees to calls made to Mexico because it was a spare phone I kept in my suit case and I didn't notice it was missing immediately.. And when I tried to dispute I was told I needed a police report from the city where the phone theft occured, a city that was a thousand miles away as I was traveling for work....

Re: Nanny State Morons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47832215)

This was in part your own undoing. You authorized these automated charges when you signed up for a contract-based phone service. I have t-mobile as well and I certainly wouldn't have signed up for such a plan for this exact reason. I don't trust the phone company. All of these types of companies have shown they can't be trusted. So why trust them? I've never signed up for a phone plan that worked on credit. I do have a credit card, mortgage, etc. I'm not 'credit-less', but I don't let people take advantage of me either. The law is very carefully worded such that with a major credit card your never liable (beyond $50). It's the same stupid people who get a 'dell' credit card and then when its stolen or they object to a charge can't (ie support had you wipe out your computer because of an incompetent tech, didn't fix your problem, and refused not to charge you, and then you couldn't even do a charge back because it's a store card). You've done this to yourself is what these types of things amount to.

I'd never go with an Apple product, a Microsoft product, or even subscribe to a service that demanded I get credit through them unless there were clear legal protections in place and procedures to fix this type of thing.

Re: Nanny State Morons... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about a month and a half ago | (#47836171)

T-mobile won't reverse the charges. In many cases, the bulk of international charges was paid to a 3rd party telco -- often the corrupt state telco in some bananna republic.

They will, however, retroactively put you on their best international long distance plan and adjust your bill according to that.

The lesson to learn here is that you probably shouldn't have international calling turned on by default on spare phones.

Re:Nanny State Morons... (2)

dk20 (914954) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831367)

Bet you if you had this happen to you, your song would change.

Please explain how "free" games need CC details and have billable items.

The Dictionary in front of me defines "free" as:
adverb
1.
without cost or payment.
"ladies were admitted free"
synonyms: without charge, free of charge, for nothing;

So how does a "free" game with a rating suitable for kids charge money?

If the app can bill, why does it have an age rating so low that person can not get a credit card?

Re:Nanny State Morons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47832227)

Free has other meaning (gratis vs libre), but its beside the point. If you had half a brain you wouldn't have purchased or gone with such a device or service. You people literally deserve what you got.

Re:Nanny State Morons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47834795)

First, my kids have their own devices with their own accounts and those accounts have no CC details so explain how i deserve what i got?

Next, You seem to take the "blame the parents" angle (oh, that is unique on this thread) yet dont seem to reconcile how "free" games targeted to kids have in-app purchases.

Explain how "free" is besides the point?

You seem to gloss over a lot of details to hit your point that if i had "half a brain" (wonder how you even came to that conclusion, do you know me, met me before).

People such as yourself are the reason slashdot is going downhill.

You throw out insults and arguments with no substance.

Re:Nanny State Morons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47834809)

Opps... missed one point.

Can i assume you have NEVER returned a product in your life? I mean just because you went to the store and bought a defective product doesn't mean you should return it right? If you had "half a brain" you wouldnt have purchased it.

This is different because?

Fortunately the courts have ruled and they have greater wisdom then you. ;)

Pay for golden cookies? (2)

tepples (727027) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831387)

You don't need to buy anything to get golden cookies in Cookie Clicker. You get one for free every 6 to 10 minutes, which gets cut down to every 2 over the course of the game (Lucky day + Serendipity upgrades).

Or maybe I'm missing the point [orain.org] ...

Re: Nanny State Morons... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831401)

When Google did this, it was before they required a PIN to make purchases. Then they required a PIN but failed to mention it unlocked purchases for 30 mins. It wasn't stupid users that caused the problems.

But if any company wants to collect $$$ from my kids they can try to enforce any contract/collections with them. Good luck with that.

Re:Nanny State Morons... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831477)

I'm with you. Google should actually not even have to follow ANY laws. They don't do evil things after all! More power to the people with the most money!

Re:Nanny State Morons... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831793)

I agree, it's insane.

Google executives should be able to ride through cities on their pet tigers, sipping hundred year-old wine from their golden jewel-encrusted goblets, while shooting commoners in the head for sport. If an police officer approaches, they have the right to declare - "I am a Corporation - see my power, ye serfs, and prostrate thy selves, since I am immune to all laws!"

Re:Nanny State Morons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47833987)

I agree, it's insane.

Google executives should be able to ride through cities on their pet tigers, sipping hundred year-old wine from their golden jewel-encrusted goblets, while shooting commoners in the head for sport. If an police officer approaches, they have the right to declare - "I am a Corporation - see my power, ye serfs, and prostrate thy selves, since I am immune to all laws!"

As I read your descriptive prose my mind could not help but conjure accompanying imagery of the scene.

Re:Nanny State Morons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47834419)

Thank you, I too enjoyed the imaginary spectacle. I was going to add top hats and monocles, but I feared it might be a step too far.

Re:Nanny State Morons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831945)

I'm sure plenty of people would be happy to snag your wallet outta your back pocket because you were stupid enough to put it there where just any pickpocket can take it... but you'd probably want to call the cops to PROTECT YOU or something.

Or would you like to return to a time where YOU have to defend yourself against unwanted in-pocket purchases? Because you absolutely can't fight off an ambusher when you've already been shot dead.

Re:Nanny State Morons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47832043)

this is more like giving someone your wallet and being surprised when they hand it back to you empty. go ahead and tell the cops, they'll inform you how stupid a mistake that was.

Nanny State Morons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47832237)

I don't get it.. if I accidentally buy the wrong thing at a store there's a good chance I can return it (sometimes even if they're not entirely obligated to) without all this stuff about how I'M A MORON AND SHOULD SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES FOR BEING SO PAINFULLY STUPID

But hell forbid I accidentally let my kid run up my phone bill a few bucks, then tell Google, "damn, I didn't mean to do that, can you undo it?"

NO LUSER YOU SHOULD PARENT BETTER

'Free' as in pay me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831195)

99% of 'Free' apps are paid for, either by eyeballs (advertising) or the hooker model (looking is free, the rest will cost you).

What actually needs to happen is the payment model needs to be explicitly stated. The app is either $9.99, paid for through advertising or paid for through in-app purchases, and "Free" should be reserved for just that - actually 'Free' apps

Shareware via IAP (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831465)

What actually needs to happen is the payment model needs to be explicitly stated. The app is either $9.99, paid for through advertising or paid for through in-app purchases, and "Free" should be reserved for just that - actually 'Free' apps

For example, the payment model called "shareware" might include a game whose first levels are without charge but which has a one-time charge for each expansion pack. A shareware first-person shooter might come with 8 levels, add 24 more levels if you buy "Ultimate" IAP, and add another set of 32 if you buy "Sequel" IAP. (This is how Doom was originally priced.) I'd define shareware as a free app with a small number of "entitlements", which refers to IAPs that stay with the user's app store account so long as the app remains on the store. Much of the ire directed at IAPs is for abuse of "consumables" which may be repeated and, in many games, have to be repeated in order to progress substantially without waiting weeks.

Re:Shareware via IAP (3, Informative)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831633)

The concept of shareware, as originally envisioned by Buttonware back when the term was first coined, is that the software is totally available, and people should donate money in an honor system, if they wanted to support the software. Partially functional software that has to be paid for to get the whole use is called crippleware.

Re:Shareware via IAP (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about a month and a half ago | (#47833151)

Partially functional software that has to be paid for to get the whole use is called crippleware.

Also known as "Free to Play" in todays world.

Re:Shareware via IAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47835303)

Not exactly: Shareware licenses typically allowed the no-cost use of the software for a trial period, such as 1 month, after which payment was obligated. It was on the honor system, but failing to pay was a copyright violation. "Donationware" is software for which the use has the option of paying if they want to support it.

Re:'Free' as in pay me (1)

Saint Gerbil (1155665) | about a month and a half ago | (#47833601)

As a phone developer myself I mostly develop Free games that is to say free with no barriers.
However I do put a "Buy me a coffee" or "Donate" button on the applications I write however that means that I get flagged as having "in-app purchases" putting me in the same category as Dungeon Keeper and Candy crush where its "Free to play until you hit a wall and have to buy your self out".

More transparency for the buyer as to what they are installing and whats in it labels like "Contains banner adverts", "Large In-App purchases" for your clash of clans type of game, "Small Inapp purchases" for games with buy and unlock types of sales and maybe drop the "In app purchases" in favour of "Developer Donations welcome" at the bottom end of the scale where people just want to show their appreciation.

iOS 8 feature coming to help fix this more........ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831199)

If iOS 8 feature works correctly this will be nice for parents! Sure Google and others will copy it soon enough so it will be an option there too at some point!

http://mashable.com/2014/06/02/ios-8-family-share/

Re:iOS 8 feature coming to help fix this more..... (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831347)

what took them so long??

also can you block buying stuff but still let you buy $0 / free apps

the big issue was needing the same password to install free apps as well as buying stuff. Free should not ask for a password / pin so you can't end running up the bill very easy and to make getting free stuff easy.

At least they turned off the old 15 min free for all that let you put in pin / password to get free stuff and then also let you buy stuff without asking for it.

and they made it so you can't need to link a CC to get free apps / updates.

There goes the profit model. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831215)

You mean Google will have behave like a company run like a business? Say it ain't so!!

it's the banks' fault (1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831299)

micropayments don't require normal credit/debit card safeties such as PIN NUMBERS, once a company has your details they can plank through micropayments at will. That shit adds up.

Simple solution: outlaw micropayments. The banks are there ostensibly to look after our financial interests, the tools are already there, let's get their use enforced under ALL payment circumstances.

Re:it's the banks' fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831547)

PINs aren't required for any Customer Not Present transactions. The amount is irrelevant.

I guess it was all a lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831333)

Ignorance does pay....

Its not okay for Google but its okay for carriers? (5, Insightful)

hilather (1079603) | about a month and a half ago | (#47831377)

Seriously, monthly hidden cell phone fees that "children" incur without permission probably vastly surpasses 19 million every month. Why hasn't the FTC done ANYTHING about that.

Re:Its not okay for Google but its okay for carrie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47832119)

This is a bit different. There you have signed a contract where the conditions were clear. Here is someone buying something, and given no options. They had no choice for 30 minutes. In fact, they weren't even told someone could buy whatever they wanted for 30 minutes after.

No password re-entry required... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831383)

In my experience about two years ago, with an android tablet and a 3-4 year old child: there was absolutely no setting I could activate to require password re-entry for purchases via Google Play (or Store).

I had a Google Checkout account (for my business) and I was required to have a credit card on file with Google. Purchases could be made with my card anytime I was logged into Google on my tablet, which was anytime I used it. I also had games for my kid to play, she was old enough to pick up the tablet on her own and play a puzzle, but not old enough to understand she should not make a purchase. I called Google and asked what I could do, and can they please require a password for any purchases. They told me too bad, so sad, STBY. I screamed at them at the time, but I'm smirking now. I tried to tell 'em.

Self Driving Cars and a Company that exploits Kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831419)

Somewhere there is a dude that will or will not issue the permit for Google's remotely piloted ground spying platform / slash / rolling privacy invasion tool.

Does this dude have children? Does he want to keep the world safe for his children? Will the google car run over his child?

Is google not the company that just scanned everyone's gmail and turned in 'pedofiles?' This is vigalantism. Does Eric Holder condone this?

Kidde porn is wrong, but exploiting kiddies with in-app purchases is OK on the google moral compass?

Damned hippie communists! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47831765)

Tricking the stupid and vulnerable out of their money is the American Way!

But they'll have to wait (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a month and a half ago | (#47832627)

Google further went on to say that they'd have to wait until it went to the bank on Monday, because "we don't carry small change."

Whatever happened to parenting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47833005)

I want to know what happened to parenting? Are these devices the new nanny? Do parents not know how to set boundaries and teach their kids. Obviously
any time you purchase something you get a confirmation email about the purchase. You would think a parent could lock down a device when they discover they cannot control their child. I guess its easier to blame the device or the devices store for their lax management of payment options. All these idiotic parents who give technology to kids who may not be able to handle it or know how not to misuse it? Did any of you parents ever think your child might not be ready for a smart phone, a tablet, or computer of heir own? You know what it is, other bad parents give their kids devices so you as a parent have no choice but to buy them for your kids. Kids don't inherent good common sense, its taught by parents and kids have to learn what to do and not do. Parents, also need to learn they need to be parents not friends to their kids.

Re:Whatever happened to parenting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47834869)

What ever happened to money-grubby companies abusing kids at levels unseen in some time?

Open a google account for a kid and see how many times google annoys you for a credit card.

As I posted above, my kids have tabs under their own names. Once in a while google "reminds" them they have no CC on file.

If the app is "free" why does it pester for a CC?

My kids PC's all run MINT or UBUNTU and they dont constantly annoy them for CC details.

How do you have apps rated for 6 year olds that have in-app purchases?

Re:Whatever happened to parenting? (1)

rfengr (910026) | about a month and a half ago | (#47835709)

Let the system fight itself. Better to just let your kid fill out one of those junk-mail credit card applications, then let them buy apps to their heart's content.
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