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Apple settles 'bait apps' class action suit with iTunes credit, cash refunds

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Apple to settle in lawsuit over bait apps

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Apple proposed a settlement to a class action lawsuit that would see it offering $5 in iTunes credit to those who claim that a minor bought in-game items without their knowledge or permission.

The settlement, which comes in response to a lawsuit over "bait-apps" — apps and games that can be downloaded for free but then charge real-world money for in-game currency and items — offers all Settlement Class Members $5 in iTunes store credit as relief. In the case where minors have spent more than $5 through "bait apps", Apple proposes to offer credit for that amount. If more than $30 was spent, Apple will offer a cash refund.

Those seeking relief must file a valid electronic claim form and provide their name, address and Apple ID. The claimant must also attest that a minor made game currency charges to their iTunes account without their knowledge or permission, but "did not give their password to the minor to make a purchase" and did not previously receive a refund from Apple over the same charge.

The proposed settlement awaits preliminary approval from a federal judge. Once approved, Apple will begin accepting claims and payments could potentially made by the end of this year or early 2014.

The settlement does not stipulate whether Apple will limit how much individuals can claim, stating: "The precise size of the proposed Settlement Class is currently unknown, although the Notice will be distributed to over 23 million iTunes account holders who made a Game Currency purchase in one or more Qualified Apps."

The class action lawsuit against Apple was first launched in April 2011 when a California man discovered a series of in-app purchases charged by his then eight-year old daughter in third party apps without his knowledge or permission between January and March 2011. Similar allegations were lodged by others around the same time and a class action lawsuit was filed shortly after.

The proposed settlement can be read here.