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Apple to pay out $32.5M over in-app purchases

Apple is set to pay out a minimum of $32.5 million, to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint that the company billed consumers for millions of dollars through in-game app charges.

The App Store includes many games that allow users buy virtual items or currency. The FTC's complaint alleged that Apple failed to inform parents that by entering a password they were approving a single in-app purchase as well as additional purchases their children could make without further action by the parent.

"This settlement is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple's unfair billing, and a signal to the business community: whether you're doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply," said FTC chair Edith Ramirez. "You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize."

The FTC said that Apple received tens of thousands of complaints about unauthorized in-app purchases by children. One consumer reported that her daughter had spent $2,600 in a game called Tap Pet Hotel. According to the complaint, consumers have reported millions of dollars in unauthorized charges to Apple.

In an email to Apple staff, reported by The New York Times, chief executive Timothy Cook said that "protecting children has been a top priority for the App Store team and everyone at Apple." Polygon has contacted Apple for comment.

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