An iPhone-owner whose daughter downloaded $200 worth of “Zombie Toxin” and “Gems” through in-app purchases on his iPhone has been allowed to pursue a class action suit against Apple for compensation of up to $5m.
Garen Meguerian of Pennsylvania launched the class-action case against Apple in October 2011 after he discovered that his nine-year-old daughter had been draining his credit card account through in-app purchases on “free” games incluing Zombie Cafe and Treasure Story. This month, Judge Edward J Davila in San Jose District Federal Court has allowed the case to go to trial, rejecting Apple’s claim that the case should be dismissed.
Meguerian claimed that Apple was unfairly targeting children by allowing games geared at kids to push them to make purchases. He describes games that are free to play but require purchases of virtual goods to progress as “bait apps” and says they should not be aimed at children:
Numerous gaming apps are offered for free, although many such games are designed to induce purchases of what Apple refers to as “In-App Purchases” or “In-App Content” i.e. virtual supplies, ammunition, fruits and vegetables, cash and other fake “currency”, etc within the game in order to play the game with any success.
These games are highly addictive, designed deliberately so, and tend to compel children playing them to purchase large quantities of Game Currency, amounting to as much as $100 per purchase or more.