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Apple lays out iOS in-app purchase settlement: full refunds and iTunes credits

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Apple appears to have finalized the details of its settlement agreement for a class action suit over in-app purchases on iPhones and iPads, with the Cupertino company offering millions of dollars in refunds and iTunes credits.

in-app


A home page for the settlement program went live recently, laying out the options available for claimants in the class action suit over Apple's in-app purchase policies. That suit, filed in 2011, alleged that Apple's structure for processing in-app purchases was insufficient to stop minors from charging tens, hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars to their parents' accounts without permission.

Under the settlement agreement, Apple will provide a single $5 iTunes Store credit to claimants in the suit or a credit "equal to the total amount of Game Currency that a minor charged to your iTunes account without your knowledge or permission within a single forty-five day period." For claimants that no longer have an active iTunes account, a cash refund is available, as is the case for those whose claims exceed $30 in total.

All United States residents are eligible for an award from the settlement, provided that, prior to May 2, 2013, they paid for an in-app purchase in a qualified app. The purchase must have been charged to their iTunes account by a minor without their knowledge or permission. The deadline to submit a claim is January 13, 2014, and the deadline to object to or opt out of the settlement is August 30, 2013.

In-app purchases stepped into the spotlight over the last few years as developers looked for a way to further monetize their apps. As the option became more popular, complaints arose that it was too easy for children to rack up sizable charges on their parents' accounts.

Apple already had some protections in place to stop minors from abusing in-app purchases, but the company was forced by the attention from several cases to modify its iTunes Store listings in order to warn users which apps featured additional paid content. The company has since stepped up its educational efforts in order to bring parents up to speed on what they can do to head off unwanted expenditures.
post #2 of 29

Idiot parents are idiots.  I honestly feel no sympathy for these people.

post #3 of 29
Fandroids are having a blast talking about this. Stupid parents make a mistake and Apple is responsible.

Meanwhile, when Android users get malware it's the users fault for being so stupid to get themselves infected. Oh the irony.
post #4 of 29
I agree...my kids use my phone all the time and have never charged anything because they'd need to know the password, which they don't. If parents don't protect their devices, that's their own fault. It's a shame companies have to pay people who don't deserve to be paid.
post #5 of 29
$1.99 to remove ads? I buy that.
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #6 of 29
There is no substitute for good parenting. I have 3 kids ages 10, 9 and 9. They have always had access to my account (we use 1 account as a family) and have always known the password. My wife and I taught them at an early age that they need to ask permission to download anything even if it is free. We turned off in app purchases on their devices just to be safe. We also educated them on in app purchases as they often use our devices which do not have the in app purchases turned off. It is not that difficult to be involved parents.
post #7 of 29

My 5 year old is trained to not buy anything on my iPad. He knows he will lose iPad privileges...

Are there some in app purchases that do not require a Apple ID password? I also feel that if he does buy something then I am responsible....

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post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

My 5 year old is trained to not buy anything on my iPad. He knows he will lose iPad privileges...

Are there some in app purchases that do not require a Apple ID password? I also feel that if he does buy something then I am responsible....

 

Before Apple changed things in response to complaints, yes it was possible to make in app purchases without a password. Your iDevice would remember the password after the first time you used it and would not ask for it again for future purchase, in app or otherwise.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

 

Before Apple changed things in response to complaints, yes it was possible to make in app purchases without a password. Your iDevice would remember the password after the first time you used it and would not ask for it again for future purchase, in app or otherwise.

This.

 

Some of you posters need to educate yourself on why this lawsuit happened- and why Apple subsequently settled.  My kid never bought anything, but let's not pretend that everyone hasn't let them play a game where you weren't watching every single second.

 

Every time along the journey this story has been posted, there are always a dozen or so people who hop on and blame the parents.  Then once the other posters get on and educate them on what happened and why- they always change their opinion.

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #10 of 29
You just have to accept stupid are rewarded to stay stupid.

Having said that, why wouldn't Apple figure out a way to make In-App Purchases as an option turned off as a default?
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholas_hagen View Post

I agree...my kids use my phone all the time and have never charged anything because they'd need to know the password, which they don't. If parents don't protect their devices, that's their own fault. It's a shame companies have to pay people who don't deserve to be paid.

 

I think the other extremely guilty party here that's getting off scott free are the game makers themselves.  

 

A great many of the apps in question, in fact most of them, are specifically designed to fool children into buying in-app purchases and have prices on those items in the "amazingly ridiculous" range.  These are to some degree purpose-built scams, and it's only Apple's parental controls that allows them to exist in the first place.  

 

If there were no parental controls, these would be basically illegal, scammy things that would be banned from any normal marketplace.  The fact that you *can* protect yourself by turning on parental controls is the only thing that makes them not criminal.  

 

Personally, I don't think any decent parent would have any problem with this sort of thing, but I also think that Apple should really disallow such apps in the first place.  They only don't because of the bad PR they would get for doing it ("arbitraryness" etc.).  "Freemium" is rapidly becoming the most popular model in the store, and the majority of "freemium" apps are scammy, disgusting things.  

 

If it was up to me I'd at least have a rule that the cost of in-game items cannot exceed some fraction of the cost of the game itself, or some arbitrary low number like $1.99 if the game is completely free.  Some of these folks got taken in by apps that are free (or $.99), but that have in-game purchases of $50.00, $100.00 or even a thousand.  

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

My 5 year old is trained to not buy anything on my iPad. He knows he will lose iPad privileges...
Are there some in app purchases that do not require a Apple ID password? I also feel that if he does buy something then I am responsible....

In earlier versions of iOS it was set up so that after you entered your password the account would remain unlocked for something like 5 to 15 minutes. It hasn't been like that for a while now, but still it did exist.

The argument goes that parents would enter the password to download a free game, hand the device back to their children, and the child would then have time to buy whatever he/she wanted before the account locked back up. To be honest, I have difficulty seeing a child reacking up hundreds (nevermind thousands) of dollers in purchases this way. I strongly suspect that the problem was primarily with parents being too lazy to type the password in for their children, so they ended up giving it to them.
post #13 of 29

We live in a world where their are people like you who don't want to take responsibility for your actions. Its simple turn off in app purchases. I have turned them off for me and good thing because I have accidentally hit a purchase many times. So take responsibility.

post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post

Idiot parents are idiots.  I honestly feel no sympathy for these people.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

Stupid parents make a mistake and Apple is responsible.
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholas_hagen View Post

I agree...my kids use my phone all the time and have never charged anything because they'd need to know the password, which they don't.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TechProd1gy View Post

There is no substitute for good parenting.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

My 5 year old is trained to not buy anything on my iPad. He knows he will lose iPad privileges...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by broadbean View Post

You just have to accept stupid are rewarded to stay stupid.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe43 View Post

So take responsibility.

 

 

Again- educate yourselves.  Please.  I, too, feel like I'm the father of the year- much like all of you.  My kid hasn't ever downloaded an in-game app ever.  But that doesn't mean I don't understand the situation.

 

 

Jrag said it best in the previous thread:


Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post



I really wish people would read the story before commenting. I know that's a lot to ask.

The affected parents did not give their password or PIN to their kids. Rather, the problem was due to the fact that the password remains active for 15 minutes after you enter it. So if you download an app for your kids and then hand them the phone, it allows purchases without the kid having to enter the password for 15 minutes.

There is a setting that allows you to eliminate that time delay and require the password to be re-entered immediately. That should have been set to 'immediate' by default. On a consumer device, it should almost always default to 'most secure' and allow the user to make it less secure if they wish.

In this case, I think the parents have a good point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Not everyone knows all the rules. Since a large fraction of users are inexperienced, it's incumbent on them to default to the safe setting.
 
 

Read that and educate yourself first before you just "give an opinion"

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by iaeen View Post


In earlier versions of iOS it was set up so that after you entered your password the account would remain unlocked for something like 5 to 15 minutes. It hasn't been like that for a while now, but still it did exist.

The argument goes that parents would enter the password to download a free game, hand the device back to their children, and the child would then have time to buy whatever he/she wanted before the account locked back up. To be honest, I have difficulty seeing a child reacking up hundreds (nevermind thousands) of dollers in purchases this way. I strongly suspect that the problem was primarily with parents being too lazy to type the password in for their children, so they ended up giving it to them.

I agree with you on the password problem. I could see it being so much easier to just give my son the password. But it is my account and I am responsible for it.

Tallest Skil:


"Eventually Google will have their Afghanistan with Oracle and collapse"

"The future is Apple, Google, and a third company that hasn't yet been created."


 


 

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Tallest Skil:


"Eventually Google will have their Afghanistan with Oracle and collapse"

"The future is Apple, Google, and a third company that hasn't yet been created."


 


 

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post #16 of 29
There used to be a 15 minute window after initial app purchase. There was the problem
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again- educate yourselves.  Please.  I, too, feel like I'm the father of the year- much like all of you.  My kid hasn't ever downloaded an in-game app ever.  But that doesn't mean I don't understand the situation.

 

 

Jrag said it best in the previous thread:


 

Read that and educate yourself first before you just "give an opinion"

Read my comments again..........I trained my 5 year old NOT to buy anything. So regardless of the password timeout issues...before you give your children access to something that has this capability ...training and parental oversight is still needed. We are all here to give our opinions......

Tallest Skil:


"Eventually Google will have their Afghanistan with Oracle and collapse"

"The future is Apple, Google, and a third company that hasn't yet been created."


 


 

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Tallest Skil:


"Eventually Google will have their Afghanistan with Oracle and collapse"

"The future is Apple, Google, and a third company that hasn't yet been created."


 


 

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post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by iaeen View Post


To be honest, I have difficulty seeing a child reacking up hundreds (nevermind thousands) of dollers in purchases this way. I strongly suspect that the problem was primarily with parents being too lazy to type the password in for their children, so they ended up giving it to them.

That post I linked earlier has my favorite exchange of all time on this forum between KDarling and hill60.  I've never seen an internet "drumming" like that before.  :)

 

(For the record- both KDarling and allenbf had $250+ charges).

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

Read my comments again..........I trained my 5 year old NOT to buy anything. So regardless of the password timeout issues...before you give your children access to something that has this capability ...training and parental oversight is still needed. We are all here to give our opinions......

geek- I like you- you're my AI buddy.  Opinions are fine, but they should also be dismissed completely if they don't have facts to back them up.  Yes- you train your kid not to buy anything.  5 years old is a good age to understand that concept.  But how many 3-4 year olds can read "Do you want to remove ads for $1.99"?  They just know they should hit the bright button to get that pop-up off.

 

More importantly- you're basing your opinion on the fact that you had the knowledge of a 15 minute password timeout the day you bought your iPad.  Let's say that's true- you knew that day one.  How many people are like you with that knowledge?  1%?  Maybe?  Some responsibility should be passed onto the device maker who made lax rules instead of making the more secure option the default.


Edited by Andysol - 6/24/13 at 8:10am

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #20 of 29
Wow, this is an extremely generous settlement.
post #21 of 29
Once again society/parents not taking the blame for their own kids actions, or "lack of parenting". It' all that simple folks.....kids know right from wrong if taught from the beginning....this is why our society is deteriorating, it's all about blaming someone else for our actions. Step up to the plate parents and be an actual parent for goodness sakes.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenapple3317 View Post

Once again society/parents not taking the blame for their own kids actions, or "lack of parenting". It' all that simple folks.....kids know right from wrong if taught from the beginning....this is why our society is deteriorating, it's all about blaming someone else for our actions. Step up to the plate parents and be an actual parent for goodness sakes.

Seriously- step back and try to be objective here.

 

OK- let's play a game.  Who gets the blame here:

 

-A $99 In-App purchase in a child's game geared for 3-5 year olds.

Does the developer get the blame?  Does Apple get a portion of the blame for allowing such a ludicrous amount?

 

-A 15 minute "free pass" by default after you have entered your password once.  Translation- you buy a game, or download a free app- password is inactive for 15 minutes... again- by default.

Does Apple get the blame for not putting a safe lock in place?

 

Developers put these purchases in place to make money- of course- and I would too.  Apple wants their 30% cut- and as a shareholder- I'm glad they get them.  But if we're talking about blame and responsibility- it absolutely falls on Apple and the Developers.  There is absolutely no reason a $99 IAP should be in a children's game, and there is absolutely no reason why there should be a deactivated password for 15 minutes.  Apple now has made it where you are required to enter a password with every purchase by default.  But that wasn't the case prior to this lawsuit.

 

Apple needs to shoulder some responsibility here.  The bottom line is everyone isn't as smart as you and I when it comes to knowing every in and out of the settings of an iOS device.  That's why the safest default option should have been utilized.  The only reason they had 15 minutes for the password to be deactivated was to make it easier for you to buy more and buy faster.  If you buy that much, that fast- then you should go turn the 15 minute option "off".  Unfortunately, this wasn't the case.

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Before Apple changed things in response to complaints, yes it was possible to make in app purchases without a password. Your iDevice would remember the password after the first time you used it and would not ask for it again for future purchase, in app or otherwise.

But they did have restrictions for in app since the iPad came out. Plus there was a timer. After something like ten minutes you had to out in your password again. It didn't remember it for all time

And this funny thing called not using your iDevices as babysitters.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Every time along the journey this story has been posted, there are always a dozen or so people who hop on and blame the parents.  Then once the other posters get on and educate them on what happened and why- they always change their opinion.

It some cases it was the parents fault. Like the woman that told her kids the account password. Or the guy that did the same and then didn't pay attention to card statements for three months.

And given the amount of press that this issue has had, including the presence of restrictions at this point it is the parents fault for not educating themselves before handing tech to a kid and turning their backs. Plus just reading the information about what their kids want to download before putting in the password because its free. In a few cases you had five year olds getting games rated for adults.

And make no mistake, Apple has not declared guilt. They just don't want to bother with the whole thing and its cheaper to settle than deal with the court costs. But you can bet they will have all kinds of restrictions to avoid scams etc. And don't be shocked if new info comes up when you log into an apple id reminding folks of those restrictions and that there are no refunds.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

$1.99 to remove ads? I buy that.

What's interesting is that that may not qualify as 'consumable game currency' for the settlement. It would seem that they are only counting buys that relate to adding turns, one time use power ups, speeding up repairs etc. not turning off ads for life, additional game levels and similar.

Also you only get to claim charges for the first 45 days. After that, forget it. So the jerk dad in England that had his son charged with credit card fraud for charges over 90 days is out a full refund. Then again it might be hard for him to prove that he didn't give his son the password which is also a condition of the settlement.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

But they did have restrictions for in app since the iPad came out. Plus there was a timer. After something like ten minutes you had to out in your password again. It didn't remember it for all time

And this funny thing called not using your iDevices as babysitters.

It's already widely known what your opinion is on the matter. It's also well known that you don't have kids. How about you just sit this one out and leave it up to those who actually have experience raising kids talk, because you really don't know what you're talking about.

Edited to add:

The constant call of non-parents is "using your iDevices as babysitters". I just feel like we should deconstruct that. Someone who doesn't have kids thinks "I'll never use a device to babysit my kid". That's noble.
But in reality- you have to cook dinner. And you're going to have your kid watch 20 minutes of TV. You're going to get your hair cut, and you're going to have your kid play a game or read a book on the iPad. Now what if they just color on paper instead of the iPad- does that really matter in terms of them learning creativity? So "babysitting" has always occurred. Whereas it used to be coloring or reading, it is now Angry Birds. Now I choose to not have my child play any "games" like Angry birds or things that build zero skills. But coloring, storytelling, ABC Videos, etc I absolutely use. So ya... my kid gets "baby sat" using an iPad on occasion.

So while your future 4 year old is going to twiddle its thumbs while you get your haircut and sit at the dinner table patiently while you're cooking dinner, the rest of us will live in reality.
Edited by Andysol - 6/24/13 at 11:44am

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


But they did have restrictions for in app since the iPad came out. Plus there was a timer. After something like ten minutes you had to out in your password again. It didn't remember it for all time

And this funny thing called not using your iDevices as babysitters.

 

I don't think anyone here is arguing that the parents are completely absolved of at least some responsibility, but a manufacturer also has a responsibiltiy to make a safe products, whether that's safety from physical or financial harm. It actually goes to one of my big pet peeves. That is of the trend to make figuring out how to use these devices a big cat-and-mouse search for hidden buttons and features.

If my devices says "enter your password to make this purchase", would it be reasonable to assume that a good number of people think that the password is only for THAT particular purchase and that you'd be asked again for the next purchase? Or even worse, how many people do think even know how to log out of their iTunes account after making a purchase? Nearly all websites that you have to log into have a big and obvious "log out" link at the top of their pages. So assuming I know that I'll stay logged in, where do I go to log out before I hand it to my kid to play a game? I'm not saying they did it with malicious intent, but Apple didn't make it easy for people to be: a) aware of what was going on, and b) able to figure out how to manage it.

And this is also one of the dangers of Apple insisting on curating the App Store. They risk taking on some of the responsibility for the ethical behavior of the developers of the apps they sell.
Edited by Wiggin - 6/24/13 at 11:59am
post #28 of 29
You know I was one of those parents way back in the summer 2012 that had this happen. I honestly had no idea you could block in app purchases because I barely used my phone. So when my child asked for a game I put my password in & download it. Hours later ( at that time apple sent you an itemized receipt almost as soon as a purchase was made ) I saw what she was doing. I contacted apple immediately and not only did they walk me through placing a pin (which at the time was a generic 1111 or 0000) but they refunded the money and said that if it happens again I would be liable for the charges. Note taken and it has not happened since.
Why do we in America feel the need to always sue?
post #29 of 29
Originally Posted by lizard923 View Post
Why do we in America feel the need to always sue?

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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