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FTC commissioner says in-app purchase punishment against Apple 'has no foundation'

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
One member of the Federal Trade Commission believes the regulatory body's decision to slap Apple with a $32.5 million consent decree over accidental in-app purchases was without merit, and stated his case in a public dissenting opinion.

FTC
Source: FTC


In the dissent, which was issued alongside the FTC's own decision, Commissioner Joshua D. Wright echoed Apple chief Tim Cook's own conclusion that the Cupertino, Calif. company had already taken sufficient action --?instituting refunds and altering the behavior of in-app purchase prompts?-- to remedy any hardships caused by children's accidental purchases. The opinion was first spotted by Fortune's Philip Elmer-Dewitt.

"When the problem arose in late 2010, press reports indicate that Apple developed a strategy for addressing the problem in a way that it believed made sense, and it also refunded customers that reported unintended purchases," Wright wrote.

Given Apple's actions, the "commission has no foundation upon which to base a reasonable belief that consumers would be made better off if Apple modified its disclosures to confirm to the parameters of the consent order," he continued, adding that in "the absence of such evidence, enforcement action here is neither warranted nor in consumers' best interest."

Some believe that the commission's order was a political ploy, designed to gain accolades from the electorate at the expense of one of America's most important corporate citizens.

In a company-wide email preempting the FTC's Wednesday announcement of the consent decree, Cook told Apple employees that the order "smacked of double jeopardy" --?the company had already settled a class-action lawsuit over the matter with terms that essentially mirrored those of the consent decree. Apple would agree to the FTC's demands, Cook continued, because the decree "does not require us to do anything we weren't already going to do" and it would allow the company to avoid "a long and distracting legal fight."

In both cases, Apple agreed to offer full refunds to any affected families. The FTC's order, however, imposed a minimum penalty of $32.5 million, directing any portion of that amount not used for refunds to be turned over to the commission "for informational remedies regarding In-App Charges by children or consumer redress and any attendant expenses for the administration of any redress fund."
post #2 of 52
DeWitt's article is worth a read--I had no idea how absurd this was.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2014/01/15/apple-ftc-kid-apps/

Note the last paragraph about law firm QE:

"Fun fact: Before she was appointed to the FTC, Chairwoman Ramirez was a partner in the Los Angeles office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan."

Rattyuk's post on the article explains that:

"Let's spell it out. QE are both Samsung and Google's lawyers used extensively against Apple."

So the FTC chairwoman formerly worked for Samsung and Google? It's no smoking gun, but it makes you wonder about a bias or backroom nudge.
post #3 of 52
"for informational remedies regarding In-App Charges by children or consumer redress and any attendant expenses for the administration of any redress fund."

Yeah, right! Wanna bet not a single consumer see's the 'extra funds'?! Such bull.. It was a money and political grab.. Pure and simple..
post #4 of 52

Welcome to legal extortion by the US Government.

 

Fun Fact #2: FTC Chairwoman Ramirez worked for the law firm that leaked information during the Samsung trial and spread confidential contract information between Nokia and Apple and others to Samsung's top brass so it could be used when negotiating when Samsung negotiated with Nokia.

post #5 of 52
Apple got sued for refusing to sell books at a loss like amazon... I hope one day someone slips up and gives up enough evidence on this anti-apple campaign to have apple take legal action on it
post #6 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The FTC's order, however, imposed a minimum penalty of $32.5 million, directing any portion of that amount not used for refunds to be turned over to the commission "for informational remedies regarding In-App Charges by children or consumer redress and any attendant expenses for the administration of any redress fund."

Ah, the beauty of the US Justice system.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

DeWitt's article is worth a read--I had no idea how absurd this was.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2014/01/15/apple-ftc-kid-apps/

Note the last paragraph about law firm QE:

"Fun fact: Before she was appointed to the FTC, Chairwoman Ramirez was a partner in the Los Angeles office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan."

Rattyuk's post on the article explains that:

"Let's spell it out. QE are both Samsung and Google's lawyers used extensively against Apple."

So the FTC chairwoman formerly worked for Samsung and Google? It's no smoking gun, but it makes you wonder about a bias or backroom nudge.

Again, more potential evidence that it is all a "Hey, Apple has deep pockets, how do I get my "fair share"?"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrayven View Post

"for informational remedies regarding In-App Charges by children or consumer redress and any attendant expenses for the administration of any redress fund."

Yeah, right! Wanna bet not a single consumer see's the 'extra funds'?! Such bull.. It was a money and political grab.. Pure and simple..

If I was Apple? I'd find customers who haven't complained and refund them some IAPs until they hit that amount. Avoid this fake "fund"
post #7 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

DeWitt's article is worth a read--I had no idea how absurd this was.

I agree. Also good info from the posters there, including DeWitt.
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post #8 of 52
My comment from yesterday's post:

Apple has always sent an email notification of purchases a day or two after. Why didn't the parents catch on? I think any parent who doesn't track their kid's activities should be liable because they're stupid "here you go son, here is my password, have fun duh." I get notified for each and every download even for free apps. If the email provided bounces, why is that the vendor's fault? Even after a post card was sent.

This administration and it's various arms is turning this country into a communist society. DOJ, FTC, activist jurists, FCC, etall.
post #9 of 52

That's an excellent point, these purchases could not have been done in secret, those notice emails would have been a warning within a day or two at most.

post #10 of 52
When I read Fortunes's article this morning and learned the FTC required Apple to provide it any remaining money from the unnecessary $32.5 million fine, I had a great cynacle laugh. Apple had already sent emails and postcards and was refunding money BEFORE the FTC decided upon finding a way to take Apple's money for itself. If the FTC does get Apple's money, I sincerely doubt the FTC will be accountable for what is done with the money. Not one record will be presented to the nation stating how the money was spent.
post #11 of 52
Damn thieves.
post #12 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMacMan View Post

This administration and it's various arms is turning this country into a communist society. DOJ, FTC, activist jurists, FCC, etall.

Clearly some of our country's regulatory mechanisms are broken and need to be fixed.  This is hardly just a problem of the present administration though -- things were far more screwed up and incompetent under Bush!  But complaining about regulation in general is like saying the cells in our body should be free to do whatever they want.  That's called cancer.  We can't get rid of government, we have to make it work.

post #13 of 52

It just another way for our greedy politicians to grab more money from hard working citizens and businesses. While they wine and dine on our blood, sweat and tears. Get used to it people. 

post #14 of 52
US Govt to Apple: we'll get your money one way (lobbying, contributions) or another (fees, fines, settlements, anti trust lawsuits without merit).
post #15 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by NormM View Post

Clearly some of our country's regulatory mechanisms are broken and need to be fixed.  This is hardly just a problem of the present administration though -- things were far more screwed up and incompetent under Bush!  But complaining about regulation in general is like saying the cells in our body should be free to do whatever they want.  That's called cancer.  We can't get rid of government, we have to make it work.

You're absolutely right lets start by removing the current administration
post #16 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfc1138 View Post

That's an excellent point, these purchases could not have been done in secret, those notice emails would have been a warning within a day or two at most.

Question is why can everyone else do instantaneous emails and Apple takes at least a day. My son has done IAPs from Google, Microsoft (Xbox 360), Sony (PS3), and Apple, and in every case except Apple I've gotten the emails right away. Faster email could have prevented continued IAPs.
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post #17 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post

It just another way for our greedy politicians to grab more money from hard working citizens and businesses. While they wine and dine on our blood, sweat and tears. Get used to it people. 

Why are you surprised that a money grab begat a money grab?
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post #18 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Question is why can everyone else do instantaneous emails and Apple takes at least a day. My son has done IAPs from Google, Microsoft (Xbox 360), Sony (PS3), and Apple, and in every case except Apple I've gotten the emails right away. Faster email could have prevented continued IAPs.

Good point. I've barely got the gas cap back on the car and AMEX has sent me a notice my card was just used, with the amount of the transaction and location etc. To APPLE Passbook.

post #19 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post

It just another way for our greedy politicians to grab more money from hard working citizens and businesses. While they wine and dine on our blood, sweat and tears. Get used to it people. 

Why are you surprised that a money grab begat a money grab?

Care to expand?
post #20 of 52

Because Apple handles purchases in batches. You wouldn't want a separate charge for each $0.99 track you purchase.

post #21 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Care to expand?

Many of IAPs are a pure money grab. Some games are so crippled that one cannot fully play the game without making some IAPs. How many here lauded how $. 99 games were trumping full price handheld console games but in reality those $. 99 games end up costing more than a full game on a handheld console. I personally got so tired of it that I took away my son's iPod Touch and got him a PS Vita. I'd much rather pay $15-20 once for a full game than much more over weeks and months in IAPs. Now I'm not blaming Apple, I'm blaming greedy devs, and unfortunately the job of reimbursing the users falls on Apple.
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post #22 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfc1138 View Post
 

Good point. I've barely got the gas cap back on the car and AMEX has sent me a notice my card was just used, with the amount of the transaction and location etc. To APPLE Passbook.

Because Apple lumps purchases into batches. This allows you to purchase random $0.99 tracks quickly and not have it show up as separate transactions on your credit card. It would also be pretty annoying if you got an email every time you downloaded a track.

post #23 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMacMan View Post

My comment from yesterday's post:

Apple has always sent an email notification of purchases a day or two after. Why didn't the parents catch on? I think any parent who doesn't track their kid's activities should be liable because they're stupid "here you go son, here is my password, have fun duh." I get notified for each and every download even for free apps. If the email provided bounces, why is that the vendor's fault? Even after a post card was sent.

This administration and it's various arms is turning this country into a communist society. DOJ, FTC, activist jurists, FCC, etall.

I have to agree with your general assessment of parents, however, to be accurate I believe those email notices from Itune start after this all blew up originally. But in typical government fashion they are rewarding the stupid and irresponsible. 

 

I personally think our government wants a dependent society, this way people think the government is actually looking out for them and they do not have to worry about taking care of themselves.

post #24 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
 

I have to agree with your general assessment of parents, however, to be accurate I believe those email notices from Itune start after this all blew up originally. But in typical government fashion they are rewarding the stupid and irresponsible. 

 

I personally think our government wants a dependent society, this way people think the government is actually looking out for them and they do not have to worry about taking care of themselves.

No, they've been sending emails like this as far back as I can remember. I just checked my email and found a receipt like this from 3/28/08. That's before the app store launched.

post #25 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
 

I have to agree with your general assessment of parents, however, to be accurate I believe those email notices from Itune start after this all blew up originally. But in typical government fashion they are rewarding the stupid and irresponsible. 

 

I personally think our government wants a dependent society, this way people think the government is actually looking out for them and they do not have to worry about taking care of themselves.

Thank you. I believe that as well. I can take care of my self. I don't need them to step into my personal life. How about if they worry about unemployment, rising criminal activity, and international relations and leave me the F#ck alone.

post #26 of 52

I like this statement by our government

 

Quote:
"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 Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize."

 

Does this mean I can go back and get all the money i put in to pinball and video arcade machines, I know my parents were very upset with me when they found out how much money I blew in the arcade. Fast forward today, what about my kids and all the money they blew at Dave and Busters playing games not realizing that every time they charged up those play card it was hit my credit card.

 

yeah right they really care about all the money I lost playing games

post #27 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

I have to agree with your general assessment of parents, however, to be accurate I believe those email notices from Itune start after this all blew up originally. But in typical government fashion they are rewarding the stupid and irresponsible. 

I personally think our government wants a dependent society, this way people think the government is actually looking out for them and they do not have to worry about taking care of themselves.

What I find most troubling is that there's no easy refund policy. People make mistakes and sometimes order the wrong thing or hit the wrong button. Last year I accidentally purchased a game from the Playstation Store (for the wrong console) and I had to jump through hoops to get a refund and it took almost a month to do and I had contacted Sony immediately after the purchase. They’re hoping that people won't bother going through the process of getting a refund.
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post #28 of 52

Okay I think I figured out how the US plans to close their budget gaps

 

Quote:

Which brings us to that $32.5 million. It's not clear from any of the documents how this figure was arrived at, nor whether the refunds Apple has already paid will be subtracted from it. By the terms of the consent agreement, Apple must pay out "a minimum" of $32.5 million -- or roughly $880 for each of Apple's complainants.

Any money that's not spent -- which could, in theory, be millions of dollars -- goes to ... wait for it ... the commission.

 If you notice the FTC and other agency have been on a fining spree for the last couple of years, This could be a back handed way of the government getting more of a cut of the overseas funds they have.

post #29 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


What I find most troubling is that there's no easy refund policy. People make mistakes and sometimes order the wrong thing or hit the wrong button. Last year I accidentally purchased a game from the Playstation Store (for the wrong console) and I had to jump through hoops to get a refund and it took almost a month to do and I had contacted Sony immediately after the purchase. They’re hoping that people won't bother going through the process of getting a refund.

You know I maybe old fashion but I tend to like to hold and touch and play with things before I buy them. If I know exactly what I want and used it before buying on line is no problem. But I always worries about your situation, what if I bought the wrong software or found it does not work as I expected, you really have not way of returning someone you down loaded. Actually this has always been a problem with software, once the shrink rap is broken they will not take it back even if it does not work for you. Most state have consumer laws which requires the selling of the product to take the product back with in a period of time especially anything which is hardware. Software seems to have been able to get around these laws.

 

You are basically screwed if you buy software and it wrong or does not work. The only way to get a refund is to fight for it and hopes they step up and take care of you. 

 

This is not an Apple only issue that is for sure.

post #30 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
 

... Software seems to have been able to get around these laws.

...

You are basically screwed if you buy software and it wrong or does not work. The only way to get a refund is to fight for it and hopes they step up and take care of you. 

 

This is not an Apple only issue that is for sure.

They say you don't purchase software, you obtain a license.  That has been the argument all these years that they hide behind.

post #31 of 52

The whole Internet has gone nuts because of this chairwoman's BS!

 

In any case, she won't last that long at FTC (there's not much $$ either)! So she's signalling gooflers to prepare the champagnes and red carpet for the lady to join!

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post #32 of 52
Hmm, I wonder how many of these "wronged" parents have deleted the "mistakenly bought" applications off of their childrens' ios devices?
post #33 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by elehcdn View Post

Hmm, I wonder how many of these "wronged" parents have deleted the "mistakenly bought" applications off of their childrens' ios devices?

Though I wasn't wronged I was tired of IAPs, so I took away the iPod Touch and got my son a PS Vita.
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post #34 of 52

I'm not sure why Apple chose not to allow multiple user accounts on iOS which perhaps would have prevented the problem in the first place. Maybe they wanted all parents to buy a separate iPad for each child. Who knows?

 

Anyway, I have a philosophy that any problem that can be fixed with $100 is not really a problem. $32.5 million is just pocket change for Apple. No big deal.

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post #35 of 52
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
I'm not sure why Apple chose not to allow multiple user accounts on iOS which perhaps would have prevented the problem in the first place.

 

No, it wouldn’t have. Explosive presumptions there.

 

Anyway, I have a philosophy that any problem that can be fixed with $100 is not really a problem. $32.5 million is just pocket change for Apple. No big deal. 

 

“Anything should be allowed as long as the punishment is arbitrarily meaningless to the accused!” :no:

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post #36 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post
 

Because Apple lumps purchases into batches. This allows you to purchase random $0.99 tracks quickly and not have it show up as separate transactions on your credit card. It would also be pretty annoying if you got an email every time you downloaded a track.

Makes sense, they sweep at intervals then. 

post #37 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMacMan View Post
 

Thank you. I believe that as well. I can take care of my self. I don't need them to step into my personal life. How about if they worry about unemployment, rising criminal activity, and international relations and leave me the F#ck alone.

 

A minor point, but criminal activity is slowing. This is mainly because the population is decreasing. More people are aged and retiring or dying off.

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post #38 of 52
Why doesn't the FTC or some agency similiarly investigate/penalize Verizon for alledged purchases of FIOS TV premium content by their customers using their TV remote? After you get the surprise bills and complain, Verizon will claim "someone in your residence" made the purchase using your FIOS set-top box remote control. We had no idea what they were talking about; we are in our 70s and live alone here. We now know that Verizon has done this to large numbers of their customers, who have no recourse of any sort except to pay the bill or else. Complaining repeatedly will get you nowhere. How can Verizon get away with this practice? And repeat it multiple times in a month? We are furious with them, but still stuck with the latest: an NBA League Pass $200 FIOS subscription.
post #39 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by brho View Post

Why doesn't the FTC or some agency similiarly investigate/penalize Verizon for alledged purchases of FIOS TV premium content by their customers using their TV remote? After you get the surprise bills and complain, Verizon will claim "someone in your residence" made the purchase using your FIOS set-top box remote control. We had no idea what they were talking about; we are in our 70s and live alone here. We now know that Verizon has done this to large numbers of their customers, who have no recourse of any sort except to pay the bill or else. Complaining repeatedly will get you nowhere. How can Verizon get away with this practice? And repeat it multiple times in a month? We are furious with them, but still stuck with the latest: an NBA League Pass $200 FIOS subscription.

They refunded me a PPV purchase my son accidentally made, but I did call them right away.
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post #40 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Though I wasn't wronged I was tired of IAPs, so I took away the iPod Touch and got my son a PS Vita.

That makes a lot of sense. Instead of doing something reasonable like using iTunes Gift Cards to control spending or actually take control of what your kids are doing, let's blow $200 on another device.


As to refunds , I've gotten several refunds from iTunes over the tears. I bought NHL Live from my Apple TV, didn't like the quality of the broadcasts (thought it would be HD), and emailed Apple support. Got a full refund. Bought The Beatles One album with digital booklet, and the booklet would never download. Apple refunded me the full price.

For software I bought Norton Ghost and it didn't do one function I wanted (which wasn't listed in their feature list, but was implied). They refunded me the full price. Funny thing was it still worked and wasn't "deactivated", which I expected.

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