Judge Rules Case Against Apple Over 'Bait Apps' Will Move Forward

Judge Rules Case Against Apple Over 'Bait Apps' Will Move Forward

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U.S. District Judge Edward Davila has responded to Apple's motion to dismiss a case brought against the company over 'bait apps' and ruled it can move forward.

Apple is defending against a lawsuit involving minors, where parents of minor children argued that Apple's practice of distributing free apps was misleading because minor children could purchase "game currency" for a short duration after the parents had logged in. The children's games that use this model are known as 'bait apps'.

In the past Apple allowed a 15 minute window after you had logged in to make additional purchases without authenticating again. This made installing applications less of a hassle to users; however, resulted in the scenario described above.

PaidContent notes that last year, a federal judge consolidated a series of class action suits from parents which Apple then filed to dismiss.

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila responded to Apple's motion upholding four of the five claims made by the parents, including on that alleged Apple violated consumer protection laws by marketing the apps as free:

Contrary to Apple's argument, Plaintiffs have alleged with specificity which misrepresentations they were exposed to, their reliance on those misrepresentations, and the resulting harm. Plaintiffs pled specific facts that Apple "actively advertis[ed], market[ed] and promot[ed] its bait Apps as 'free' or nominal .

Seattle tech lawyer Venkat Balasubramani takes a more detailed look at the case on Eric Goldman's Law and Marketing Blog. Surprisingly, it appears the parents have a pretty strong case but Balasubramani believes Apple will eventually win.

"One thing is for sure. The knives of plaintiffs' lawyers are sharpened when it comes to online litigation. I can see Apple defeating this lawsuit eventually, but the claims themselves surprised me from a factual standpoint. I doubt Apple could have anticipated something like this."

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Judge Rules Case Against Apple Over 'Bait Apps' Will Move Forward
dancj - April 16, 2012 at 2:00pm
You seem to be wilfully missing the point. No-one is complaining about in app purchases. What people are complaining about is that typing in a password to download the app also opened up the in-app purchases with no password needed - something they had no way of knowing about so they had no reason to think they needed to turn off the in app purchases.
dancj - April 16, 2012 at 2:03pm
(this was I response to Your-Momma's post about parental ignorance)
Your-Moma - April 16, 2012 at 4:53pm
"They had no way of knowing" again pointing to ignorance... If the users read the T/C and what's included in the latest OS updates they would have known...
Dancj - April 16, 2012 at 5:30pm
Firstly - I doubt there's anything in the terms that specifically says that if you type in your password to buy an app then they'll be able to make in app purchases for the next 15 minutes without typing it in again. Secondly - even if there is, something buried in the terms and conditions is not enough. People shouldn't be expected to read every new edition of an 80 page document to avoid having their money taken against their will.
Your-Moma - April 16, 2012 at 11:08pm
Am pretty sure there is/was some wording regarding in app purchases? If peeps don't want read T/C then only themselves to blame
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