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

Posted April 14, 2012 at 5:29pm by iClarified | Please help us and submit a translation by clicking here | 6749 views

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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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
Dancj - April 17, 2012 at 6:31am
Most people couldn't even understand 80 pages of legalese. It's unreasonable to expect them to be able to understand the implications.
dl - April 16, 2012 at 3:15am
It takes one second to click the restriction to BUY IN APP PURCHASES, TURN IT OFF, the Kindle Fire was much worse coming where anyone could buy anything already installed. Stolen Kindle's led to much more abuse and thieves buying $$$$ items. What about Google and Amazon who have in app purchases also?
dancj - April 16, 2012 at 6:36am
So because there's a setting (that you wouldn't know about if you hadn gone trawling through the settings) that can prevent a problem (that wouldn't occur to most people is even possible) then its somehow the owners fault? Your logic is warped.
Maded - April 15, 2012 at 4:58pm
I wouldn't hand my phone over to my kids in the first place. That's what a DS is for they can play their own games, problem solved.
Your-Moma - April 15, 2012 at 9:39am
The only people to blame are the parents... They should create a separate account for their kids(heck it's free for Christ sake!) It's Like giving them the visa card and pin number then complaining the kid spent money using the visa!
Budsal - April 15, 2012 at 4:21pm
So a parent downloads a FREE app then hands over the device to their child to play a game. The child presses buttons randomly, having a good time, and inadvertently buys x amount of dollars worth of game stuffs and it's the parents fault? Not the game designer or app store fault for not requesting payment confirmation? I will agree to disagree.
dl - April 16, 2012 at 3:10am
Exactly and it takes one second to click the restriction to BUY IN APP PURCHASES, TURN IT OFF, the Kindle Fire was much worse coming where anyone could buy anything already installed. Stolen Kindle's led to much more abuse and thieves buying $$$$ items. What about Google and Amazon who have in app purchases also? Someone took a new credit card replacement out of our mail and charged thousands of dollars just this week. Send them in a regular envelope? Most of them use packaging now, not this company.... color me angry
Your-Moma - April 16, 2012 at 1:28pm
You forget... The parent is STILL signed into to their account.... Would you go to a cash machine enter you pin and turn round to the person behind you and say help yourself to my money ?
Dribble - April 14, 2012 at 11:41pm
Maybe people downloading apps for their kids should be a little more conscientious when handing over technology instead of being lazy and just thrusting the device into the kid's hands so they'll leave them alone. The kids are smarter than the parents. The kids know how to work the device and buy these items while the parents are too ignorant to know to look these issues. Buyer beware.
apple_semen_all_over - April 15, 2012 at 3:13am
Yeah right, you should be more conscientious and shut the fuck up! Apple is purposely fucking us and they got caught, now they act like we were the ones with our cocks all up in their butt, while our ass-crack is leaking of all of their cum!
dancj - April 15, 2012 at 9:11am
I doubt Apple did it on purpose - and they've fixed it now. It's just an unforeseen side effect - and they really should refund everyone caught out by this.
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