April 25, 2024
Judge Rules Case Against Apple Over 'Bait Apps' Will Move Forward

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

Posted April 14, 2012 at 5:29pm by iClarified
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
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Comments (24)
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dancj
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
dancj - April 16, 2012 at 2:03pm
(this was I response to Your-Momma's post about parental ignorance)
joyz
joyz - 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
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.
joyz
joyz - 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
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
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 $$$$ items. What about Google and Amazon who have in app purchases also?
dancj
dancj - April 16, 2012 at 6:36am
So because there's a setting (that you wouldn't know about if you hadn gone trawling through the settings) that can prevent a problem (that wouldn't occur to most people is even possible) then its somehow the owners fault? Your logic is warped.
Maded
Maded - April 15, 2012 at 4:58pm
I wouldn't hand my phone over to my kids in the first place. That's what a DS is for they can play their own games, problem solved.
joyz
joyz - April 15, 2012 at 9:39am
The only people to blame are the parents... They should create a separate account for their kids(heck it's free for Christ sake!) It's Like giving them the visa card and pin number then complaining the kid spent money using the visa!
budsal
budsal - April 15, 2012 at 4:21pm
So a parent downloads a FREE app then hands over the device to their child to play a game. The child presses buttons randomly, having a good time, and inadvertently buys x amount of dollars worth of game stuffs and it's the parents fault? Not the game designer or app store fault for not requesting payment confirmation? I will agree to disagree.
dl
dl - April 16, 2012 at 3:10am
Exactly and it takes one second to click the restriction to BUY IN APP PURCHASES, TURN IT OFF, the Kindle Fire was much worse coming where anyone could buy anything already installed. Stolen Kindle's led to much more abuse and thieves buying $$$$ 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
joyz
joyz - 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 ?
dancj
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.
Joe N.
Joe N. - April 14, 2012 at 6:59pm
This is bogus. I entered my PW in the App store for my niece to download the free "Smurfs" app. 10 minutes later she found herself buying $50 worth of berries without any authentication whatsoever. F U APPLE
joyz
joyz - April 15, 2012 at 9:35am
Thats cuz you allowed yourself open to fraud... Fancy signin into to somewhere and allowing a 3rd party access to a device which you've signed into
dancj
dancj - April 15, 2012 at 10:00am
What are to talking about? They allowed the App store (ie not a third party app) access. They had no way of knowing that because of a stupidity in iOS it also allowed in app purchases without their kid having to put in the password.
dl
dl - April 16, 2012 at 3:13am
That's your fault for not turning off the buy in app purchasing option in settings. Don't blame Apple for your negligence. Google, and Amazon have in app purchasing too is it their fault also?
dancj
dancj - April 16, 2012 at 6:24am
It's not about just having in app purchases. It's about the fact that in app purchases could be made after installing the app without typing in a password.
Robot
Robot - April 14, 2012 at 5:38pm
I never understood why we have to put our password in for free apps anyway. Paid apps should be the only time you have to put your password into the AppStore.
budsal
budsal - April 14, 2012 at 8:56pm
and that simple solution would solve the problem that should never have existed
Notch
Notch - April 15, 2012 at 7:39pm
I don't want anyone installing apps without my knowledge. Not on my phone, not on my computer. Hence, password.
dl
dl - April 16, 2012 at 3:17am
No password would allow a virus or malware to do anything to your phone =password to be safe.
budsal
budsal - April 16, 2012 at 2:35pm
Both good points
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