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Apple sued over bills children rack up

Associated Press / April 20, 2011

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NEW YORK — Apple is facing a lawsuit from a Pennsylvania man whose 9-year-old racked up $200 in charges buying games on her iPod.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status, saying Garen Meguerian of Phoenixville is one of many people with bill shock whose children went on buying sprees for iPhone, iPad, and iPod games. The games are typically free to download, but players can buy items that speed up the game.

An Associated Press story in December highlighted the issue. In many cases, it appeared that children bought items such as “Smurfberries’’ from Smurfs’ Village without knowing they were spending real money. ITunes did not ask for a password for in-game purchases if it had been entered within the previous 15 minutes, for any reason. A parent could download a free app, hand the devices to a child, and later find big charges on the account.

Apple reversed the charges of complaining customers. It also tightened its password policy with a software update in March.

A spokeswoman said Apple does not comment on litigation. The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court in San Francisco.