Apple was criticized by the Federal Trade Commission for its in-app purchase policies, a complaint was lodged against Cupertino after many cases were reported in which kids had made thousands of dollars worth of in-app purchases without their parents even knowing. Apple’s policies were called into question, and the company chose to settle the complaint with the FTC. It was given until March 31st to make changes to the App Store, and as the date approaches, the company is reportedly “scrambling” to make these changes.
One credentials are entered to authenticate an in-app purchase, there’s a 15 minute window in which subsequent purchases do not need authentication from the user. This means that even if parents allow their children to make one in-app purchase, and enter their credentials, the kids can continue to make purchases for the next 15 minutes without the parents consenting to it.
So Apple agreed to modify its billing practices by ensuring that consumers provide their express and informed consent prior to being billed for in-app purchases. The company also agreed to give them the option to withdraw consent at any time. This could bring about the end of the 15 minute window, though Apple hasn’t revealed if its going to retain the window in one way or the other. Apparently its taking the company “longer than expected” to make these changes, as it not only has to modify how App Store behaves in iOS, it also has to make changes in the iTunes codebase. Is Apple going to be able to make the changes before March 31st? Time will tell.