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Apple notifies iTunes users of In App Purchase settlement

Today I woke to an email from Apple's "In-App Purchase Litigation Administrator." The email informs iTunes account holders who've had a minor make an unapproved in-app purchase (IAP) that they may be eligible for iTunes store credit or a cash refund.

According to the terms of the class action lawsuit settlement, if a minor used your iTunes account to buy less than US$30 worth of IAP's, you are eligible for a $5 iTunes store credit. If a minor used your iTunes account to buy more than $30 worth of IAP is, you're eligible for a cash refund. Users have until January 13, 2014 to submit a settlement claim. Claimants can find full details of the settlement, including a list of IAP eligible games, here. The full email follows.

LEGAL NOTICE

If your iTunes account was charged for an in-app purchase made by a minor in a game app without your knowledge or permission, you could be entitled to benefits under a class action settlement.

The parties have reached a settlement in a consolidated class action lawsuit against Apple Inc. ("Apple") regarding in-app purchases of game currency charged by minors to an iTunes account without the account holder's knowledge or permission. If the settlement is court-approved, your rights may be affected. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California authorized this notice. The Court will have a hearing to consider whether to approve the settlement so that the benefits may be paid. This summary provides basic information about the settlement.

What's This About?

In a consolidated class action lawsuit pending against Apple, Plaintiffs alleged that certain iOS applications ("Apps") distributed through the App Store allowed minors to charge iTunes accounts for in-app purchases of game currency without the account holders' knowledge or permission. Apple denies all allegations and is entering into this settlement to avoid burdensome and costly litigation. The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing.

Who's Affected?

You're a "Class Member" if you're a United States resident who paid for an in-app purchase of game currency charged to your iTunes account by a minor without your knowledge or permission in a Qualified App. For a searchable list of Qualified Apps and the full definition of "Game Currency," please go to www.iTunesInAppPurchaseSettlement.com. Qualified Apps consist of all apps in the games category with a minimum age rating of 4+, 9+, or 12+ that offer in-app purchases of game currency.

What Benefit Can You Get From the Settlement?

You may choose between (a) a single $5 iTunes Store credit or (b) a credit equal to the total amount of Game Currency that a minor charged to your iTunes account without your knowledge or permission within a single forty-five (45) day period, less any refund you previously received ("Aggregate Relief"). A cash refund in lieu of an iTunes Store credit is available if (a) you no longer have an active iTunes account, or (b) your claims exceed $30 in total. Additional requirements for claiming charges after the forty-five (45) day period apply. You must complete a valid Claim Form to receive settlement benefits.

The Claim Form will require you to attest that you: (a) paid for Game Currency charges in Qualified Apps charged to your iTunes account by a minor without your knowledge or permission; (b) did not knowingly enter your iTunes password to authorize any such purchase(s) and did not give your password to the minor to make any such purchase(s); and (c) have not received a refund from Apple for those charges. In addition, if you choose Aggregate Relief, the Claim Form will require you to identify the Qualified App, date of purchase, and price paid for each claimed charge. If you claim Aggregate Relief in excess of $30, you will also need to describe the circumstances under which a minor charged Game Currency to your iTunes account without your knowledge or permission.

You may obtain a list of all in-app purchases, including Game Currency purchases, charged to your account by (1) selecting "View My Apple ID" from the iTunes "Store" menu, (2) entering your Apple ID and associated password, and (3) clicking "See All" under the heading titled "Purchase History."

Who is Eligible for Cash Refunds?

Cash refunds will be available to Class Members who no longer maintain iTunes accounts or whose total Aggregate Relief claims exceed $30.

A detailed notice and Claim Form package contains everything you need and is available at www.iTunesInAppPurchaseSettlement.com. You can also obtain a Claim Form package by calling 1-855-282-8111.

What Are Your Options and What Are the Deadlines?

YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT:
OPTION EXPLANATION DEADLINE
SUBMIT A CLAIM FORM The only way to get a payment under the settlement. January 13, 2014
EXCLUDE YOURSELF Get no payment under the settlement. This is the only option that allows you to ever be part of any other lawsuit against Apple about the claims and allegations in this case. August 30, 2013
OBJECT Write to the Court about why you don't like the settlement. August 30, 2013
GO TO A HEARING Ask to speak in Court about the fairness of the settlement. September 27, 2013
DO NOTHING Get no payment under the settlement. Give up rights. N/A

Please read the full notice, which is available at www.iTunesInAppPurchaseSettlement.com, and decide whether you wish to make a claim.

To claim a settlement benefit, you must submit a valid Claim Form on or before January 13, 2014. If you do not claim a settlement benefit within this time period, you will lose your right to obtain this benefit.

If you don't want to make a claim and you don't want to be legally bound by the settlement, you must postmark your request to exclude yourself by August 30, 2013, or you won't be able to sue, or continue to sue, Apple about the legal claims and allegations in this case. If you exclude yourself, you will not be eligible to receive a payment from this settlement.

If you stay in the Class, you may object to the settlement. Objections must be received by August 30, 2013. The detailed notice describes how to exclude yourself or object. The Court will hold a hearing in this case (In re Apple In-App Purchase Litigation, Case No. 5:11-CV-01758-EJD) on October 18, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. to consider whether to approve (1) the settlement and (2) attorneys' fees and expenses of up to $1.3 million for Class Counsel, and service awards to each of the five Plaintiffs of up to $1,500 each. You may appear at the hearing, but you don't have to.

For More Information About the Settlement

To obtain a full notice and claim form, go to www.iTunesInAppPurchaseSettlement.com or call toll free 1-855-282-8111. For more details, go to www.iTunesInAppPurchaseSettlement.com or write to Boni & Zack LLC, Attn: Joshua D. Snyder, 15 St. Asaphs Road, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004; or Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky, P.C., Attn: Simon B. Paris, 1650 Market Street, Floor 51, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

For More Information About Apple Parental Controls

Apple provides owners of iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with the option to implement parental controls which prevent minors from charging in-app purchases to an iTunes account without the knowledge or permission of the account holder. You can learn more about these parental controls at support.apple.com/kb/HT4213.

For Spanish-Language Information About the Settlement

Por favor diríjase a www.iTunesInAppPurchaseSettlement.com para obtener una copia de este aviso y otros documentos importantes e información en español.

BY ORDER OF THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT

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