— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. However, our picks and opinions are independent from USA TODAY’s newsroom and any business incentives. So, you finally got your tax refund back. Yippee! It’s almost as if money has magically appeared in your bank account. So what are you going to spend it on? With extra money that you haven't previously budgeted for, it’s easy to be tempted to blow it all on new trendy clothing or a night on the town. But there are plenty of wiser things to spend your tax refund on like paying off student loans and credit card debt, investing in stocks, or purchasing useful products that will last you a lifetime. Here at Reviewed, we’ve tested a whole bunch of stuff from kitchen tools to smart home gadgets—some of which that we found are a great investment for any lifestyle. Without further … [Read more...] about 10 splurge-worthy things to buy with your tax refund this year
Apple app refund
Last Updated Aug 12, 2008 10:17 PM EDT Apple has confirmed that it can turn off an application already sitting on a user's iPhone. There's been a fair amount of controversy around kill switches, and I suddenly wondered whether, given the specifics of Apple's operations, whether the company was opening itself up to liability. So I asked Mark McCreary, a partner with law firm Fox Rothschild, about it. BNET: Because Apple vets applications before letting them onto its iPhone store, is there a potential for liability? Does it effectively put Apple in the position of having authorized the application and the user having made decisions based on that assurance? Mark McCreary: Generally speaking, I am not aware of any prohibition on Apple killing an application that a user has installed on his or her iPhone. First, the action is permitted in the Apple terms and conditions for the iPhone and App Store. Second, there are very compelling reasons for Apple to suddenly take away an application. … [Read more...] about Does Apple’s iPhone App Killing Open It to Liability?
WASHINGTON - Apple (AAPL) will refund consumers at least $32.5 million to settle a longstanding complaint that the technology company billed U.S. consumers for charges incurred by children buying mobile apps without their parents' consent. Under the terms of the settlement, announced on Wednesday by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Apple also will be required to change its billing practices to ensure it obtains consent from consumers before charging for items sold in mobile apps. "Whether you're doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize." In an internal memo to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company decided to settle rather than risk a long and distracting legal battle because the FTC's proposals aligned with the company's own intended changes. Ramirez said the commission had logged "tens of thousands of … [Read more...] about Apple to refund consumers over kids’ app charges
The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against Amazon.com, accusing the retail giant of unlawfully charging millions of dollars on apps designed for children, the agency announced on Thursday. The FTC alleges that Amazon, which collects 30 percent of in-app charges from apps downloaded from the site, was billing account holders even though no password was required or any consent was given to allow children to ring up the charges. The company received thousands of complaints from customers, the FTC said. "Amazon's in-app system allowed children to incur unlimited charges on their parents' accounts without permission," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. "Even Amazon's own employees recognized the serious problem its process created." Amazon has said it intends to fight the FTC, noting the company has issued refunds to those who have complained and that more parental controls are available than were required of Apple, which settled a similar case with the FTC … [Read more...] about Amazon sued by FTC over kids’ charges on apps
game for the iPhone and other Apple gadgets, was released a month ago and quickly became the highest-grossing application in the iTunes store. Yet it's free to download.So where does the money come from? Kelly Rummelhart of California has part of the answer. Her 4-year-old son was using her iPad to play the game and racked up $66.88 in charges on her credit card without knowing what he was doing.Rummelhart had no idea that it was possible to buy things - buy them with real money - inside the game. In this case, her son bought one bushel and 11 buckets of "Smurfberries," tokens that speed up gameplay."Really, my biggest concern was them scratching the screen. Never in my wildest dreams did I think they would be charging things on it," the 36-year-old mother said.She counts herself lucky that her son didn't start tapping on another purchase button, like the "wheelbarrow" of Smurfberries for $59.99.Rummelhart joins a number of parents who have been horrified by purchases of Smurfberries … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo Apple App Store: Catnip for Free-Spending Kids?
LOS ANGELES - Amazon (AMZN) says that it is prepared to go to court against the Federal Trade Commission to defend itself against charges that it has not done enough to prevent children from making unauthorized in-app purchases. The FTC alleged in a draft lawsuit released by Amazon that unauthorized charges by children on Amazon tablets have amounted to millions of dollars. Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. said in a letter Tuesday to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez that it had already refunded money to parents who complained. It also said its parental controls go beyond what the FTC required from Apple when it imposed a $32.5 million fine on the company in January over a similar matter. Amazon's Kindle Free Time app can limit how much time children spend on Kindle tablets as well as require a personal identification number for in-app purchases, said Amazon spokesman Craig Berman. "Parents can say -- at any time, for every purchase that's made -- that a PIN is required," he said. By not … [Read more...] about Amazon vows to fight FTC on kids in-app purchases
Google Inc. (GOOG) has agreed to pay $19 million to settle charges that the children were able to run up bills on Android mobile apps without their parents' permission, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday. The FTC earlier this year settled a similar case with Apple Inc. for $32.5 million, and in July filed a complaint against Amazon Inc. making the same allegations. Google and Apple, as part of their settlements, agreed to change the way they bill consumers who use apps downloaded from their stores -- requiring approval from the account-holders before charging them. Numerous consumers complained that they were faced with hundreds of dollars in charges from apps used by their children, who didn't realize they were spending real money. "For millions of American families, smartphones and tablets have become a part of their daily lives," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. "As more Americans embrace mobile technology, it's vital to remind companies that … [Read more...] about Google reaches $19M settlement with FTC over in-app purchases
When YouTube's Red subscription streaming service launches Oct. 28, you'll be able to pay $9.99 for a month's worth of videos uninterrupted by advertisements. Unless you're on a iPhone, in which case, you'll have to pony up $12.99. As Ars Technica astutely pointed out, Apple takes a 30 percent cut of revenues for subscriptions sold via in-app purchases. And Google, which owns YouTube, will pass that extra cost onto subscribers. Buying the subscription on the YouTube website should bypass the surcharge. Google says that "membership extends across devices and anywhere you sign into YouTube," so if you sign up on YouTube.com, you should be able enjoy Red when you're logged into the app on your iPhone or iPad. (Relatedly, if you do sign up through the YouTube iOS app and you decide to cancel your subscription, you'll have to go through Apple to get a refund.) YouTube announced Red on Wednesday. The paid service eliminates ads on videos, offers unlimited music streaming and gives access to … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo New YouTube subscription will cost more to buy on Apple devices
A California district judge has preliminarily approved a settlement that will allow parents to receive a refund of at least $5 if their children made in-app purchases on "free" computer games without parental consent, the web site Top Class Actions reported. A Federal Trade Commission investigation found that game developers were advertising free games on iTunes, but then charging kids to buy "gaming currency," such as virtual supplies or currency. With a single click and without any password requirement, children could charge $100 or more to accountholders' credit cards or PayPal accounts, Top Class Action said. Details on filing a claim haven't been announced yet but interested consumers can check back to Whistleblower for information when it becomes available. The filing deadline is July 31. Older Post Surly Pugsley bicycle forks recalled Newer Post Victims of "government grant" scheme to be reimbursed … [Read more...] about Apple to give refunds for “free” games targeted to kids
Free mobile games might sound like good deal, since users don’t have to pay to download them. However, some apps might actually be scamming people, especially children. A user can download a game for free, but those games usually charge people for in-game boosts or items, like more lives or coins. That legitimate business model is called a “freemium,” but in the end some games might be aggressively and deceptively pushing in-app purchases, says Gabriel Wood from consumer information site NextAdvisor. “A game might bombard players with pop-up windows offering expensive game items, hoping you’ll eventually slip up and accidentally confirm the purchase,” Wood told International Business Times. “That’s in addition to the other dangers associated with downloading apps, such as identity theft, which can occur when you grant an app access to too many device permissions.” Children and Unauthorized In-App Purchases Teens and adults could … [Read more...] about Tips: Parents Can Block Children From Predatory Game Downloads, App Purchases