A United States District Court has paved the way for a class action lawsuit against Apple over the way it handles in-app purchases for free apps.
Plaintiffs told the court they downloaded or allowed their children to download and play free apps, "unaware that their children could, for fifteen minutes [after the app download], purchase game currency" in them without using a password, according to a court judgment handed down late last month.
The plaintiffs allegedly allowed their children to play the games on the basis that they were "free".
They alleged that Apple violated the US Consumer Legal Remedies Act "by actively marketing and promoting certain gaming apps as free or costing a nominal fee with the intent to induce minors to purchase in-app game currency".
According to the allegations, Apple did not disclose the embedding of game currency in the apps, nor that the currency could be bought for up to 15 minutes without requiring re-entry of an iTunes password.
Children of the plaintiffs allegedly ran up in-app bills of between $US99 ($A95.59) and $US338.72 ($A327.04).
The court noted the 15-minute period was stopped by Apple in "early 2011".
The plaintiffs contended that, "[h]ad any Plaintiff or other member of the class known what their children were purchasing and for how much, they would not have permitted the sales transaction from being consummated."
They sought reimbursement of the money spent plus interest.
Apple sought to have the claims dismissed, but succeeded on only one count.