17/04/2012 08:19 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Apple Faces Lawsuit From Angry Parents Over Huge Download Bills

Teen boy using Apple mac PA

Apple is reportedly facing a lawsuit from furious parents after their kids ran up huge bills downloading apps on their iPhones and iPads.

The Telegraph
reports that a group of angry mums and dads have been given permission to proceed with the class action claim by a federal judge, despite Apple's call for the case to be dismissed.

The lawsuit concerns in-app purchasing, where users buy virtual currency and add-ons for games or software, often costing up to £70. The Apps that use the currency are usually free to download in the first place, a system that parents claim 'induces' children to make further purchases.

The mums and dads state that Apple make it too easy for youngsters to buy digital items such as 'smurfberries' without the 'authorisation of their parents'.

Such purchases are automatically charged to the iTunes account and credit card associated with the iPhone or iPad, and in some cases, kids have run up bills of hundreds of pounds.

Court papers submitted by the parents say that 'among the many thousands of apps that Apple offers for sale are gaming apps aimed at children. Many such games are designed to induce purchases.'

The parents also claim the games are 'highly addictive, designed deliberately to be so, and tend to compel children playing them to purchase large quantities of game currency, amounting to as much as $100 per purchase or more.'

Apple said that there are controls in iOS that parents can set to restrict their kids' access to purchasable items.

The regulator of the US Federal Trade Commission is also investigating in-app purchasing after complaints were made by Congressman Edward Markey. Last year, the regulator's chairman Jon Leibowitz said the commission fully shared parents' concerns that 'consumers, particularly children, are unlikely to understand the ramifications of these types of purchases.'

Apple has not made a public statement about the action.

What do you think? Have your kids run up huge bills downloading Apps?