Parents can now claim Fortnite refunds

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Parents can start applying for refunds of in-app purchases on the video game Fortnite that were made without their permission.

A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched a portal for Fortnite claims Tuesday. 

The FTC started contacting more than 37 million people by email Tuesday to notify them that they may be eligible for compensation, and the FTC will continue this process for one month.

Those who wish to file a claim for a refund must be at least 18 years old. The deadline to apply for a refund is Jan. 17, 2024. 

The refunds come after a record-breaking settlement was finalized in March after the FTC accused Fortnite developer Epic Games of tricking users into making unwanted purchases. Epic agreed to pay $245 million in a penalty, which will go toward refunding customers. 

A separate settlement over accusations that the developer violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act resulted in Epic agreeing to pay a $275 million penalty, for a total of $520 million in penalties.

The FTC described several deceptive practices that it alleged Epic used to deceive users of all ages and trick children into making unintended purchases without their parents’ consent. The FTC also accused Epic of locking accounts of customers who complained about wrongful charges to their credit card companies.

“Fortnite’s counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration led players to incur unwanted charges based on the press of a single button,” the FTC said, accusing Epic of using design tricks known as “dark patterns.”

There are several different ways customers can be deemed eligible to claim a refund: if they were charged “in-game currency” for unwanted items between January 2017 and September 2022; if their child, without parental knowledge, made charges to a credit card between January 2017 and November 2018; or if their account was locked between January 2017 and September 2022 after complaining about the charges to the credit card company. 

Fortnite launched in September 2017 and quickly became a global phenomenon. Fortnite reportedly grossed $1.8 billion in its first 10 months and by the end of 2018 reached $2.4 billion. 

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