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Frustrated parents whose kids bought gear on the popular video game Fortnite without their permission may soon get some of their money back.
The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday said it has begun notifying more than 37 million people that they may be entitled to compensation from a settlement with game maker Epic Games. The agency has a page on its website where those affected can apply for a refund.
The FTC alleged late last year that Epic Games used deceptive design tactics to get players to make unwanted purchases. It also said Epic “made it easy for children to rack up charges without parental consent and locked the accounts of consumers who disputed unauthorized charges with their credit card companies,” according to a blog post Tuesday.
Eligible refund recipients must be 18 years or older or have a parent or guardian complete the refund form. You might qualify for the refund if between January 2017 and September 2022:
- You were charged in-game currency for unwanted items.
- Your child charged game items to your credit card without you knowing.
- Your account was locked after you disputed wrongful charges with your credit card company.
To be considered for a refund, you must apply by Jan. 17, 2024.
It’s not yet clear how much each refund recipient will get back, however. The FTC said approved claim amounts “will depend on several factors, including how many people file a claim.” The agency also has not yet provided a timeline for when applicants may get their payments.
In total, Epic agreed to pay $245 million to consumers to settle the FTC complaint, in an agreement finalized in March. It will also pay a $275 million penalty to settle allegations it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule.
The agreement bars Epic from charging consumers with deceptive designs or without their affirmative consent. It also prohibits the company from blocking consumers from their accounts if they dispute unauthorized charges.
Epic said in a blog post at the time of the initial settlement announcement that it “accepted this agreement because we want Epic to be at the forefront of consumer protection and provide the best experience for our players.”