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Science & Tech News: Refunds for Parents Whose Children Unknowingly Made Purchases on Fortnite

Parents whose kids bought virtual gear without their knowledge on the popular Fortnite video game could soon be able to get a refund.

US regulators are beginning to notify more than 37 million people via email that they may be eligible for compensation as part of a legal settlement with game developer Epic Games Inc.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced late last year that Epic Games would pay $520m (£419m) in penalties and refunds to settle complaints revolving around children’s privacy and its payment methods that tricked players into making unintended purchases.

Part of that consists of $245m (£198m) in customer refunds.

It’s meant to cover some of the costs of unwanted V-Bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency, or virtual items such as outfits or cartoonish purple llama loot crates.

Consumers have until 17 January 2024 to submit a claim.

Epic Games had also agreed to pay a $275m (£222m) fine for allegedly collecting personal information on Fortnite players under the age of 13 without informing their parents or getting their consent.

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It was the biggest penalty ever imposed for breaking an FTC rule.

According to the FTC, those eligible for refunds include Fortnite users charged in-game currency for items they didn’t want between January 2017 and September 2022.

Also eligible are those whose child made charges to their credit card without their knowledge between January 2017 and November 2018; and those whose account was locked after they complained to their credit card company about wrongful charges.

Epic Games said after settling the case in December that it implemented additional safeguards to prevent unintended purchases. In an updated statement Tuesday, it referred people to the FTC’s page.

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