Parents whose children unknowingly purchased virtual hardware on the popular video game Fortnite may soon be able to get a refund.
U.S. regulators are beginning to notify more than 37 million people by 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 $520 million (£419 million) in penalties and reimbursements to resolve complaints about children’s privacy and its payment methods that tricked players into making unintended purchases.
Part of this is $245m (£198m) in refunds to customers.
This is intended to cover part of the costs of unwanted V-Bucks, Fortnite in-game currency or virtual items such as outfits or cartoonish purple llama loot crates.
Consumers have until January 17, 2024 to file a complaint.
Epic Games had also agreed to pay a fine of $275 million (£222 million) for allegedly collecting personal information from Fortnite players under the age of 13 without informing their parents or obtaining their consent.
This is the largest penalty ever imposed for violating 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 charged their credit card without their knowledge between January 2017 and November 2018; and those whose accounts were locked after complaining to their credit card company about unwarranted charges.
Epic Games said after settling the case in December that it had put additional safeguards in place to prevent unintended purchases. In an updated statement Tuesday, he referred people to the FTC page.