Cary-based Epic Games fined $245M for ‘tricking’ users into unwanted charges
WASHINGTON, D.C (WNCN) - The Federal Trade Commission is ordering Cary-based maker of the Fortnite video game to pay $245 million to consumers to settle charges.
The FTC said Epic Games used dark patterns to trick players into making unwanted purchases and let children rack up unauthorized charges without any parental involvement, according to a news release.
In a complaint announced in December as part of a settlement package with Epic, the FTC said that Epic used design tricks known as dark patterns to get consumers of all ages to make unintended in-game purchases.
“Fortnite’s counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration led players to incur unwanted charges based on the press of a single button. The company also made it easy for children to make purchases while playing Fortnite without requiring any parental consent. According to the FTC’s complaint, Epic also locked the accounts of customers who disputed unauthorized charges with their credit card companies,” the release stated.
Under the FTC’s order, the amount Epic agreed to pay will be used to provide refunds to consumers.
Epic Games is also prohibited from charging consumers through the use of dark patterns or from otherwise charging consumers without obtaining their affirmative consent.
“Additionally, the order bars Epic from blocking consumers from accessing their accounts for disputing unauthorized charges,” the release states
The FTC voted 4-0 to approve the complaint and order against Epic.
Consumers who believe they may have been injured by Epic’s practices can visit FTC.gov/Fortnite for more information on the refund process.
Epic Games stated it “implemented high privacy-default settings for players under the age of 18. Chat defaults to “Nobody,” profile details default to hidden, parties default to “Invite Only,” and personalized recommendations are defaulted Off. Players under 16 also have the mature language filter defaulted On for text chat” in September.
Click here to read Epic’s full statement from December when the fine was initially announced.
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