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In-app purchasing suit against Apple allowed to proceed

A California judge has denied Apple's request to dismiss a lawsuit leveled by a group of parents who are suing for relief after their children spent large amounts of money on in-app purchases.

Federal Judge Edward J. Davila of the Northern District of California will allow four of the class action lawsuit's five claims to move forward, dismissing only on regarding breach of good faith and fair dealing, reports The LA Times.

Originally filed in April 2011, the lawsuit alleges that Apple's implementation of in-app purchasing made it too easy for children to accrue fees on their parents' credit cards for game currencies without realizing they were spending real-world money.

According to the suit, charges ranging from $99 to more than $300 were made by the minors on credit cards associated with parents' iTunes accounts. The case revolves around certain "freemium" games that can be downloaded at no cost but offer in-game upgrades that can be priced at over $100. Apple asserts that parents are able to stop their children from making purchases.

At issue is the time span in which purchases can be made before a user is asked for their password. Parents would download an app or make a purchase and then hand the device to their unsupervised child who would be able to buy in-game items without reauthorization. Apple has since adjusted the password window as of iOS 4.3, however at the time a minor could make several purchases without a parent's knowledge or consent.

The so-called "bait-app" case was disputed by Apple on claims that the purchases were made under the contract of the company's Terms and Conditions which were agreed to upon shopping in the iTunes App Store.

The denial of dismissal means that the suit can move forward, though it remains to be seen whether the plaintiffs will be successful in extracting damages from the iPad maker.