Epic Games agreed to pay $520 Million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that Epic Games violated online privacy protections and tricked children into purchasing unintended goods.
According to the FTC, the agreement comprised two records-breaking settlements, which resolved a pair of civil lawsuits it had filed against Epic.
The first, filed in federal court, claimed Epic violated the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, collecting personal data from Fortnite players under 13 years old without notifying their parents and obtaining verified parental consent.
To resolve FTC’s second complaint (filed in administrative court), the company agreed to pay $245,000,000 in consumer refunds.
This is the largest settlement by the FTC that prohibits the use of dark patterns, which are tactics that trap customers into buying goods or services and make it difficult to cancel.
Epic used a variety of tactics to induce unintended purchases of virtual currency. This was done to acquire perks like outfits, dance moves, and other perks.
The FTC also filed a second complaint against Epic. It claimed that Epic used counterintuitive and inconsistent button configurations. It stated that these tactics resulted in millions of dollars of unauthorized consumer charges.
FTC also claimed that Epic deliberately obscured cancel- and refund options to make them harder to find and that Epic locked the accounts of customers who dispute unauthorized charges with credit card companies.