May 20, 2024

United States regulator has mandated the popular video game Fortnite to ensure refunds of unintended purchases from the firm. The refund is for the parents whose kids purchased virtual gear without their knowledge or consent from the gaming company.

Fortnite Maker Faces $520 Million Settlement Penalties and Refunds

Epic Games had pioneered the success of Fortnite within the past five years, fronting it as a video game powerhouse. These refunds are part of the legal settlement regulators struck with the game’s manufacturer, Epic Games, over two cases against the company.  

On Monday, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Epic Games would pay a penalty fee amounting to $520 million. The fee also includes refunds for the settlement of several complaints regarding children’s privacy and the firm’s payment options that deceive players into making unintended purchases.

According to the regulator’s details, Epic Games is expected to pay $275 million as a fine for allegedly violating operational standards.  The company was accused of collecting the personal data of Fortnite players under 13 years without their parent’s consent.

This stands as the biggest penalty recorded for the violation of an FTC rule. Further, $245 million out of the total $520 million penalty is strictly for customers’ refunds. The refunds will cover some of the costs of undesirable V-Bucks, the game’s in-game currency that users were tricked into acquiring.

Also, the fund will take care of virtual items like outfits or cartoon-like purple llama loot crates in the game. The regulator stated that the submission of customers’ claims will end on January 17.

US regulator has started sending notification emails to over 37 million people nationwide. The emails share the recipients’ potential eligibility for compensation from the video game.

FTC Lists the Eligible Safeguards Platform Against Further Incidents

Further, FTC listed Fortnite users eligible for refunds from the video game. These include users charged in-game currency for items they did not want between January 2017 and September 2022. 

Also, parents whose children used their credit cards without their content for charges on the gaming platform between January 2017 and November 2018. 

The next beneficiaries are those whose accounts were locked following their complaints to their credit card companies about the wrong charges. In reaction to the development, Epic Games has put in effort to fortify its platform with additional safeguards that eliminate unintended purchases. 

In a statement, Epic noted that the changes are

to ensure our ecosystem meets the expectations of our players and regulators, which we hope will be a helpful guide for others in our industry.

Also, Epic stated that it had to agree to the FTC settlement as no developer wants to see an abrupt end to its creation within a short period. 

It revealed that it wants

to be at the forefront of consumer protection and provide the best experience for our players.

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