Millions of Fortnite users can now claim their small share of the $245 million the game’s parent company has agreed to pay as part of a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission.
epic games in December settled charges with the FTC that it used deceptive tactics to trick users into making unwanted purchases in the multiplayer shooter that became wildly popular with younger generations a few years ago. The FTC said Tuesday that now opened the complaint process for more than 37 million potentially affected users who could be entitled to compensation.
Epic Games agreed in December to pay a total of $520 million to settle allegations by the US government that it misled millions of players, including children and teens, into unintended purchases and violated a landmark federal law protecting children’s privacy.
In one settlement, Epic agreed to pay $275 million to the US government to resolve claims that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Act by collecting personal information from children under 13 without first obtaining their parents’ consent. In a second and separate settlement, Epic also agreed to pay $245 million in refunds to consumers who were allegedly harmed by user interface design choices that the FTC claimed were deceptive.
In a statement on Tuesday, the FTC said the Fortnite maker “used dark patterns and other deceptive practices to induce players to make unwanted purchases” and also “facilitated children to charge without parental consent.”
(“Dark patterns” refers to the subtly coercive design tactics used by countless websites and apps that critics say are used to manipulate people’s digital behavior.)
The FTC is now notifying users who may be eligible for a portion of this $245 million settlement fund. Affected users may receive an email from the FTC within the next month with a claim number, or they may go directly to Housing estate and submit a claim using your Epic Account ID.
Here’s a list of who can sign up: Users who were charged in-game for items they didn’t want between January 2017 and September 2022, parents whose children made payments to their credit cards on Fortnite between January 2017 and November 2018, or users , whose accounts have been locked. sometime between January 2017 and September 2022 after they complained to their credit card company about unauthorized charges. Applicants must be over 18 years of age; for younger users, their parents can apply on their behalf.
Users have until January 17, 2024 to apply for inclusion in the settlement class. It is not yet clear how high the individual settlement payments will be.
Epic’s settlement with the FTC also prohibits the company from using dark patterns or charging consumers without their consent, and prohibits Epic from locking players’ accounts in response to users’ chargeback requests to credit card companies that dispute unwanted charges.
Epic said in a blog post in December that it had reached an agreement that “no developer makes a game with the intention of ending up here.” He added: “We entered into this agreement because we want Epic to be at the forefront of protecting consumers and providing the best experience for our players.”