The FTC Fortnite refund decision has been finalized and it requires Epic Games, the company that created Fortnite, to pay $245 million in fines for deceiving users by employing “dark patterns” to make unauthorized or undesired payments.
According to a news release from the FTC, Fortnite used a “counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration” that tricked gamers into making unauthorized payments by pressing a single button. Moreover, there was no purchase authorization procedure, which allowed minors—a significant portion of the battle royale game’s user base—to run up charges without parental permission.
How did the FTC Fortnite refund order come to be?
The FTC Fortnite refund order is a component of a bigger deal that the commission and Epic Games will start working on in December 2022. Epic Games accepted the deal, according to a press statement, in an effort “to be at the forefront of consumer protection and provide the best experience for our players.”
Although Fortnite by Epic is normally free to download and play, in-game stuff like outfits and dance moves have a price. More than 400 million people utilize the game worldwide. In two different complaints, the FTC claimed that North Carolina-based Epic had participated in a number of illegal activities.
After the FTC Fortnite refund agreement, Epic Games has taken steps to avoid unauthorized charges, including more transparency about the storage of payment information and the implementation of a “hold-to-purchase feature” to confirm the user’s intent to purchase.
In order to take non-fraudulent charge complaints into account, the corporation also changed its chargeback policy. Historically, as a fraud-prevention precaution, a chargeback would immediately deactivate the user’s account. Currently, Epic Games only limits account access when there are indications of fraud.
After the order was officially issued, Epic Games has eight days to pay the full fee. An FTC spokeswoman stated that there is presently no timetable for when users can anticipate a refund, but the FTC will disburse the money to impacted individuals as it sees fit.
For additional information on the refund procedure, players who believe they have been improperly charged for Fortnite purchases should visit FTC.gov/Fortnite. There are several criteria to be eligible for the refund, but the players who can partially prove that they have been improperly charged for Fortnite purchases will be able to receive their payments back, according to the FTC Fortnite refund decision.
Epic Games claims to be upfront and transparent about the process but the ambiguity in their payment button arrangement has been a topic among players for a while now. In addition to this fine, for breaking the law on children’s privacy, Epic will pay a $275 million fine and modify the privacy settings by default. In total, the company will now have to pay more than half a billion dollars.
Employees of Epic voiced worry about the program’s default settings. Considering the potential effects on minors in particular, Epic staff asked the business to adjust the default settings so that users must opt-in for voice chat as early as 2017. The corporation resisted turning off the default settings despite this and accusations that kids had been sexually harassed while playing the game. Additionally, the complaint claims that while Epic later included a button that allowed users to disable audio chat, Epic made it challenging for users to locate.
In the coming weeks, Epic will probably introduce an update on Fortnite that will adapt the privacy terms in accordance with FTC’s ruling. However, the future of the company and Fortnite remains somewhat uncertain as these issues have been ongoing for more than five years. To keep track of the latest developments in the game sector and make sure you don’t miss out on anything, don’t forget to check out our articles on the latest news.