Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images
This illustration shows a person logging into Epic Games’ Fortnite on their smartphone in Los Angeles on August 14, 2020. (Photo by Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)
Millions of Fortnite users can now claim a small portion of the $245 million that the game’s parent company agreed to pay as part of a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission.
Epic Games In December, it settled allegations with the Federal Trade Commission that it used deceptive methods that prompted users to make unwanted purchases in the multiplayer shooter that became hugely popular among younger generations a few years ago. The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday it has now done so The claims process opened More than 37 million users are potentially affected and can qualify for compensation.
Epic Games agreed in December to pay a total of $520 million to settle US government allegations that it misled millions of players, including children and teens, into making unintended purchases.
In one settlement, Epic agreed to pay $275 million to the US government to resolve allegations that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting the personal information of children under the age of 13 without first obtaining their parents’ consent. In a second, 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.
The Federal Trade Commission said in a statement on Tuesday fortnite The manufacturer “used dark patterns and other deceptive practices to trick players into making unwanted purchases” and also “made it easier for children to charge fees without parental consent.”
(“Dark patterns” refers to gentle, coercive design methods used by countless sites and apps that critics say are used to manipulate people’s digital behaviors.)
The FTC is now notifying users who may be eligible to receive part of the $245 million settlement fund. Affected users may receive an email from the FTC within the next month containing the claim number, or they can go directly to Settlement site and submit a claim using their Epic Account ID.
Here’s who can apply: Users who were charged in-game currency for items they didn’t want between January 2017 and September 2022, parents whose children charged their credit cards in Fortnite between January 2017 and November 2018, or users whose accounts were locked in Fortnite. Sometime between January 2017 and September 2022 after they complained to their credit card company about the illegal charges. Claimants must be 18 years of age; For younger users, their parents can file a claim on their behalf.
Users have until January 17, 2024 to file a claim to be included in the settlement class. The size of the individual settlement payments is not yet clear.
Epic’s agreement with the FTC also prohibits the company from using dark modes or charging consumers without their consent, and prevents Epic from closing player accounts in response to chargeback requests from users with credit card companies that object to unwanted charges.
“No developer creates a game with the intention of it ending up here,” Epic said in a blog post in December when it reached the agreement. “We accepted this agreement because we want Epic to be at the forefront of consumer protection and provide the best experience for our players,” she added.
“Hipster-friendly explorer. Award-winning coffee fanatic. Analyst. Problem solver. Troublemaker.”