Have you or someone you know been charged for unwanted items in Fortnite, had unauthorised purchases made by a child, or had your account locked due to disputed charges? If so, you may be eligible for a refund from Epic Games. The company has settled a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for $245 million due to its misleading billing practices and use of dark patterns within the game.
Dark patterns are design tricks that trick users into doing things they don’t intend to do, such as buying something, signing up for a service, or giving up personal information. The FTC claimed that Epic Games used dark patterns to manipulate Fortnite players into unintentionally purchasing in-game items.
You can visit www.ftc.gov/Fortnite to apply for a refund. Those eligible have until January 17, 2024, to submit a claim. Eligibility requirements are as follows:
- You were charged in-game currency for items you didn’t want between January 2017 and September 2022
- Your child made charges to your credit card without your knowledge between January 2017 and November 2018
- Your account was locked between January 2017 and September 2022 after you complained about wrongful charges to your credit card company.
Furthermore, FTC informs that you must be 18 or older to complete the refund form; if not, a parent must complete it for you. If you’re eligible, you must enter a claim number sent to you by the FTC or your Epic Account ID. FTC also clarified that the refund amount will “depend on several factors, including how many people file a claim”.
In addition to paying $245 million for refunds, Epic Games also agreed to pay $275 million for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires online services to obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children under 13. The FTC alleged that Epic Games collected voice and text communications from millions of children without their parent’s knowledge or consent.