Fortnite players who make unwanted purchases in the popular online video game can now do more than mash their controllers in anger.
The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday that it has started notifying 37 million people who may be entitled to a refund from Fortnite-maker Epic Games. The company in 2022to settle government allegations that it used deceptive practices, including to fool people into buying items such as costumes, dance moves and "loot crates."
Government regulators also said Epic made it easy for kids under age 13 who played Fortnite to rack up charges without their parents' consent, violating a federal law that seeks to protect children's privacy. When people disputed unauthorized charges with their credit card issuers, the company locked their Fortnite accounts, government regulators further alleged.
Now, $245 million of the 2022 settlement will go toward providing refunds to eligible consumers. According to the FTC, you may apply for a refund if:
- You were charged in-game currency for unwanted purchases between January 2017 and September 2022
- Your child charged your credit card to for in-game purchases without your knowledge between January 2017 and November 2018
- Your account was locked between January 2017 and September 2022 after you complained to your credit card company about unwanted changes from playing Fortnite
Epic said last year it implemented additional measures to prevent unintended purchases.
"The video game industry is a place of fast-moving innovation, where player expectations are high and new ideas are paramount," the company said last year ahead of the FTC settlement. "Statutes written decades ago don't specify how gaming ecosystems should operate. The laws have not changed, but their application has evolved and long-standing industry practices are no longer enough."
How to file a Fortnite claim
The FTC said consumers should watch for an email from firstname.lastname@example.org by October 19 that will provide instructions on how to file a claim.
If no email is received, people can use their Epic account ID to file a claim or go directly to the claim site. Alternatively, consumers can call an FTC staffer at (833) 915-0880 or email email@example.com for help.
Consumers have until January 17, 2024, to submit a claim. Anyone with questions can call the FTC at (888) 915-0880 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much will you get?
The size of the refunds isn't yet known as the FTC said that the amount will depend on several factors, including how many people file a claim.
The agency doesn't have a mailing date yet for payments, but said it will update its Fortnite refunds page when it has more information.
—The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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