Fortnite Is Refunding An Unbelievable Amount Of Money To Players And Parents
Fortnite is obligated to pay an estimated $520 million for unsanctioned purchases of V-Bucks.
It would seem that Square Enix isn’t the only company on the market that employs questionable methods to earn money—Epic Games apparently shares some of its methodologies. Namely, in our previous discussion, we talked about Epic Games having to pay out a ridiculous amount of money — an estimated $520 million in settlements, $245 million of which are against Fortnite’s in-game store and refund system. And now, the payment is due.
According to ComicBook, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made an agreement with the Fortnite maker to refund $245 million worth of V-Bucks to players after it was alleged that the company had charged parents and players for unwanted purchases. The aforementioned penalty amount is now finalized, and the federal agency has confirmed that the money will be used to reimburse players from the U.S. and parents whose kids made unintended or unsanctioned purchases of V-Bucks, or cosmetic items.
Fortnite, the world’s most famous battle royale game with hundreds of playable crossovers such as Dragon Ball, is a free game to both download and play, but certain cosmetics cost real money. This isn’t a novelty, and plenty of games have in-game stores that rely on a payment system and fast payment processing, but nearly all require authorization. Epic Game’s Fortnite store doesn’t, and that’s just part of the issue.
Epic Games was also alleged to have used deceptive, counterintuitive interfaces to trick players, especially children, into making unintentional purchases.
Children make up a sizeable section of Fortnite’s player base who can rack up charges without their parent’s knowledge or consent due to a lack of an adequate payment verification system. Paired with the fact that Epic employed shady tactics for tricking people into making unintentional purchases, it’s quite reasonable why the company incurred parental wrath and an FTC inspection. And this is where we get to the other part of the issue—refund disputes.
Wrongful charge disputes shouldn’t be negotiable, but predatory games take advantage of an unregulated market.
So, instead of issuing refunds to disgruntled parents whose little unaccountable angels willingly or unwillingly racked up the charges, Epic would lock their accounts when they tried to dispute the charge. This malicious practice was previously overlooked since most gaming companies actually issue refunds to those who complain.
However, the Fortnite maker willingly ignored over a million wrongful charge complaints, which reached critical mass at one point, resulting in the lawsuit against the company and nearly half a billion dollars in settlements.
As a result, Epic Games now has to refund all credit card purchases from January 2017 to November 2018 and all V-Bucks purchases from January 2017 to September 2022. The cherry on top is the company will have to reinstate all Fortnite accounts it has locked between January 2017 and September 2022 after disputing unauthorized charges. It’s worth noting that a refund system still hasn’t been implemented, but those who made any purchases between the aforementioned dates will receive notifications once they become eligible for refunds.
Fortnite is currently available on Android, iOS, both current- and last-gen PlayStation and Xbox platforms, Nintendo Switch, macOS, and only the recent versions of Windows—Epic recently pulled the plug on Fortnite’s support for Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems.