Fortnite is one of the most popular online video games in the world, with millions of players of all ages. But some of them may have been tricked into making unwanted purchases or had their accounts locked by the game maker, Epic Games. If you are one of them, you may be eligible for a refund from a $245 million settlement fund that Epic Games agreed to pay as part of a deal with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
What is the settlement about?
The FTC accused Epic Games of using deceptive design tactics and other practices to get players to buy in-game items without their consent or knowledge. It also said that Epic Games violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting personal information from kids under 13 without their parents’ permission. The FTC said that these actions harmed millions of consumers, especially children and teens, who spent real money on virtual items that they did not want or need.
Who can apply for a refund?
The FTC said that it has started notifying more than 37 million people who may be entitled to compensation from the settlement fund. You can apply for a refund if you meet one of these criteria:
- You were charged in-game currency for items you did not want between January 2017 and September 2022
- Your child made charges to your credit card on Fortnite without your knowledge between January 2017 and November 2018
- Your account was locked sometime between January 2017 and September 2022 after you complained to your credit card company about wrongful charges
You must be 18 years or older or have a parent or guardian complete the refund form for you. You must also have an Epic account ID, which you can find here.
How to apply for a refund?
You can apply for a refund online by visiting this link and entering your claim number and Epic account ID. If you do not have a claim number, you can request one by providing your email address or phone number. You must apply by January 17, 2024 to be considered for a refund.
The amount of refund you will receive depends on several factors, such as how many people file a claim and how much money you spent on unwanted items. The FTC said that it will process the claims as quickly as possible and will update the applicants on the status of their payments.
What else does the settlement require?
The settlement also requires Epic Games to pay a $275 million penalty to the US government for violating COPPA. It also prohibits Epic Games from charging consumers without their affirmative consent or using deceptive design techniques. It also forbids Epic Games from blocking consumers from their accounts if they dispute unauthorized charges.
Epic Games said in a blog post that it accepted the agreement because it wants to be at the forefront of consumer protection and provide the best experience for its players.