Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an internal email, said the company received 37,000 complaints and intended to reimburse those customers.
"Last year, we set out to refund any in-app purchase which may have been made without a parent's permission," Cook said. "We wanted to reach every customer who might have been affected, so we sent emails to 28 million App Store customers...."
One girl reportedly spent more than $2,600 on the "Tap Pet Hotel" application using her mother's card, according to FTC documents.
The FTC expects Apple to inform all customers of the reimbursement opportunity and instruct customers on how to get refunds. Changes to company policy must occur by March 31 and any of the $32.5 million not used to reimburse customers will be remitted to the FTC.
"This settlement is a victory for customers harmed by Apple's unfair billing," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. "You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize."
Cook, of Apple, said the company was prepared to make changes prior to the commission's involvement. "The consent decree the FTC proposed does not require us to do anything we weren't already going to do," he said.
-- Mickey Shuey is a senior at the University of Dayton