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 it has begun notifying 37 million people who may be eligible for a refund from Fortnite maker Epic Games. The company in 2022to settle the government’s allegations that it used deceptive practices, including tricking people into buying things like costumes, dance moves and “loot boxes”.
Government officials also said Epic made it easy for children under 13 who played Fortnite to file 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 officials further alleged.
Now, $245 million of the 2022 settlement will go toward providing refunds to eligible consumers. According to the FTC, you can 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 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
How to file a Fortnite claim
To file a claim, use a claim number or your Epic Account ID.
Your claim number is included in an email sent by the FTC, which said it began sending millions of emails to Fortnite players on September 19 and plans to continue sending emails for a month.
Consumers have until 17 January 2024 to file a claim. Anyone with questions can call the FTC at (888) 915-0880 or email at email@example.com.
How much do you get?
The refund amount per person is not yet known, as the FTC said the amount of compensation will depend on several factors, including how many people file a claim.
After settling the case in December, Epic promised to implement additional measures to prevent accidental purchases. In an updated statement Tuesday, it directed people to the FTC’s site.
“The video game industry is a place of rapid innovation, where player expectations are high and new ideas are paramount,” the company said last year. “Statutes written decades ago do not 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.”
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.