Nearly two per cent of the 1,000 highest grossing apps on Apple’s App Store are scams, new analysis has found.
The offending apps have conned customers out of an estimated $48 million (£34 million), according to market research firm Appfigures, and Apple profits from them because it takes up to 30 per cent commission on App Store transactions.
Last month the US tech giant revealed it had rejected or removed more than one million malicious apps from its App Store and stopped more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2020.
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Scamming apps: The 18 apps listed above have tricked Apple customers out of almost $30 million (£21m), according to market research firm Appfigures
Apple’s £1.5 billion legal battle: What is the claim and why is it being brought?
Apple is facing a £1.5 billion legal battle over accusations it has ‘overcharged’ millions of UK customers for apps in its App Store.
The claim applies to the most popular apps on iPhones and iPads, such as Fortnite, YouTube and Tinder, which require payment at point of download, subscription payments, or allow for in-app purchases.
It does not apply to apps providing ‘physical goods or services that will be consumed outside of the app’.
These include Deliveroo and Uber, which are not required to use Apple’s payments system or pay Apple the disputed 30 per cent commission.
Affected app purchasers, on whose behalf the class action is brought, will not pay costs or fees to participate in the action, funded by Vannin Capital.
The action has been brought by Dr Rachael Kent, an expert in digital economy and a lecturer at King’s College, London who specialises in consumer welfare issues relating to smart mobile technology.
At King’s College, her research focuses on how consumers use apps and digital platforms, and the impact apps have on choice, spending and other aspects of consumers’ everyday lives.
Dr Kent is represented by Hausfeld & Co LLP, and Mark Hoskins QC, Jennifer MacLeod and Aaron Khan of Brick Court and Ronit Kreisberger QC of Monckton Chambers.
Dr Kent has also been advised on the claim by a consultative group with expertise and experience in group claims management, digital markets and consumer rights matters.
This group consists of Dame Elizabeth Gloster, formerly a judge in the Court of Appeal; James Walker, an adviser to the Scottish government on consumer protection and founder of Resolver, which helps customers resolve complaints with companies; and Kevin Jenkins, former CEO of Visa UK.
But the latest analysis, carried out by The Washington Post, suggests that scammers are still a major problem.
Several apps were found to be falsely presenting themselves, claiming to be linked to major brands such as Amazon and Samsung, while ‘fleeceware’ apps are also rife.
These use fake customer reviews to artificially inflate their App Store rankings and trick consumers into paying higher prices for a service which is usually offered free or cheaper elsewhere by an app lower in the rankings but with more legitimate customer reviews.
One QR code reader app, which is still on the App Store, cons customers into paying $4.99 a week for a service included in the iPhone camera app, according to the analysis.
A spokesman for Apple said: ‘We hold developers to high standards to keep the App Store a safe and trusted place for customers to download software, and we will always take action against apps that pose a harm to users.
‘Apple leads the industry with practices that put the safety of our customers first, and we’ll continue learning, evolving our practices and investing the necessary resources to make sure customers are presented with the very best experience.’
Unlike other mobile operating systems, the App Store has no competition…