After being hit by a penalty, Epic Games will refund its player base $245 million for accidental purchases made in the in-game store.
On December 2022, the Federal Trade Commission imposed a $520 million fine against Epic Games—the creator of the most famous battle royale, Fortnite. Of this, almost half of the amount ($245 million, to be exact) is slated to go to customers Epic essentially tricked into making purchases they had no intention of making. This is the biggest penalty the FTC has given due to the developer violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act—COPPA, for short. If you think your Fortnite account is eligible for a refund, let’s look at the Federal Trade Commission’s website and find out.
Who Are Eligible for A Refund?
According to FTC, there are three main categories of eligibility. The refunds will be made available to the following:
- Parents with kids who made unauthorized purchases in the Epic Games store between January 2017 and November 2018. If you have children that regularly buy from the Fortnite Item Shop but they’ve already done so past that timeline, you’re unfortunately not eligible.
- Players who were charged V-Bucks—Fortnite’s official premium currency—for in-game items that were unwanted. These can range from Battle Passes and llamas to cosmetics. Only those qualified for this should have the purchases made between January 2017 and September 2022.
- Players who were locked out of their accounts between January 2017 and September 2022 for disputing unauthorized charges to their respective credit card companies.
Why Are Players Being Refunded?
If you’ve played Fortnite over the past few years, you’ll know where the complaints come from. It’s relatively easy to make accidental in-game purchases in Fortnite. Moreover, the process for undoing them isn’t exactly a walk in the park either. Epic’s customer service regarding refunding their players is lengthy, with many complaints being swept under the rug after a few months.
The fact that there wasn’t a system that required credit card holders and parents to consent to these in-game purchases is ludicrous. While Epic Games did agree with FTC’s settlement and that it made mistakes, they also pointed fingers at the outdated laws for video games, which is funny because they used those laws to their advantage in the first place.
How Do I Get My Refund?
Settle down there, bud. The FTC states that if you think you’re eligible for a refund, you don’t need to do anything for now. Based on what we’ve read on the FTC’s website, they’ll post updates and send e-mail notices to the customers who paid for in-game purchases when they have more information about the refund program. According to NPR (National Public Radio), a nonprofit American organization, it’ll be challenging to identify those affected by the issues with Fortnite. James Doty, an attorney working for FTC, said to NPR that the process is a tad complicated since they’re dealing with a player base with more than 400 million users around the globe. It’s safe to say it’ll be a while before you get your money back.
But What If I Want A Refund Now?
The FTC stated they’ll reach all customers who have paid for in-game items in Fortnite through email as soon as they have more details about the program. But what if you want to get a refund for what you recently bought?
If that’s the case, you should know how to refund Fortnite skins using the Return Tickets. That way, you can get a limited amount of your V-Bucks back outside the current settlement that Epic Games is tackling. Epic Games gives each Fortnite account three Return Tickets to refund your V-Bucks and return a purchase.
Here’s how you can use them to exchange items that you bought from the Epic Games store:
- Open the game.
- Go to the primary menu from the lobby.
- Click the “Preferences gear” button.
- Select the “request for help or a refund” option from the menu.
- Select “Go Back to Shop” or “Cancel Order”; alternative, you can also choose “Options” from the menu.
- Access your Account and Privacy options.
- Once you’re on your Account page, select “Cancel Purchase” or “Return.” Note that a full inventory will appear on your screen if you’re made in-game purchases during the last 30 days.
- Upon using the drop-down menu, pick the item/cosmetic you wish to get a refund. Then, click the “Return Ticket” option.
- You’ll be greeted with a confirmation screen; use this time to inspect the items you will return before you accept.
- If you want to continue, click “Yes”.
- Epic will add the V-Bucks you initially spent for the said cosmetic to your account.
Use the Return Tickets wisely, as you only get three per year. Once you run out, you’ll have to wait another year for Epic to “refresh” your Fortnite account.