The United States Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit seeking a court order requiring Amazon to refund consumers for unauthorized charges from in-app payments made by kids without parents’ knowledge.
The suit alleges that Amazon billed parents and other account holders for millions of dollars in such charges, and wants to see Amazon banned from billing them for in-app charges made without their consent. Amazon itself keeps 30% of all in-app charges, it notes.
The FTC said in a statement, “Amazon offers many children’s apps in its appstore for download to mobile devices such as the Kindle Fire. In its complaint, the FTC alleges that Amazon violated the FTC Act by billing parents and other Amazon account holders for charges incurred by their children without the permission of the parent or other account holder. Amazon’s setup allowed children playing these kids’ games to spend unlimited amounts of money to pay for virtual items within the apps such as ‘coins,’ ‘stars,’ and ‘acorns’ without parental involvement.”
“Amazon’s in-app system allowed children to incur unlimited charges on their parents’ accounts without permission,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “Even Amazon’s own employees recognized the serious problem its process created. We are seeking refunds for affected parents and a court order to ensure that Amazon gets parents’ consent for in-app purchases.”
The complaint criticizes Amazon’s password system and its refund process, calling it “unclear and confusing”.
You can get a look at the suit here.
This is the FTC’s second case related to kids’ in-app purchases. It settled with Apple earlier this year.
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