Amazon Could Owe Parents More Than $70M

Company reaches deal with FTC over in-app purchases
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2017 3:58 AM CDT
Amazon Agrees to Refund Kids' In-App Purchases
Do you know what your child is ordering on the Kindle?   (AP Photo/Amazon)

If your child racked up purchases in the Amazon Appstore without your permission between 2011 and 2016, the company might owe you some money. The Federal Trade Commission and Amazon settled on a deal Tuesday in which the company will refund parents whose children made in-app purchases without their consent, NBC News reports. As part of the agreement, Amazon will drop its appeal against a court ruling that found it hadn't done enough to make sure parents gave their permission for purchases made in apps like freemium games. The FTC has already reached similar settlements with Apple and Google for failing to provide enough parental control over such purchases, USA Today reports.

"This case demonstrates what should be a bedrock principle for all companies—you must get customers' consent before you charge them," said Thomas Pahl, chief of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. When Amazon first launched its Appstore, it didn't require passwords for the in-app purchases that feature in many games designed for children. In what TechCrunch calls a "particularly awful example," the Ice Age Village game offered a $99.99 in-app purchase. The FTC says refunds are possible for more than $70 million in in-app purchases made between November 2011 and May 2016. It says more details on the refund program will be announced soon. (This 6-year-old spent $250 online after using her sleeping mom's thumb to unlock the Amazon app.)

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