FTC sues Amazon over in-app purchases

FTC sues Amazon over in-app purchases
The FTC has initiated a lawsuit against Amazon, claiming that the latter had received millions of dollars by allowing children to make in-app purchases without parental approval. Earlier this year, Apple had to refund $32.5 million to parents whose children made in-app purchases totaling that amount, without the permission of their mom or dad.

In Amazon's case, the apps were purchased using an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. The FTC is also claiming that when Amazon started allowing in-app purchases back in 2012, it failed to require the use of a password to prevent kids from racking up large dollar amounts of in-app purchases. Amazon sent a letter to the commission earlier, in which it defended its record by saying that it uses "effective" parental controls and that real-time notices are sent with each transaction.

The FTC noted Amazon's policy that all in-app purchases are "final and non-refundable." Still, the commission is demanding that Amazon refund all of the purchases made by children without parental approval. As an example, it cites the story of one child, who spent $350 on virtual items before her mom caught on. Amazon keeps 30% of the revenue generated by these purchases.

source: FTC via USAToday



1. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

First Apple, now Amazon, and then Google.

2. meanestgenius

Posts: 22098; Member since: May 28, 2014

I wouldn't be surprised if the FTC went after all the big boys, Microsoft and Google included. What seems to have me rather perplexed is: Where are the parents? How and why are they allowing their children to spend so much time on the tablets/phones of said parents without supervision? Do the parents pay any attention at all to when they get an email/alert about a purchase made with their electronics? Every time I purchase something from Amazon or another media source over the internet, I get an email/alert sent to me. Do the parents not read these? I have a child who is active on social media sites and she can't so much as fart on any one of them without my knowing so. I find it disturbing that these children are not supervised by the parents well enough.

6. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

If a child has their own tablet then there is no reason for there to even be a credit card registered on it...

11. meanestgenius

Posts: 22098; Member since: May 28, 2014

A child should not have their own tablet. Not until they're responsible enough to use it.

12. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Are you kidding?! A 2-3 year old kid can use a tablet to learn numbers, colors, sounds, to draw etc. There's nothing wrong with giving a kid access to a tablet.

13. meanestgenius

Posts: 22098; Member since: May 28, 2014

There is something VERY WRONG with giving a kid access to a tablet if: A: The child is going to use it unsupervised, especially if they are 2 or 3 years old. B: If the child is older, but lacks maturity. C: If the tablet has any stored financial information, such as a credit card. So to answer your question: NO, I'm not kidding.

15. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Ok, if you are not kidding, you are from another planet... I don't know about other tablets but a child can safely use an iPad without the fear of overcharging your bank account (and I don't mean it in a "apple vs google vs ms" kind of way, I'm sure there are plenty google or ms tablets that are safe for children).

16. meanestgenius

Posts: 22098; Member since: May 28, 2014

I'm from earth. Where are you from? A child can only use an iPad safely AFTER the parents have set up certain protocols, such as removing bank account info, password protected purchases, etc. Which is MY POINT ENTIRELY. Perhaps YOU just couldn't comprehend.

17. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

That might be true on your side of the planet; on our side, a child can't buy stuff unless he knows the iCloud password. So, one can have 10 credit cards attached to the iCloud account, none of them gets charged by one's child. The same goes for the iPhone: no one can make purchases unless they have a fingerprint set on the phone (or, offcource, they know the iCloud pass). People (including kids) are smarter than some of you think they are ;).

18. meanestgenius

Posts: 22098; Member since: May 28, 2014

Again, THIS IS MY POINT. But what if a parent was just on said iDevice? The child has up to 15 minutes to run up some charges before the password is asked for again. I'm not doubting the intelligence of any child or parent. I'm QUESTIONING the level of RESPONSIBILITY the parent has for the child when things like this occur. On MY SIDE of the planet, that's what RESPONSIBLE ADULTS DO. Don't know about your side...

19. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I believe you're overreacting... (do you even have kids?!) Every single purchase on my iPhone asks for my fingerprint, each and everyone.

20. meanestgenius

Posts: 22098; Member since: May 28, 2014

First: YES, I have a child. Second: Do you have children? Because I don't think you're reacting ENOUGH. Third: Those finger print scanners are so unreliable. But even with it asking for your fingerprint, "each and everyone" as you so eloquently put, it had to be SET UP that way, correct? To protect from unwanted purchases, CORRECT? THIS IS MY POINT. You keep proving my point for me, I keep telling you it's my point, and yet you STILL wish to debate the subject? Smh...

21. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

If you have used unreliable printer scanners, it is your problem; the finger scanners in iPhone is very reliable. Everything has to be configured on a device, even the... credit card and iCloud acccont. But once all these are set up, one can let the child play as long as one wants, having absolutely nothing to worry about.

22. meanestgenius

Posts: 22098; Member since: May 28, 2014

The finger scanner on the iPhone is NOT reliable. There have already been reports to attest to this. And if the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone isn't reliable, it's NOT my problem. It's APPLES problem, as they are the ones who must appease the customer, not me.

23. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Says who? You? :)) I have never have anyone using my finger scanner protected iPhone without my permission and I have 2 kids playing with it. I have never had charges made to my credit card set on my iCloud account simply because it's almost impossible to happen. Get over your "heard on the web" facts.

3. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

My question is when will parents accept responsibility for there kids actions? Both of my kids have iPads(benefits of winning contests at work). Neither of them know my iTunes password or ever will. If they want to purchase something they have to come to me. Society is turning into a place where you don't accept responsibility for anything.

4. TheEnemy

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 10, 2014

Correct if I'm wrong, but Apple had a 15 minute window after you entered your password that kids could continue to purchase without needing to reenter the password.

5. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011

Yes but people with brains take and kill the app. Lock the screen and unlock it. Then its gone from repurchase. All that takes about 10 secs. It just comes done to being responsible.

8. Zenzui

Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

Totally agree with your point. All my purchasing privilege had been locked by another app that is no way they can bypass it. I removed all credit card from any of these. Even 1-click buy is disabled on my Amazon app store. and Hence I put a lock on the Amazon app store as well on my android tablet.

7. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

If every parent was like you then there would be no issues like this. But unfortunately some parents are too lazy and irresponsible to do anything like that...

9. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

FTC quit bickering and picking. Stop giving B.S., patents too your favorite fruit

10. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

WTF does that have to do with anything? I think you should spend less time emitting written diarrhea, and spend more time ensuring you catch that short bus with your name on it.

14. SprinT4You

Posts: 8; Member since: May 11, 2010

I use the best app in Google Play Store to block any one from making unauthorized purchases, changes to my phone or prying eyes looking at my photos and texts or whatever the case may be. The app is called AppLock. You can block almost everything on your phone, your app store, settings, text messages, pics, and system u.i. and you can hide AppLock and put a password or pattern so no one can compromise it. Remember to write the password down or store it in a safe place. This password has nothing to do with your phones lock screen password. Just wanted to let you know. You can even password protect incoming calls and pics from jealous partners. I hope this helps. You can leave the things unlocked that you want friends or people that ask to use the phone to make a call.

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