Judge wants Amazon to refund unauthorized in-app purchases made by children

Judge wants Amazon to refund unauthorized in-app purchases made by children
Back in July 2014, the FTC sued Amazon claiming that the company had allowed children to make in-app purchases without the consent of their parents. This past April, a judge ruled that Amazon did not warn or safeguard Appstore users about unauthorized in-app charges made by these minors using freemium apps. On Thursday, a federal judge ordered Amazon to set up a process that over a year would help reimburse parents for these charges.

When the FTC brought its original suit against Amazon in 2014, the government agency said that Amazon didn't prevent kids from running up $86 million of unauthorized charges while playing games like "Pet Shop Story" and "Ice Age Village." Amazon has since added protection to prevent users from getting hit by unauthorized charges.

The court's ruling requires Amazon to start notifying parents early in 2017 that they are eligible for a refund. The court did shoot down a request by a U.S. regulatory agency for Amazon to settle the charges with a $26.5 million lump sum payment. U.S. District Judge John Coughenour, who is overseeing the case from the bench, agreed with Amazon and said that the $26.5 million was too high a figure. On the other hand, the judge shot down a request by Amazon to pay the refunds in the form of gift cards. He said that if allowed, Amazon would "undoubtedly recapture some of the profits that are at issue."

source: Reuters

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6 Comments

1. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Amazon wants to pay off the fine in the form of gift cards, knowing that it'll turn out some profits for them... Yay, greediness at it's best! Glad to know the judge denied that. They've gotta pay up in ca$h, no gift card shenanigan!

3. LilJokr unregistered

Amazon shouldn't be at fault in the first place, so they should be able to. Blame the careless parents instead.

5. AlikMalix unregistered

I'm a father of two little ones, and I agree. I have no issues controlling what my kids have access to on iPad, iPhone, or PC. My daughter can't even download or buy AIP without me allowing it from my own device first. This all comes to good vs bad paranting or just plain negligence of those parents. +1 for having common sense.

6. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Fyi, Amazon does not require you to input your password to purchase crap from them once your account is signed in to a device. Kids can purchase crap including in-app purchases using your credit cards on file with them with a push of a button. Amazon designed it that way, hoping this would happen. Their Amazon Prime streaming service is a joke, you can't watch half of what they offer without having to pay for it, and you have to manually set your account to require a password to purchase digital movies, because it is set to not require a password by default.

2. KennyKB

Posts: 11; Member since: Jan 31, 2015

Could be worse. Amazon could have proposed DISCOUNT CARDS where you have to spend money to get the discount.

4. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

This is BS. I don't agree with the Judge. This is like saying, your alarm company is on the hook for your house being broken into, because you didn't set the alarm before you left out At what point are the parents going to be responsible. All these sites and devices, have mechanisms in place to prevent a child from making purchases. If the parent is to stupid to use them, then if they end up getting charged, so sad too bad. If I was Amazon, I'd tell the Judge, screw you, we aren't paying anything and if you try some BS, you will answer to us. You don't need a lawyer for this one. It simple. show them the parental control. show them the number parents can call to help setup the parental controls. If that isn't enough, I'd just walk out the courtroom.

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