Amazon must refund $70 million of children’s ‘accidental’ purchases on parent's accounts

'This case demonstrates what should be a bedrock principle for all companies — you must get customers’ consent before you charge them'

Aatif Sulleyman
Wednesday 05 April 2017 10:46
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Amazon had offered to refund users with gift cards, but the proposal was rejected
Amazon had offered to refund users with gift cards, but the proposal was rejected

Amazon has agreed to refund $70 million worth of in-app purchases made by children without their parents’ knowledge or authorisation.

The company was taken to court by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) back in 2014 for failing to clearly inform parents that apps that are free to download from its app store can still allow in-app purchases.

A US federal judge ruled in the FTC’s favour, and Amazon appealed the decision last year.

The firm was found to have failed to provide enough protective measures to prevent Amazon device users from unwittingly spending money.

Amazon has now dropped its appeal, and the process of refunding affected customers will begin soon.

“This case demonstrates what should be a bedrock principle for all companies — you must get customers’ consent before you charge them,” said Thomas B. Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Back in November, Amazon offered to refund the purchases with gift cards, but its proposal was rejected.

“More than $70 million in in-app charges made between November 2011 and May 2016 may be eligible for refunds,” said the FTC.

“Details on the refund program, which Amazon will operate, will be announced shortly.”

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