Amazon to refund parents over kids' in-app purchases, says FTC

More than $70 million in in-app purchases may be eligible for a refund, according to the FTC

Parents with children that ran up bills, sometimes huge, through in-app purchases stand to get some or all of that money back. Amazon could have to hand out more than $70 million in refunds to affected consumers, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

On Tuesday, both the FTC and Amazon agreed to end their legal battle over whether the U.S. company unlawfully charged its customer for the purchases.

A year ago, a court found that Amazon had.

The company's app store can be downloaded to Android devices and it runs on certain Kindle tablets. However, parents had complained that Amazon’s system had made it all too easy for their children to buy virtual items in the apps, without their consent.

Both the FTC and Amazon had filed appeals related to the case, but on Tuesday, they dropped them. That opens the way for the refund process to begin shortly, according to the FTC.  

Over $70 million in in-app charges made from 2011 to 2016 may be eligible for refunds, the U.S. regulator said.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, so it’s unclear how the company will reimburse its customers. Amazon had taken a 30 percent cut from the in-app purchases, according to the FTC.  

Back in 2014, both Apple and Google also settled similar cases over in-app purchases with the FTC, which resulted in a combined $51 million in refunds to customers.

In Apple’s case, the company emailed and sent postcards to every customer who might have been affected. Apple eventually received 37,000 claims, and made refunds to them all.   

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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