Amazon has been ordered to refund parents in the US whose children made in-app purchases, either accidentally or without consent, between 2011 and 2014.
While there now tend to be better (not foolproof) safeguards in place to protect against kids buying expensive in-app items on their parent’s linked credit card, this wasn’t always the situation and it was a lesson that lots of parents learned the hard way.
The case brought against Amazon in the US by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) levelled part of the blame for unauthorised purchases on Kindle and Android devices on changes to the payment flow in November 2011, which allowed in-app purchases but didn’t require the user to enter a password.
According to the BBC, refunds will start being processed in January next year, but judge John Coughenour stopped short of ordering a lump sum payment of $25.6 million, as had been requested, as the amount was too large. Instead, Amazon has 12 months to process all the refunds.
Amazon’s by no means alone in attracting fines following action by the FTC. In January 2014, Apple agreed to repay at least $32.5 million of in-app purchases, which was followed by Google settling its own case for $19 million in September the same year.
With expensive lessons now learned all round and the actions started nearly three years ago now settled, horror stories of expensive in-app purchases racking up should now be behind us. Just remember to enable the requirement to enter a password for each purchase before you hand your phone to the kids.
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Have you ever had problems with unauthorised in-app purchases? Let us know in the comments below!