There’s a $70m windfall on the way for Amazon device owners

Amazon will soon begin issuing refunds to customers stung by children making unauthorized in-app purchases within freemium apps.

In April 2016, the retail giant was found guilty of illegally billing customers for more than $70m over a five year period, but appealed the decision.

The court ruled between 2011 and 2016 Amazon had failed to make it clear that free apps could still incur fees through in-app purchases.

Amazon has now dropped its appeal, with the Federal Trade Commission saying this “paves the way for affected consumers to seek refunds from the online retailer shortly.”

Amazon has already seen a request for the refunds to be issued via gift cards rejected, so it appears the affected customers will be refunded back to their initial payment method or via an old-fashioned cheque.

“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 of the Federal Trade Commission (via The Verge).  “Consumers affected by Amazon’s practices can now be compensated for charges they didn’t expect or authorize.”

The company could easily recover the $70m thanks to the latest feature added to its Twitch streaming service.

In an obvious addition to the service, viewers will be able to actually purchase the games during the broadcast they’re watching.

Have you paid a financial price for handing your tablet to the kids? Share your horror stories in the comments below.

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