After going after Apple previously, the Federal Trade Commission has now filed a lawsuit against Amazon because of its policies that make unauthorized in-app purchases by children on their devices too easy. What’s more, the FTC says that online retail giant’s refund policy is too confusing, preventing parents from refunding the said purchases.
In a statement released by FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez , she said that they are looking for a court order against their in-app system which allows minors to “incur unlimited charges” without actually getting permission from their parents who own the account and the credit card. They are also looking for refunds for the parents who have been affected by something that “even Amazon’s own employees recognized the serious problem” it has generated.
There has been no response yet from Amazon regarding this, but they had earlier sent a letter to the FTC, defending their policies by saying that they have lawfully followed all their rules and have even gone beyond the requirements asked of them in the consent order given in the Apple case. They have also previously stated that the charges the FTC are bringing against them are unnecessary since they are now already requiring password input to complete in-app purchases. Amazon also says they are allowing refunds in cases where the purchases have been made without the knowledge and authority of the parents.
But the FTC claims that while Amazon did update their policy last March 2012, asking for password for purchases over $20, it was still easy for children to buy in-app for items below that amount. And they only changed the requirement for parental consent for in-app charges on several Amazon devices last month, when the FTC decided to pursue the lawsuit. Apple earlier this year settled out of court with the FTC, costing them almost $40 million in the process. Google will also reportedly be targeted by the commission after they have faced a class action lawsuit from parents just a few months ago. They have also since then revised their process for in-app buying to prevent unauthorized purchases on Android apps.