The FTC is reportedly wrestling with Amazon about their implementation of in-app purchases on Kindle devices. The FTC claims that Amazon hasn't been providing sufficient warning about IAPs, particularly when it comes to kids making the purchases. Meanwhile, Amazon is defending itself by saying they promptly offer refunds when complaints about undue purchases are made, and have improved the way they warn users about in-app purchases.

If things don't go Amazon's way, they could face a lawsuit that produces fines, requirements for additional record-keeping, and additional disclosures for the next 20 years. The FTC wants Amazon to require a password for every in-app purchase and simplify the refunding process. The FTC has apparently received thousands of complaints from parents about their kids misspending through Amazon in-app purchases. Apple found themselves in a similar situation within recent memory, and ended up having to pay up $32 million.

How do you guys feel about how Amazon handles IAPs? Do they provide enough warnings? Are they secure enough that you could hand off a Kindle device to a kid without worrying they'll rack up in-game gems on your bill?

Source: WSJ


Reader comments

Amazon facing FTC complaints about kids making in-app purchases


I know. Parents don't even teach their children about capitalization or sentence structure anymore.

Anymore? They never did. You're under the impression that it was any better xxxx many years ago, it was not, it's just today way more communication is written out. Ohh, and this is a forum for phone dorks, not unemployed English majors.

Your dumb if this makes you mad.

When i stopped using amazon it was when they required a one click purchase setting to get certain fetures. I hope this forces them to remove it. They are set up for these types of issues to happen and im sure they make alot of money off people who just pay. These people just need to stop using amazon services. I dont miss them one bit. There are plenty of better options out there

Posted via Android Central App

Well I'm an adult and I use the 1 click purchase all the time and I like it. You still have to confirm the purchase. So Amazon needs to remove a convenient feature because of a few parents can't watch their children or learn how to set up passwords?

Posted via Android Central App

No, parents can't set a password for in app purchases, but you can disable in app purchases completely with parental controls. I disabled all purchases on my kids' Kindles using Amazon's decent (but short of great) FreeTime app.

Unfortunately, outside of the parental controls there is no way to disable or require password authentication for purchases. When setting up the Kindles I was required to tie the Kindles to my Amazon account and enable 1-click (this was a requirement, I wouldn't have done it otherwise).

If you want to loan your Kindle to an adult guest in your home, the only way to prevent them from purchasing something is to enable the same parental controls you would use on your 3 year old.

I like Amazon, but I am glad this behavior is being challenged. Hoping it will result in similar control that we have on our ipad (requiring password for all purchases).

Posted via Android Central App

Often people who are familiar with technology over-estimate how easy it is for less tech-savvy people to accomplish technical tasks.

My six-year-old son has had his own Nexus 7 for the last year and a half. He has both the Play and Amazon stores installed with my account signed in. He has never made a purchase in either store. That's because I've set restrictions to require a password for purchases. I'm also an IT professional who has been using technology extensively for thirty years. The average person is much less technically capable. The interface to control these permissions needs to be dead-simple.

This has less to do with helping the consumer and more to do with just fining a huge company. My guess is Apple was first because they refuse to pay for lobbyists, and this is just a thug shakedown. In fact, thinking about it, t here was an article a while ago saying congress was pissed about the lack of tech lobbying money, and something needed done.

Your dumb if this makes you mad.

Wow so many blaming the parents. In the end kids will be kids and even with password protection these things can happen.

Unfortunately by the time a parent does notice its usually to late for a refund.

Exactly. Unfortunately, an elitist attitude pervades these boards while empathy is at an all-time low. The same folks that will whine incessantly because an app doesn't have a dark theme call parents whiners for not gleefully embracing a fleecing by companies that clearly should know better.

In this day and age, it's the kids teaching the parents.

But I also understand that people have a lot on their plate and also choose not to learn technology because they just don't have the time and interest to do so as well, unlike their children who have the time to learn it.

The problem is, the kids are more tech savvy than the parents, most of these parents would have no clue how to set up a password.
Posted via Android Central App

Trying to stay away from the pessimism, there should be some sort of password interface before purchases.

Posted via Android Central App

Why is it always the individual should take responsibility for what goes on in their lives but shouldn't it also be demanded for corporations. Just like Tmobile is being charged with allowing these add ons that they make money off of. Can you imagine the money they make off just the interest on that monthly fee so what if they have to refund it later they've already brought in millions just in interest.

Posted via Android Central App

This can all be prevented, if there was a screen when you set up your device, that asks you if you have kids.

If so, the device will ask if you would like to disable IAPs on that device when you set it up.

It's not rocket science.

That and of course, better parenting.

Sometimes its the kids setting these things up for the first time.

When you don't have kids its very easy to judge from the outside .

How about you just don't give your kids your damn smartphone? If you MUST hand your kid a piece of electronic equipment to distract them, give them a fake phone or a Nabi tablet. That's what those things are MA DE for, come on!

Boom! From My S5

The parents set this up. Now they hand the device to their 3-20 year old. The kids make purchases. Parents are responsible and need to be held accountable. Of course, we also have liars that want out of payment for anything, and I'm sure that's part of the issue too.

I put a password on purchases and use Kindle time for the grandkids. Stops in app purchasing. Easy to set up and use. App store shows whether an app has in app purchases. I do not think Amazon should be punished for the lack of initiative or knowledge on their customers part. The tools to learn are readily available

Posted via Android Central App

My children have made in app purchases in the past. I contacted amazon and they promptly refunded the purchase and politely explained how to turn on parental controls. I was one those that underestimated how simple it can be to make a purchase and assumed my children would ask me the moment the pop up would come up.

Whether or not to require a password for purchases is already an option. To force people to not have a choice is ridiculous.

Amazon has gone as far as placing in every app capable of in app purchasing a note in the disclaimer telling you the app is capable of it and the means of disabling it.

Parental controls in amazon can be fine tuned pretty well to simply disallow purchasing without a password and allow all other activities.

I don't blame amazon one bit it's lazy parenting. And yes I too was lazy. I knew about the setting but was too lazy to set it. What I needed up doing was buying my kids their own kindles and set up the parental controls on their device. Now they don't go on to mine that has no controls cuz I am too lazy to type in a password for all my purchases.

Should it be the default where the user needs to turn it off. No, it should be part of the set up process. So the user is made aware of it. Let people know enabling it will protect against the accidental purchasing of in game items and other amazon content.

I do wish they would have a setting to allow the purchasing of free apps without password. My kids want every free app that is shown to them in their kindles, like all those freaking talking whatever apps. Though I would still probably keep it enabled on their devices it allows me to perform minor content filtering.

Posted via Android Central App