FTC going after Amazon for in-app purchases made by kids

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing Amazon over unauthorized in-app purchases. The lawsuit seeks a court order that would require Amazon to refund the parents whose children purchased in-app items without permission from the account holder. This situation is similar to the one that Apple found itself if last year, which they eventually settled earlier this year.

The FTC complaint addresses a number of issues. The commission says that Amazon left account holders open to unauthorized charges at the Appstore's launch in 2011. Though this policy was updated in March 2012 with the addition of a password requirement, a password was only required for purchases of $20 or more. Additionally, the FTC complaint says kids games often encourage children to get in-game items, sometimes by spending real money.

What do you think of the FTC's lawsuit against Amazon? Sound off below in the comments.

Source: Federal Trade Commission

 
There are 36 comments

So why isn't it the parents fault? My son and daughter's tablets are locked down... You know, cause they're kids...

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marioduenaz says:

Agreed!

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NickLippert says:

Whoa, that's child abuse. Knock it off.

LeroyRJR says:

+100000000

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Warrenisit says:

Because people want the government to raise their kids instead of being responsible parents. That goes for the entirety of government.

yankeesusa says:

It is to a certain degree, but even after you pay for an app they make it really easy for in app purchases without any warnings. Even after I put a pin lock and selected not to allow in app purchases some apps still allow it. Don't know how that's parents fault.

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Lock the app. Plain and simple. My kids can't even access the play store or Amazon.

It's a device that has the ability to expose them to adult things and paid apps. Lock them down. Problem solved.

It's really not that hard to protect your interest (read kids).

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Warrenisit says:

You mean you take responsibility for your children? Gasp! Only complete fuckin idiots want government to help them keep their kids in order. Fools

Mariusz Ty says:

Because if I am buying an app, phone, or a book, etc. I don't expect it to have permanent authorization to my bank / credit card account to charge me. Every transaction should be confirmed with some form of authentication before the charge occurs.

Having said that, parents should lock down their phones / tables for unauthorized user (like kids). But the problem with that is the companies constantly make it more difficult to do so with new clever ideas.

Here is another example which happened to me:
I wanted to buy an item on amazon website, so I clicked in "buy now" or something like that thinking it will be added to my cart. But the next screen only stated "thank you for your purchase" ---- what the hell?

No authentication, no questions for credit card, or any other form of confirmation whatsoever.

Abionic says:

How do they know the purchase was made by a kid? Is there a kid sensor built into the Kindles? Are they going to call millions of parents and question them?

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Via HTC One

Gyroscopic memory... Cause y'know, kids.

vansmack says:

It's not clear whether Amazon resisted the fine amount or the other terms of the settlement offer, but Amazon clearly wanted this lawsuit after they rejected the settlement.

Interesting positions being taken out of Seattle these days...

I thought kids were perfect. It was Apple and Amazon tricking them.

Parents need to take responsibility for their kids instead of depending on others doing it for them.

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Hiberny says:

I do agree about responsibilities. However, many of these apps are designed to entice kids to buy. When my kids are old enough to use a tablet I'd like it if apps didn't resemble drug pushers giving the first hit for free.

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LeroyRJR says:

All the apps are made to entice people to spend money not just the children's games,, this is just bad parenting+ not taking responsibility for bad judgment

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Hiberny says:

In give you that :).

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grydlok says:

No it's combination, my son made a Amazon app purchase for Mine craft on Amazon. I had password protect on my account but the apps store and the web store protection where not the same.
My fault for not noticing that if you are signed into the app store on the tablet anyone could make a purchase.

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vansmack says:

Right, except:

Originally, there was no option for a password for in app purchases. Parents asked Amazon to add it.
Then in 2012, it was changed to only passwords required for purchases over $20. Still not enough.
Then in 2013 it was changed to password required for all purchases, but that it worked for 15 minutes before it had to be put in again.

Parents complained to Amazon to fix it again and replaces the charges. Amazon claims to have fixed the charges, but won't budge on the 15 minute timeframe, so parents complained to the FTC. The FTC offered to settle with Amazon, Amazon didn't like the terms and the FTC sued.

Amazon wants this fight for whatever reason....

faceless says:

the reason is obvious. 15 minutes * amount of parents that won't dispute the charges = profit.

vansmack says:

Exactly.

grydlok says:

Agree,

Amazon made it hard to block in-app purchases and app purchases when it launched.

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GANote3 says:

And that is why my kids do not have amazon the their email devices. Since I wouldn't be buying anything from Amazon apps for the kiddos anyway, then amazon doesn't care that they don't have the app store on their devices. And my kids have never been exposed to the Amazon app store so they don't know they don't have it. The open 15 minutes is crap and hopefully amazon loses bad in that case.

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Because the irresponsible parents aren't to blame here...

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Sunofabob says:

I'm tired of the government supporting the actions of idiots. If you're smart enough to buy a device be smart enough to password protect that same device. Lastly, don't give your child the effing account password. To buy anything on my devices you have to enter the account password. Idiots!

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Sunofabob says:

Update * I looked on the FTC website and I feel that Amazon is filled with greedy snakes. They should no better than that and the actions they took to allow this to happen are unforgivable.

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Lazy parents...

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yankeesusa says:

Ok. Thank you for your amazing input. I feel smarter already.

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deeb215 says:

It ain't easy being sleazy. Devs and these companies need to stop their underhanded practices to entice kids. I don't even allow my kid to download free apps without me monitoring. TabTale I'm pointing right at you! At this point there needs to be a "Kid mode" available on all of these devices like Samsung did with the GS5.

This is wrong. Don't go after the companies that own the app stores, the patents are stupid for letting kids play in attended and for not activating a pin for making purchases. There's something wrong with FTC

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Amazon refunds straight away if you contact them. I never had any issues with my son anyway I have explained him. This is called education.

FishenFool says:

You could always let your children know that if they make purchases they didn't get permission for that their device gets taken away. Then stick to it no matter how much they whine and plead until they earn the privilege (note I said privilege and not right). This is called teaching responsibility.

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jeddo45 says:

Now why do you have to bring common sense in? Come on! Screaming in court to get your money back is better, right?

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eibbed0001 says:

I don't know how it is lately but several years ago I had an issue with that. My child didn't know that she was spending real money - she thought it was pretend game money. She knew not to purchase apps from the store, but had no idea that what you buy when playing in the app cost real money - the item was virtual, but the payment is not. That was my first time learning that in-app purchases even existed. I'm not a novice phone user but I don't play many games so had not encountered in-app purchases before. I learned something that day.

Doesn't the FTC have anything better to do? It's the <i>parents'</i> job to police their children. Sheesh.

thaphoenix2 says:

Working in customer service for a cell phone company, I see these in app purchases all the time. Needless to say I have everything my daughter has access to locked down, blocked, hidden or whatever the case may be to prevent this. I honestly feel, first time it happens give the credit, happen again, it's your fault for not preventing it after you know it can happen.

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troshs says:

I guess the smoothest way is to let stupid parents be stupid parents....this is f**ing ridiculous. It should be their fault. Maybe instead of handing their kids a screen to look at instead of actually spending time with them is actually better idea (note the sarcasm here).

Boom! From My S5