Internet Law

Judge says Amazon must refund parents for in-app purchases made by children

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A federal judge on Tuesday agreed with the Federal Trade Commission that Inc. didn’t do enough to disclose to parents that children could potentially make in-app purchases while playing “free” games such as Pet Shop Story on electronic devices.

So, granting a summary judgment sought by the FTC, U.S. District Judge John Coughenour said Amazon will have to reimburse consumers for unauthorized charges, reports the Washington Post (reg. req.).

“The court determines that the scope of Amazon’s unfair billing practices pertains to all in-app charges made by account users without express, informed authorization,” he says in his written opinion (PDF) in the Seattle case, part of which is redacted.

The exact amount Amazon must pay has not been determined, and the judge called for further briefing on this issue.

However, because Amazon has already improved many of its practices, the judge declined at this time to issue injunctive relief sought by the FTC.

Apple and Google earlier settled similar investigations by the FTC, agreeing to reimburse consumers $32 million and $19 million, respectively, the newspaper reports.

Related coverage: “FTC sues Amazon, says it let kids make in-app purchases that ran up big bills for parents”

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