Judge: Amazon Liable For Hidden In-App Charges

A federal judge has ruled on the side of the FTC in a case about Amazon charging customers for making in-app purchases.

These particular purchases were made in-app and were made when children were using their parents’ accounts, but according to the lawsuit, Amazon billed customers for in-app charges that weren’t technically authorized. This came after Amazon received complaints about surprise charges and claimed that Amazon was not transparent about such fees.

These apps, which were being used by children, appeared to be free, but that turned out to not be the case. The complaints claimed that Amazon failed to properly inform the customers about the in-app charges that came associated with using them.

“We are pleased the federal judge found Amazon liable for unfairly billing consumers for unauthorized in-app purchases by children,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “We look forward to making a case for full refunds to consumers as a result of Amazon’s actions.”

What the judge’s order means, on behalf of the FTC, is that Amazon will have to establish a monetary amount to consumers as part of what was described in a release as “unlawful practices.” That amount was not formally released. The order also grants a partial summary judgment requested by Amazon regarding injunctive relief requested by the FTC in the case.

The FTC first raised the issue with Amazon in July 2014. The FTC has reached similar settlements with Apple and Google over unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children. To date, this has resulted in consumer refunds of more than $50 million.


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