Skip to main content

Amazon rejects FTC demands over in-app purchases, willing to take matter to court

Amazon has got itself into a spat with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the e-commerce giant’s policies concerning in-app purchases.

The situation has become so serious that Amazon says it’s prepared to go up against the FTC in court to defend its current practices, documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal have revealed. If it lost the legal battle, the company could be hit by large fines as well as an order to change company policies and procedures regarding such purchases.

The documents indicate the FTC wants Amazon to make it harder for children to make in-app purchases when visiting Amazon’s app store on a mobile device.

However, in a letter to the regulator, Amazon claims it already clearly indicates when in-app purchases are available and says it also offers a refund if a parent complains their child has made a purchase without their permission.

The FTC is demanding that Amazon introduce passwords for in-app purchases, and clearer notices indicating that such purchases are available. According to a Reuters report Wednesday, the FTC says parents requesting a refund face “significant hurdles to doing so,” and is demanding Amazon change its ways in light of the “thousands” of complaints made by parents regarding unauthorized in-app purchases.

Unless Amazon has a change of attitude and reaches a settlement with the FTC, the case is likely to end up in court with the Web giant having to convince a judge that its current procedures are adequate.

Sound familiar?

As you may recall, Apple found itself in a similar position with the trade commission at the start of the year. The Cupertino company agreed to refund customers to the tune of $32.5 million for in-app purchases made without parents’ consent. It also overhauled its billing practices and began indicating more clearly when in-app purchases were available.

In addition, Google recently made several changes to its Google Play store to make it harder for children to make in-app purchases without permission.

With Amazon on the verge of launching its first ever smartphone – a device, like the Kindle Fire tablets, offering easy access to Amazon’s app store – the FTC will be keen for the e-commerce company to comply with its demands sooner rather than later.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Best Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 deals: Get the foldable for free
YouTube Flex mode features on Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5.

While there are a lot of great foldable flip phones that you can grab, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is one of the best folding phones on the market right now. It has excellent performance, some of the best cameras on any Samsung device, and the overall build quality makes it feel luxurious. Of course, all this quality comes at quite a premium, and with a device that can cost over $1,000, depending on which model you want to grab, you'll want to snag a deal on it. That's why we've gone out and found some of our favorite deals out there, either as a direct discount or through trade-in deals for both locked and unlocked models of the phone.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 deals at Samsung

Go directly to the source by buying the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 from Samsung, and you can get up to $600 instant trade-in credit. It depends on what phone you're trading in but it's useful if you prefer to go direct.

Read more
I think I took a photo of a ghost with my smartphone
OuttaFocus Ghost Photo Promotional Image

I take thousands of photos each year, but to my knowledge, I’ve never taken a photo of a ghost before. That is, until now. I unwittingly captured a series of creepy images when out taking pictures with a new smartphone and they showed something so spooky, so unearthly, so bone-chillingly terrifying that I couldn’t believe my eyes.

But what actually was this anomaly? I wanted answers, and I knew the truth was out there.
How I captured it
Ghostly floating orb Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Read more
10 iPhone productivity apps you need to download right now
iPhone 14 Pro showing the Moon always-on screen, held in a man's hand.

If you're anything like us, your Apple iPhone is a beast with multiple uses. It can go from an email-firing machine to a dedicated Netflix device in seconds and then into playing video games just as fast. But just because it can do all of those things doesn't mean it couldn't stand a little fine-tuning when it comes to optimizing it for productivity.

"Productivity" can mean a lot of things, whether it's sending emails, making tweaks to documents and spreadsheets, or just planning for your day ahead. Whatever being productive means to you, there are apps that will make it easier. Here are 10 iPhone productivity apps you need to download today.
Todoist
The best to-do app

Read more