Amazon to refund parents US$70M for kids' unauthorized purchases
This image provided by Amazon shows a subscription service for children’s games, videos and books on its Kindle Fire tablet devices. (AP Photo/Amazon)
Published Thursday, April 6, 2017 2:54PM EDT
Amazon has agreed to grant refunds to the parents whose children made in-app purchases without consent, in a move expected to see the online retailer pay out millions of dollars.
Amazon agreed this week to refund unauthorized purchases made through its app, after reaching an agreement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that saw both sides withdraw their appeals in a related lawsuit.
A federal district court originally found against Amazon in the case last April, on the grounds that it was too easy for children to accrue charges through games connected to the Amazon Appstore. Such purchases did not require users to enter a password to confirm.
Amazon is now poised to pay out more than US$70 million for in-app charges accrued between Nov. 2011 and May 2016. Details of the refund program are expected to be announced shortly.
It's unclear whether refunds will be offered to Canadian customers on the same grounds.
According to Amazon.ca, all purchases made through the Amazon Appstore are "not returnable." The company's help page recommends setting parental controls to restrict access to the Kindle store, Amazon Appstore, Digital Music Store and Amazon Instant Video Store.
Amazon has increased its in-app security in recent months. However, that didn't stop a young American girl from racking up US$250 worth of Pokemon-related purchases last Christmas. The six-year-old used her sleeping mother's fingerprint to authorize the purchases.