Amazon is refusing to comply with a request from the Federal Trade Commission to implement stricter controls that would prevent children from making in-app purchases. The FTC is demanding Amazon implement a “consent” model similar to the one Apple conceded to earlier this year, according to a letter Amazon to the FTC Tuesday. Amazon believes it already has implemented effective parental controls consistent with the model the FTC settled on with Apple, and it says it refunded customers who complained of children making in-app purchases without their permission. “In-app purchasing was and remains a new and rapidly evolving segment, and we have consistently improved the customer experience in response to data,” wrote Amazon’s lawyer Andrew DeVore in the letter.
Amazon.com Inc. is bucking a request from the Federal Trade Commission that it tighten its policies for purchases made by children while using mobile applications. In a letter to the FTC Tuesday, Amazon said it was prepared to “defend our approach in court,” rather than agree to fines and additional record keeping and disclosure requirements over the next 20 years, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. According to the documents, Amazon is facing a potential lawsuit by the FTC, which wants the Seattle retailer to accept terms similar to those that Apple Inc. agreed to earlier this year regarding so-called in-app purchases. “When customers told us their kids had made purchases they didn’t want, we refunded those purchases,” said Andrew DeVore, an Amazon associate general counsel, in the letter to the FTC. He said Amazon’s app store included “prominent notice of in-app purchasing, effective parental controls and real-time notice of every in-app purchase.” The FTC said Amazon would need to make the notices more prominent, require passwords for all in-app purchases and make refunds simpler and easier. The agency said it wasn’t until June that Amazon required consumers’ informed consent for all in-app purchases on its latest model devices.