Amazon is now a part of the Federal Trade Commission’s investigations into technology corporations with mobile application marketplaces unlawfully billing parents for in-app-purchases. Both Apple and Google have been tangled in the allegations, with Apple settling earlier this year, and Apple telling the FTC to investigate Google. The FTC today announced it is filing a complaint against Amazon, saying that children have been able to buy goods and extras within apps without the consent of parents.
The Federal Trade Commision has filed suit against Amazon, alleging that the company illegally billed parents for “millions of dollars” in unauthorized in-app charges made by children through mobile devices. The FTC’s complaint, filed Thursday, asks the court to force Amazon to refund the money to those customers. In-app purchases typically involve virtual goods bought within an app, like extra coins or energy in a game, according to the FTC. Some bills totaled hundreds of dollars, and virtual goods costing as much as $99.99. When Amazon launched in-app purchases in late 2011, the store did not require password requirements for purchases, allowing kids to purchase items without restraint, the agency said in a press release. “Amazon’s in-app system allowed children to incur unlimited charges on their parents’ accounts without permission,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in the release. “Even Amazon’s own employees recognized the serious problem its process created. We are seeking refunds for affected parents and a court order to ensure that Amazon gets parents’ consent for in-app purchases.”