The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued online retailer Amazon Thursday, July 10, over children’s in-app purchases on Kindle Fire and other devices.
According to USA Today, the FTC filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, charging that Amazon intentionally let children make unauthorized purchases within apps that added up to millions of dollars on mobile devices without parental consent. The in-app purchases, usually items that are offered within mobile games that enhance a game or help users to advance levels, ranged from 99 cents to $99 per consumer.
Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s consumer protection bureau, said parents kept unwillingly receiving these bills costing hundreds of dollars.
“We are seeking this money back for consumers as well as an order preventing the company from billing consumers without their permission in the future,” Rich said.
The Washington Post reported that the FTC said there are no password requirements to prevent children from buying virtual items in the apps. It said Amazon violated the FTC act by charging parents for their children’s purchases without permission.
“Amazon’s in-app system allowed children to incur unlimited charges on their parents’ accounts without permission,” Edith Ramirez, FTC chairwoman, said. “Even Amazon’s own employees recognized the serious problem its process created.”
An Amazon spokeswoman said the lawsuit was “deeply disappointing,” and the retailer has improved its app store process since it was launched in 2011.