Apple struck a deal with the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year when the latter went after it for its in-app billing practices. The Cupertino company was fined $32.5 million by the FTC which used the money to offer refunds to those who had been billed for in-app purchases their kids made without their knowledge or consent. The Commission now has Amazon in its sights, and its filing against the company demands similar refunds for parents who it claims were billed millions for in-app purchases.
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said that Amazon’s in-app system allowed kids to incur charges on their parents’ accounts without their knowledge or consent. She said that “even Amazon’s own employees recognized the serious problem its process created.”
The Commission is now seeking refunds for affected parents as well as a court order that binds Amazon to get parents’ consent before in-app purchases are billed. Amazon is believed to have known about this problem, FTC’s complaint highlights internal communications among the company’s employees who apparently said that the situation was a “near house on fire.”
Amazon did tweak its in-app billing practices last month aiming to put an end to unauthorized charges, the FTC’s end game here appears to be getting parents their money back. The company has not commented against the filing as yet so its unclear right now if it plans to fight or settle. FTC is also believed to be looking into the Google Play Store for similar practices.