Amazon hit with lawsuit from US regulator over unauthorised app downloads by kids

Lynsey Barber
Follow Lynsey
Amazon faces FTC lawsuit (Source: Getty)

The Federal Trade Commission is suing Amazon for allowing kids to make in-app purchases without parental consent resulting in millions of dollars of charges being incurred by parents.

The lawsuit is seeking to make Amazon refund the money and prevent the retailer from allowing any purchases without a password on its Kindle Fire devices.

Many of the costs were charged as a result of children playing games on their parents devices.

The complaint states: “Amazon offers thousands of apps through its mobile app store, including games that children are likely to play. In many instances, after installation, children can obtain virtual items within a game, many of which cost real money.”

The lawsuit comes despite a number of changes by Amazon to its in-app purchasing system since 2011, including introducing authorisation of payments over $20, however the FTC said the process was still not clear enough to consumers.

The technology company had previously resisted the FTC’s request for it to cahnge its in-app purchase policy. In a letter to the regulator at the beginning of the month it said "The commission's unwillingness to depart from the precedent it set with Apple despite our very different facts leaves us no choice but to defend our approach in court."

Apple settled a similar case with the FTC at the beginning of the year, refunding more than $32m in unauthorized charges to customers and changing its practices for in-app purchases.

Related articles