Lawsuit against Amazon could result in refunds for purchases made by kids


Amazon Prime is about to be$20 more expensive. Credit: Getty Images
You could be getting a refund for unauthorized purchases your kids made on Amazon. Credit: Getty Images faces a lawsuit filed Thursday by the U.S. government over allowing children to rack up millions of dollars in charges related to mobile apps without getting permission from their parents, who are then stuck with the bills.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission asked the court in a lawsuit filed against the online retailer on Thursday to refund the money spent without parental authorization and to end the practice of allowing unlimited purchases without requiring a password or other mechanism to give parents control over their accounts.

The unauthorized charges are generally associated with children’s apps, such as games, which can be free to download but allow players to buy “coins” or other digital products with the credit card associated with the device, the FTC said in its complaint.

The FTC said in its complaint that Amazon responded to complaints about unauthorized charges by requiring passwords to be used for large purchases starting in 2012. That was extended to all purchases in early 2013 but once a password has been punched into the device, a purchase window remained open for up to an hour, meaning that further charges can be made without the parents’ knowledge, the complaint said.

The FTC settled a similar case with Apple Inc. in January. Apple agreed to refund consumers at least $32.5 million in unauthorized charges made by children and agreed to change its billing practices to require consent from parents before charging for such in-app spending.

Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.



Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.


Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.


Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…


NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…


10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."


Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…


Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…


Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.


3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.


Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.


College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU


Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.


5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…


Are you a narcissist? We look at the…

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…


Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…


Sarah Doukas on social media, models and diversity

The maker of Kate Moss tells Metro how social media can drive the diversity change in the fashion industry.