Amazon was sued by the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday, after the retailer refused to make changes to its in-app purchase policy.
This move by the FTC comes in response to thousands of complaints from parents upset by the hefty credit card bills their children amassed through in-app purchases. According to the FTC, children were able to make unwanted purchases totaling millions of dollars on their parents’ devices.
The FTC is seeking a court order that would require Amazon to authenticate all in-app purchases with passwords, along with clarifying and simplifying policies surrounding additional charges, and paying refunds to the parents. This would move Amazon’s approach closer to the one Apple was forced to adopt earlier this year.
The FTC’s latest move to protect consumers from app policies is another step forward in the public and private sectors’ push to protect consumers against insecure apps, data vulnerabilities, and app cloning.
Consumers should be cautious about any app that asks for credit card information, as any legitimate in-app purchases would be done through their account with Apple, Amazon, Google, etc. Brand owners should remain aware of the massive amounts of money spent in apps, and the fact that as the app economy continues to grow, so too will opportunities for monetized app fraud.
Read the Federal Trade Commission’s full press release here.