Amazon to issue millions in refunds for click-happy in-app children's purchases

Letting your kids use your gadgets has its benefits and its downsides.

Although capable of stopping a tantrum or preventing a strop, your device will likely come back plagued with sticky fingerprints. Oh, and you might have just unwittingly racked up a sizeable bill of in-app purchases too.

Well, if you’ve experienced this costly problem in the past, you could be able to get your money back, with Amazon confirming it is to refund in-app purchased made by kids.

Now, this isn't the giant gesture of goodwill it might first sound like. Instead, it’s the culmination of a three-year legal battle between the online retailer and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a US regulator.

The case, which accused Amazon of billing customers for unauthorised in-app purchases made by their children, has now been settled.

As a result, Amazon is to make a pool of around $70 million (£56.12m) available for refunds.

“Consumers affected by Amazon’s practices can now be compensated for charges they didn’t expect or authorise,” said Thomas B. Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection

As a result of the ruling, if you were charged for an in-app purchase made by your kids between November 2011 and May 2016, you could now be eligible for a refund.

In-app purchase refund

Amazon, however, has yet to offer up details on the refund program and how you’ll be able to claim back money owed to you.

The Amazon App Store can be added to a number of Android devices and comes pre-installed on the company’s own Amazon Fire tablets.

Although all app platforms offer in-app purchases, parents had complained that Amazon’s service made it too easy for children to make digital purchases without their consent. Amazon isn’t the only one to have been hit by such a case, however.

Back in 2014, both Apple and Google settled similar cases with the FTC. They seemed to get off a bit lighter, however, with combined refunds amounting to $51 million.

According to the FTC, Amazon takes a 30% cut of all apps sold through its digital store.

For now this is a US-based ruling, but the result could have implications for customers in the UK and Europe.

Via The Verge