Amazon in the hot seat with FTC over in-app purchases

In-app payments are a lucrative form of income for developers, not to mention the companies behind the app stores and payment processing platforms that profit from every sale. But more than once we’ve seen in-app purchases put under scrutiny for the ease at which they can be made – and specifically, problems parents have when children, given unsupervised access to smartphones and tablets, run up unexpected bills. While a fair share of that blame arguably lies on the parents themselves, in the US the FTC has been going after companies it sees as not taking proper steps to prevent such incidents, and earlier this year we told you about Apple’s settlement with the agency. With that chapter closed, the FTC has been turning its attention to Amazon, which it says hasn’t been adequately seeking authorization for in-app purchases of its own.

Amazon insists that it offers users a “prominent notice of in-app purchasing, effective parental controls and real-time notice of every in-app purchase,” but the FTC wants things even more restrictive, with clearer notices, and easier access to refunds. The agency also notes that Amazon is late to the game with some of its protections, only implementing key ones last month.

Despite the FTC’s stance, Amazon isn’t backing down, and has promised to take things to court if need be.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!