Amazon Willing To Pick Fight With Feds On In-App Purchases

Earlier this year, Apple agreed to refund $32.5 million to customers of its App Store in order to settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission that the computer company did little to protect users from inadvertent in-app purchases. The FTC is looking to reach a similar deal with Amazon over its app store, but the online giant has said the government will probably have to make its case in court.

The Verge reports on a letter sent from Amazon VP and Associate General Counsel Andrew DeVore to FTC Chair Edith Ramirez, in which DeVore writes that it is “deeply disappointing” that previously “constructive meetings” with the FTC have apparently failed with the agency’s staff being authorized to file a lawsuit against Amazon if it “doesn’t enter a consent order in the model of the Apple consent order.”

Amazon maintains that its system is different from Apple and should therefore not be treated the same.

“The main claim in the draft complaint is that we failed to get customers’ informed consent to in-app charges made by children and did not address that problem quickly or effectively enough in response to customer complaints,” writes DeVore, who claims that Amazon has issued refunds to customers who complained about their kids making in-app purchases.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the FTC isn’t happy that Amazon waited until June of this year to finally require informed consent for in-app purchases, and the agency still thinks the company could do better, with more prominent notices, and a password requirement for all in-app purchases.

The FTC says it has received thousands of complaints about unauthorized in-app purchases from Amazon.

“The commission is focused on ensuring that companies comply with the fundamental principle that consumers should not be made to pay for something they did not authorize,” an FTC rep tells the Journal. “Consumers using mobile devices have the same long-established and fundamental consumer protections as they would anywhere else.”

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