Amazon Fighting FTC On In-App Purchases By Kids

kindlefirehdxWhile its competitors in mobile apps Apple and Google have reached settlements with the Federal Trade Commission, Amazon has decided that it will not roll over. No, the tech company is going to fight the FTC’s lawsuit against it rather than settle, and filed a brief last week making the case that this is all the darn parents’ fault. Sort of.

Amazon’s lawyers have asked that the case be dismissed, arguing that by making a credit card available for in-app purchases, the adult tablet owner or account holder is implicitly giving permission to make purchases to any person of any age to whom they hand the tablet. If they don’t want to give that permission by handing over the tablet, the account holder should set up parental controls or set the account up to require a password when making a purchase. “The FTC Act does not exempt parents from the responsibility to supervise their children,” Amazon’s representatives write.

As we know, all Americans who are excited to set up a new tablet read the terms of service in detail before setting up an account to fill it with apps. Amazon’s attorneys explain:

As the allegations in the Complaint and the terms of service upon which it necessarily relies make clear, once a customer voluntarily links a credit card to his Amazon account to authorize 1-Click purchasing, he knows that he and anyone to whom he later entrusts that device can purchase content with a single click, whether that content is movies, music, books, or apps. Authorization for 1-Click purchasing does not vary depending on the type of content selected for purchase.

That means it doesn’t matter whether you’re buying a movie or making an in-app purchase in a game: never mind that it might not be clear to a child that there’s a difference between in-app currency that a game player earns for performing an action inside a game, and real dollars that you can spend inside a game but that their parents earn for performing actions in a cubicle outside of the house.

Amazon will battle the FTC over kids’ in-app purchases, rejecting a Google-style settlement [GigaOm]