Amazon sued over in-app purchases by children

By Riley Snyder / Los Angeles Times

Published Jul 11, 2014 at 12:01AM

The Federal Trade Commission is suing Amazon.com, alleging that the online retailer unlawfully billed parents millions of dollars for mobile in-app purchases made by their children.

The federal complaint, which was filed in Washington’s District Court on Thursday, asks for a court order requiring Amazon to refund customers for unauthorized charges and to ban the company from billing parents for in-app charges made by children without their consent.

According to the complaint, many of the kid-friendly games and apps on Amazon mobile devices, such as the Kindle Fire, encourage children to pay for virtual in-game items with real world money, usually connected to their parents’ bank accounts.

Amazon, which, according to the complaint, collects 30 percent of all in-app charges, allegedly did not require password certification on in-app purchases when the company began the service in November 2011.