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Amazon allowed kids to spend millions on in-app purchases, FTC says

Grant Gross | July 11, 2014
Amazon.com has billed parents for millions of dollars' worth of unauthorized in-app purchases made by their children, the FTC said in a complaint filed Thursday in a U.S. court.

An Amazon employee noted at the time of the change that "it's much easier to get upset about Amazon letting your child purchase a $99 product without any password protection than a $20 product," according to the complaint.

Then in early 2013, Amazon updated its in-app charge process to require password entry for some charges, but the process worked in different ways in different contexts, the FTC alleged. Even when a parent was prompted for a password to authorize a single in-app charge made by a child, that single authorization often opened an undisclosed window of 15 minutes to an hour allowing the child to make unlimited charges, the agency said.

Amazon changed its in-app purchase policy again in June, "roughly two and a half years after the problem first surfaced," the FTC said in a press release.

 

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