The FTC filed charges a few days ago against Amazon, of all companies, seeking to permanently ban them from billing customers for in-app purchases without explicit consent. “Amazon.com, Inc. has billed parents and other account holders for millions of dollars in unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children,” according to the FTC.
From the FTC press release announcing the suit:
‘The complaint highlights internal communications among Amazon employees as early as December 2011 that said allowing unlimited in-app charges without any password was “…clearly causing problems for a large percentage of our customers,” adding that the situation was a “near house on fire.”
In March 2012, according to the complaint, Amazon updated its in-app charge system to require an account owner to enter a password only for individual in-app charges over $20. As the complaint notes, Amazon continued to allow children to make an unlimited number of individual purchases of less than $20 without a parent’s approval. 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. In July 2012, as set forth in the complaint, internal emails again described consumer complaints about in-app charges as a “house on fire” situation.’
Full FTC release here.