Amazon to Refund $70M to Consumers After FTC Settlement

Nearly one year after Amazon was found guilty of illegally billing users for unauthorized in-app purchases. The FTC said on Tuesday that the Seattle-based retailer agreed to end appeals related to the federal-court decision.

The in-app charges stemmed from purchases made by kids when playing with freemium apps. A US federal judge filed a motion that found that Amazon failed to easily inform parents that free apps may still include in-app purchases.  They also did not provide enough notice and password requirements to prevent these charges. The Federal Trade Commission estimated that parents were charged upwards of $70 million between November 2011 and May 2016.

Amazon will begin is refund program “shortly.” In November, Amazon’s unsuccessfully requested to refund the purchases in the form of gift cards, but that was rejected.  The company is now expected to refund affected customers money back directly to their debit or credit card, or via paper checks.

The court also ruled last year that Amazon has improved the process and added in sufficient safeguards since the case began.

The FTC’s action against Amazon was similar to cases filed against Apple Inc. and Google Inc. to unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children.

Amazon will be announcing shortly as to how those affected can get their refunds.

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