Unlike Apple, Amazon Refuses to Settle Over In-App Purchases Made Without Parental Consent

Apple agreed to pay $32.5 million in refunds, but Amazon would rather defend itself in court.

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Back in January, Apple agreed to pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to consumers to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint brought against the company related to the way in which iOS devices make it simple for children to spend real-world money on in-app purchases without parental consent.

The FTC filed the same complaint against Amazon, but the company is refusing to settle, and is instead choosing to defend its position in court.

According to a letter from Amazon to the FTC, the FTC filed the complaint against Amazon despite several weeks of “constructive meetings” between the two focusing on Amazon’s “customer-centric” approach to in-app purchasing.

“It’s an understatement to say that this response is deeply disappointing,” Amazon said. “The Commission’s unwillingness to depart from the precedent it set with Apple despite our very different facts leaves us no choice but to defend our approach in court.”

Amazon’s letter explains that it has continuously improved its experience since launch, but that even at launch, when customers told Amazon their kids had made purchases they didn’t want, it refunded those purchases. It also said that its practices were responsible and lawful, including prominent notice of in-app purchasing, effective parental controls, and real time notice of every in-app purchase.

“Pursuing litigation against a company whose practices were lawful from the outset and that already exceed the requirements of the Apple consent order makes no sense, and is an unfortunate misallocation of the Commission’s resources,” Amazon said.

In addition to announcing its Fire Phone last month, Amazon already sells and developed apps for its Kindle Fire tablet.

Should Amazon refund customers like Apple, or are the parents the ones responsible for their kids’ purchases? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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