Federal Court Finds Amazon Liable for Billing Parents for Children's Unauthorized In-App Charges

Amazon must provide refunds to consumers for unauthorized in-app charges made by children

Federal Court Finds Amazon Liable for Billing Parents for Children's Unauthorized In-App Charges
April 27, 2016

A federal judge has granted a request by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for summary judgment in the agency's lawsuit against Amazon, Inc., for billing consumers for unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children.

The judge's order in the case finds that Amazon received many complaints from consumers about surprise in-app charges incurred by children, citing the fact that the company's disclosures about the possibility of in-app charges within otherwise "free" apps were not sufficient to inform consumers about the charges.

"We are pleased the federal judge found Amazon liable for unfairly billing consumers for unauthorized in-app purchases by children," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "We look forward to making a case for full refunds to consumers as a result of Amazon's actions."

The court order calls for further representations from the FTC and Amazon regarding the precise amount of monetary relief Amazon owes consumers as a result of its unlawful practices. In addition, the order grants a partial summary judgment requested by Amazon regarding injunctive relief requested by the FTC in the case.

The FTC's case against Amazon was first filed in July, 2014.

The FTC has also reached settlements with Apple, Inc. and Google, Inc. related to unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children—requiring the companies to fully refund consumers for such charges. Consumer refunds in these cases have surpassed $50 million.