If your child bought something in an app from Amazon’s app store without your permission, you may get your money back.
On Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission announced that refunds are now available for parents whose children made in-app purchases, like buying upgrades in mobile games purchased through Amazon’s app store, without their knowledge.
Last year, a court found Amazon responsible for stuff that kids bought without parents’ permission, noting Amazon didn’t provide sufficient disclosures or ask parents to approve the purchases children made. It did not require a password to make purchases within apps.
In 2014, the FTC accused the massive online retailer of making it too easy for children to buy things while playing games on Amazon devices. The apps, such as “Pet Shop Story” and “Ice Age Village,” were often free to download, but then encouraged children to start making purchases to improve their players’ chances or to keep playing at all.
“Ice Age Village” has been described as one of the worst games for in-app purchases—with the touch of their finger, kids could spend $99.99 in one fell swoop. Ouch.
In the past, Amazon didn’t require users to enter a password to make purchases in apps or on the app store. The company made changes in 2012 so that it was harder to make purchases, but the FTC still wasn’t satisfied. That’s because Amazon only required a password for purchases that exceeded $20.
Then, they made yet another password update in early 2013. But there was a loophole—you could make all the password-free purchases you wanted for a full 15 minutes after you entered your password.
According to the FTC, more than $70 million in charges may be eligible for refunds on in-app purchases made between November 2011 and May 2016.