Amazon is liable for in-app purchases made by kids, court finds

Amazon must be (candy) crushed.

Flickr / Anthony Kelly

A federal judge today ruled that Amazon did not sufficiently warn people of the possibility of in-app purchases in "free" apps, making the company liable for unwanted charges incurred by children. The FTC filed the case in 2014 and argued that Amazon didn't provide adequate safeguards against unauthorized purchases in apps marked as "free," leading to millions of dollars in unwanted charges, the FTC said. Amazon argued that it was quick to respond to complaints and provided refunds when prudent.

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

The FTC and Amazon will present more information to the court before it decides how much money the company owes to customers. The FTC previously reached settlements with Apple and Google over similar charges, eventually resulting in refunds to customers totaling more than $50 million.